Virtual Tour

Tillman Hall - 1894

1894 Alumni Drive


  • Tillman Hall Exterior

    Tillman Hall Exterior

  • Tillman Hall Exterior

    Tillman Hall Exterior

  • Tillman Hall Lobby

    Tillman Hall Lobby


Central to activities at Winthrop University is Tillman Hall, formerly called Main Building. Over the years it has housed offices, classrooms, a swimming pool, museum, art gallery, the library, and a gymnasium, among others. After Tillman Science Building was razed in 1962, Main Building was renamed Tillman Administration Hall in honor of Benjamin R. Tillman, South Carolina governor, U.S. senator, and the driving force behind state support for Winthrop. Tillman, a staunch supporter of agricultural populism, also was an avowed white supremacist, architect of state Jim Crow laws, and a violent advocate of lynch law.* He was keynote speaker in 1894 at the laying of the building's cornerstone, which records the "Winthrop Normal and Industrial School of South Carolina" designation. Tillman was constructed with convict labor. Remnants of prisoners' stocks remain in the basement. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, Tillman is an excellent example of the Romanesque architecture popular in the 1890s.

*In June 2020, Winthrop's Board of Trustees voted to send a resolution requesting state legislators to consider an amendment to the Heritage Act of 2000 to allow Winthrop to restore Tillman Hall to its original name of Main Building. The S.C. General Assembly's Heritage Act of 2000 forbids the removal of other flags from public property or memorials for any war, historic figure or event without a two-thirds vote by state legislators."

View the Tillman Hall Accessibility Map (pdf - 948 kb).

Interesting Features:

  • "Normal and Industrial School" inscription on facade
  • Prisoner's stocks in basement
  • "Ghost of Ben Tillman"
  • Unique, historic lobby
  • Picturesque fountain
  • Artesian well