Slowly, I’ve become fascinated by some of the older buildings on the Clemson campus. I wasn’t aware of their ages, at first, but you can tell which buildings are older, just by the brick and other small details. One of these was Hardin Hall, and it first caught my attention when I walked by and saw the word “Chemistry” embedded in the brick, over one of the entrances. Now, since my daily walk to work takes me between the Hunter buildings, I know perfectly well that Hardin is NOT the Chemistry building. So, what was it now?
I didn’t remember to ask, but a week or so ago, I asked someone where the History Department was located. I know where most of the departments are, and surely, with Fort Hill actually on campus, I knew they had to have a History building hiding somewhere. When they told me it was in Hardin Hall, I planned to look again on my next wandering session. So, as I trooped up the stairs, coming from the Reflection Pond, I took another look.
And around the corner, I found the doorways with 1890 and 1900 carved into them. Now, things were starting to make more sense. If Hardin was THAT old, of course the History Department would be there. It’s also home to the Philosophy and Religion Department. I really liked the look of the brick, the details up near the roof, and that “porthole” window in front. What else was there to find out about it?
I’ve learned that Hardin Hall was built in 1890, but remodeled in 1900 and 2002, as well as almost burning down in the 40’s. That’s why it has a more modern looking roof to go with the older brick. The pictures of the original gabled roof are quite beautiful, though. One of the very first buildings on campus, it was the original Chemistry building, and was named for Clemson’s first chemistry professor, who would eventually serve as Clemson’s President.
It doesn’t surprise me a bit to find that the building was falling to pieces before the 2002 renovation, but the history professors loved their building so much that they didn’t care. The more I read about it, the more I’d like to go inside and see the classroom that was designed (after the remodel) to look like an original classroom, complete with wooden floors, wooden desks, and blackboards. And all the other historical bits and pieces, which were carefully categorized and replaced, after the renovation.