Originally known as the Main Building, this three-story brick structure was intended to be the centerpiece of the college.

Tillman Hall. Clemson University.

(Clemson). Other than the famous Tiger Paw, Tillman Hall is the most recognizable symbol associated with Clemson University. Its brick clock tower rises above the tree line, making it the most prominent of the original campus buildings. Originally known as the Main Building, this three-story brick structure was intended to be the centerpiece of the college located at the top of a hill near the home of John C. Calhoun, whose plantation was given to the state by his son-in-law, Thomas G. Clemson. The building was designed by the architects Alexander C. Bruce and Thomas H. Morgan of Atlanta, and construction began in late 1890 and was complete when the school opened in 1893. On May 22, 1894, a fire in a third-floor laboratory spread to the rest of the building, destroying everything but its brick walls. Bruce and Morgan returned to oversee the reconstruction, which began immediately and was completed in 1895. Connected to the Main Building was Memorial Hall, an all-purpose assembly space that served as chapel, meeting hall, and entertainment venue. It was also the setting for early graduation exercises. The building officially became known as Tillman Hall on the fiftieth anniversary of Clemson’s first graduating class in 1946, when it was renamed in memory of Benjamin Ryan Tillman, the former South Carolina governor, U.S. senator, and ardent voice for the establishment of the college. In 1963 Tillman Hall was the site where the architecture student Harvey Gantt peacefully enrolled in school, the first African American to be admitted to Clemson. Since the late 1960s Tillman Hall has been the home of the university’s School of Education, and its auditorium hosts lectures, concerts, and other events.

Bryan, Wright. Clemson: An Informal History of the University, 1889–1979. Columbia, S.C.: R. L. Bryan, 1979.

Share This SC Encyclopedia Content:

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Tillman Hall
  • Author Bradley S. Sauls
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • URL http://www.scencyclopedia.org/sce/entries/tillman-hall/
  • Access Date May 26, 2019
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • Original Published Date June 28, 2016
  • Date of Last Update October 26, 2016