Hardin Hall - Clemson University

The Architecture and History of Hardin Hall

While Hardin Hall was originally built to be the Chemistry building it has housed many departments including education, industrial education, vocational agricultural education, industrial management, and, most recently, history, geography, religion, and philosophy.

Hardin Hall was built in 1890 and named after Mark Bernard Hardin who was Clemson's first Chemistry professor and acted as President in 1897, 1899, and 1902. While Mark Hardin was Clemson's first Chemistry professor he was also a major in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. While Hardin was not the only professor at Clemson with a building named after him that fought for the Confederacy.

Hardin Hall was designed by Hopkins and Gill Architects and is known for its Victorian Romanesque Revival which is characterized by heavy brick and marble construction and was mostly seen in church and university buildings designed and constructed from 1840 to 1900. It can be seen in Hardin Hall's characteristics like roof dormers, circular arches, and other decorative work.

The building was constructed with the use of convict labor which was majority African American. This was common in many of the buildings built on Clemson's campus until around 1915. This was mainly due to the change of penal codes in the 1870s that made even small felonies, like petty theft, worthy of jail sentences. To Clemson's trustees, they saw this as an easy form of cheap labor to rebuilt and improve Clemson's campus. Clemson has not always been open about this history but in 2018, the university finally erected signs in front of some of these buildings acknowledging the use of convict labor. None of the laborers are mentioned by name.

In 1900, a second wing was added to the building and in 1937 an addition to the building was added. Unfortunately, in 1946 a fire destroyed the pitched roof of the building and it was replaced by a flat roof and the building was reopened in 1947. It wasn't until 1954 when it was suggested that rename the building after Hardin.

In 2002, a full renovation and restoration were done on the building to bring one of the oldest buildings on campus into the 21st century and it was reopened in 2003. The building now has "smart classrooms" that feature technology for interactive learning.

While Hardin was updated Clemson decided to leave some history in one of the classrooms. One classroom was left with blackboards and oak desks to keep the history of the building alive.