Daniel Hou, Courtesy of Daniel Hou

Historic Horseshoe: a glimpse into USC's beginnings

The history of USC began with the U-shaped quadrangle of the Horseshoe where the original campus took form in 1805. It has served as the location for many important events, like visits from former president William Howard Taft and Pope John Paul II, and more recently College gamedays and a concert from Darius Rucker. For centuries has withstood wars, fires, earthquakes, riots and the Civil War, and is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.

DeSaussure College

Desaussure College was built in 1809 and named for Revolutionary War veteran and South Carolina legislature politician, Henry William DeSaussure. It was built as a carbon copy of Rutledge College and was used as Carolina’s first medical school, a hospital during the Civil War, a federal military prison during Reconstruction and as the first women’s dormitory during World War I.

Harper College

Harper College was built in 1848 and named for South Carolina College Graduate and United States Senator, William Harper. It was built at the same time as its double, Legare, to take after residence halls at Yale that were structured into single dwellings. It has been used as a meeting hall for the Euphradian Literary Society, one of the first two student organizations, and is now home to the University’s Honors College. 

The Horseshoe Wall

Originally constructed from 1835 to 1836 using solid brick and standing 6 feet 9 inches high, the Horseshoe Wall was built to bar students from sneaking out to downtwown Columbia after dark. It may not have succeeded in that, but it did save the campus from fire during the burning of Columbia in the Civil War. The current set of wrought-iron gates was provided by Zeta Tau Alpha sorority as a donation in 1982.

Legare College

Built in 1848 and named for alumnus, US attorney general and interim United States secretary of state Hugh Swinton Legare. The building was used as a Confederate hospital during the Civil War and after desegregation became the main residence hall for black students, including T. McCants Stewarts, the first African American graduate of USC.

Maxcy Monument

Built in 1827 in honor of the first president of South Carolina College, Jonathan Maxcy. The structure was designed by Robert Mills as an early United States example of Egyptian Revival Style. It's also the earliest record of Mills desigining an obelisk — a precursor to his most famous example, the Washington Monument. The granite and marble monument is one of the most time-honored symbols of the University.

McCutchen House

Built in 1813, the building was named for one of the longest serving faculty members in school history, George McCutchen, who lived in the house from 1915 to 1945. Since 2003 the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management has revamped it as a restaurant management and food service teaching facility which anyone may attend.

President's House

Built in 1854 to reconstruct the original housing provided to faculty that was destroyed due to water damage in the early 19th century, it introduced the regency style of architecture to Columbia. The building didn’t become home to the university president until it was renovated in 1952. Current university president, Dr. Harris Pastides, resides there with his wife, Patricia Moore-Pastides.

Rutledge College

Built in 1805, it was the first building on the campus and was named for brothers John and Edward Rutledge. John Rutledge was a Supreme Court Justice and Edward Rutledge was the youngest signatory of the Declaration of Independence.  The entire South Carolina college — classrooms, library, faculty and student housing, chapel, laboratories — were all housed here in USC's early days. The building has served as the site for both federal and state offices.

South Caroliniana Library

Built in 1840, it is the oldest freestanding college library in the nation. It was used as the main university library for 100 years and is currently a source for materials relating to the history, culture and literature of South Carolina. Notably, the reading room on the second floor is modeled after the Library of Congress' first reading room.

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