Though originally called the Main Building it was renamed in 1946 to Tillman Hall after Benjamin R. Tillman. Tillman was a former South Carolina governor and United States senator. He helped push for different education changes during his time as governor that helped Clemson College get started like by pushing for a separate agricultural college rather than an addition to South Carolina State University. That being said he did have his faults since he had tenant farmers that were ex-slaves and was blatantly racist even during his time in senate.
Shortly after the Hardin Hall was finished being built constructed the foundations were laid for the Main Building. Employing even close to 150 convicts, most of which were African American, construction began and finished in 1893. However in 1894 a fire in a third floor laboratory destroyed everything except the brick walls themselves. By 1895 though repairs were done and the Main Building was open for use.
Originally used for classrooms, a library, and administration, Tillman Hall was vital for early Clemson. Attached to Tillman Hall is the Memorial Auditorium which has been used for things like chapel, meetings, entertainment such as concerts or seminars, and early graduation practice. Now it is used for events like lecture space for guest speakers or for extremely large classes that need the space. Since the 1960s Tillman Hall has been home to the College of Education and still is. It is also the location where Harvey Gantt peacefully enrolled in 1963 as the first African American at Clemson. Since the mid-2000s there has been controversy over the building being named Tillman Hall because of his racist background and involvement with organizations such as the Red Shirts who were a group that formed after the breakup of the Ku Klux Klan.