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Clemson in Pickens County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Tillman Hall

 
 
Tillman Hall Marker (side A) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, November 6, 2021
1. Tillman Hall Marker (side A)
Inscription.  Part of the original campus, the building that was interchangeably called the Administration, Agricultural or Main Building in its early years is the University's most iconic structure, distinguished by its clock tower. It was completed in 1893, constructed by a predominately African-American convict labor crew using lumber from area trees and bricks that they made. An 1894 fire damaged much of the building, but it was soon rebuilt and reopened. Initially, the building housed offices of the president, commandant and treasurer, a library, the agriculture department and a chapel. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1990.

When the agriculture department relocated to what is now Sikes Hall, students, faculty and staff dubbed this building “Old Main” — an unofficial nickname that remained in usage until 1946. In that year, the Board of Trustees renamed it after Benjamin R. Tillman, one of the original trustees included in Thomas Green Clemson's will and an influential legislator who served as governor of South Carolina and U.S. Senator. Tillman played an important role in Clemson's founding, but his racist views
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were considered extreme even in his time. The Board of Trustees disavowed those views in a 2015 resolution.

Established
1895

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

 
Erected by Clemson University.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansArchitectureEducation. A significant historical year for this entry is 1895.
 
Location. 34° 40.788′ N, 82° 50.215′ W. Marker is in Clemson, South Carolina, in Pickens County. Marker is on Gantt Circle west of Calhoun Drive, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101 Gantt Cir, Clemson SC 29634, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Integration with Dignity, 1963 (a few steps from this marker); Thomas Green Clemson (within shouting distance of this marker); Quercus lyrata (Overcup Oak) (within shouting distance of this marker); Military Heritage Plaza (within shouting distance of this marker); Walter T. Cox, Jr. (within shouting distance of this marker); Clemson Military Heritage (within shouting distance of this marker); The Old Tillman Hall Bell (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Class of 1943 Veterans (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Clemson.
Tillman Hall Marker (side B) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, November 6, 2021
2. Tillman Hall Marker (side B)

 
Regarding Tillman Hall. Excerpt from the National Register of Historic Places nomination for Clemson University Historic District I, of which Tillman Hall is a contributing structure:
Tillman Hall (1893): Originally known as the Main Building or Agricultural Hall, Tillman Hall was designed by Bruce and Morgan, an architectural firm from Atlanta which also designed similar buildings at Georgia Tech, Agnes Scott College, and Oglethorpe University in the Atlanta area, as well as Winthrop College in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Construction began in December 1890, using convict labor. Some of these workers, most of whom were black, died during the construction of the early campus and were buried on Cemetery Hill. Materials, including handmade bricks, came from the vicinity of Fort Hill, the former home of John C. Calhoun and later of his son-in-law, college founder Thomas G. Clemson. The new building burned on 22 May 1894, less than a year after the opening of the college; the cadets fought the fire and saved the exterior walls. Work on the renovation, which was conducted by Bruce and Morgan to the building's original specifications, began immediately and was completed by 1895. The building has functioned since its construction as a focal point of the campus and surrounding community and has since became a symbol of Clemson
Tillman Hall Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, November 6, 2021
3. Tillman Hall Marker
University.

The university's Board of Trustees asked the state Legislature in 2020 for permission to change the building's name to Old Main. Legislative approval is needed because of a 2000 state law that prohibits alterations to any historical monument or building name. At the time of this submission, the legislature has not acted on Clemson's request.
 
Tillman Hall image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, November 6, 2021
4. Tillman Hall
As seen from the middle of Gantt Circle, named for former Charlotte, N.C. Mayor Harvey Gantt, the first African American to attend Clemson.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 6, 2021, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 630 times since then and 115 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on November 6, 2021, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.   2, 3, 4. submitted on November 8, 2021, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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Apr. 24, 2024