City Directories and History: “Erskine College of Due West (Abbeville County) began in 1836 as Mount Vernon Academy, becoming Clark and Erskine Seminary in 1837. The Seminary was named for the Rev. Ebenezer and Ralph Erskine, brothers who founded the Associate (secession) Church of Scotland, and for the Rev. Thomas Clark, “father of the Associate Reform Presbyterian Church in the South,” who came from Scotland via Ireland to the Long Cane Creek section of Abbeville District in 1784.
In 1839 Erskine College became the first four- year denominational college in South Carolina, though the name was not shortened to this, its present title, until 1842, when it was moved, still within the town of Due West to its present campus. Erskine Building, constructed in 1892, includes part of the wall of the original Erskine Building of 1842.”
Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on Jan. 7, 1891 – “The board of Erskine College met in Chester, S.C. to consider moving the college from Due West to a more central location. Bids were submitted by three locations; Sardis, N.C., ($18,865. and a ten acre site), Rock Hill, S.C. ($40,000. in town bonds, $4,000. in private funds and a 10-20 acre site), and Chester, S.C. ($40-45,000. and 82 acres). The board decided to remain in Due West and erect a new college building at an estimated cost of $30,000.”
On May 27, 1891 – “Mr. Alexander, a contractor from Anderson is in Due West to make a bid on the new building at Erskine College.” Abbeville Press and Banner…
On Oct. 7, 1891 the Abbeville Press and Banner reported, “Mr. W.C. Calvert has a contract in Due West to make 200,000 brick to be used in the construction of the new college building.”
The YV Enquirer reporting from the ARP Magazine as of Feb. 3, 1892 – “The architect of the college building, Mr. Denson, of Washington, reached Due West on Tuesday along with one of the contractors. They have gone carefully over the matter of additional costs for the change of plans needed via the fire, and the increased cost will be $1,500. This will give us a new building much more convenient than the one already planned. The total costs is now $23,000.”
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on March 15, 1893 – “Erskine College was damaged to the extent of several thousand dollars last week by the collapse of defective masonry. It has not yet developed whether the loss will fall on the college or upon the contractors who are erecting it.”
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on June 28, 1893 – “Commencement ceremonies were held last week in Due West. A special feature was the dedication of the new college building at Erskine, which cost $50,000., one of the finest in the state. There were nine graduates from the college, eight from the seminary, and twenty young ladies graduated from the Due West Female College.”
Erskine Building, Erskine College Quadrangle, (1892): Three-story, brick building with central pavilion and two wings. Notable features include two towers and central dome. The west tower has a domed observatory. The east tower has an octagonal section containing the college clock and features elaborate brick work. Fenestration varies, but all windows have rounded arches. The northeast wall incorporates a section of a wall of the original building (1842) which burned in 1892. (SCDAH)
A stop on the Built of Brick Jaunt – Driving Tour
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