Arts & Culture, Discovery

The Historic College of Charleston

Nestled in the heart of downtown Charleston, set among the oak trees and Spanish moss, stands the historic College of Charleston. This public liberal arts university is home to more than 10,000 undergraduate students and 1,200 graduate students. Many find it surprising that a medium-sized public university lies in the middle of Charleston’s historic district. Just like the city of Charleston itself, the College of Charleston is rich in history and Southern charm. From its classic building and classrooms, to its uneven bricks, here are a few facts that may surprise you about The College.

The College of Charleston is the oldest educational institution south of Virginia. To be exact, it is the thirteenth oldest in the United States. The College of Charleston was founded in 1770 and is the oldest institution of higher education in the state of South Carolina. In 1971, The College was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Randolph Hall, located in the center of campus, is one of the oldest academic buildings in the country that is still in use and is deemed a National Historic Landmark.IMG_20140408_124622

The College used to be all male. One of the iconic trademarks of the College of Charleston is the male to female ratio. The College is infamous for having a higher female population, currently a staggering 63% female to 37% male. With The College having such a significantly larger female population, it may come as a surprise that it wasn’t until about 1905 that women began to be admitted into The College.

Fact: The doors to the entrance of the Towell Library are narrow because it was thought that men would be distracted from their studies if women entered the library. The doors were not wide enough for women to fit through while wearing their skirt cages.145984968.YBf2s0un

One of the dormitories is said to be haunted. With a few hundred years of history, it is no surprise that some buildings and properties of Charleston’s historic district are subject to restless spirits. Joe E. Berry Residence Hall is said to be one of those buildings where ghostly spirits are still very much alive. The hall is built on the site of what used to be a children’s orphanage. The orphanage burned down in the 1800’s and four children were killed in the fire. It is said that the sixth floor of Berry Residence Hall is haunted. Some students have reported hearing the faint sounds of children singing and playing marbles during the early hours of the morning.

The College of Charleston is a notable backdrop for many famous Hollywood movies. Nestled among the beauty of the Lowcountry, it is easy to see why the College of Charleston has become a Hollywood hot spot for directors around the country. Movies such as The Patriot, The Notebook and Dear John, and television shows such as Army Wives and Reckless are just a few of the movies and television shows to have been filmed on the campus.

The College has very notable alumni. The College of Charleston has some of the most distinguished and successful alumni in the nation. Many know Arthur Ravenel Jr. as a member of the South Carolina Senate and member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. Charlestonians know him as the man whom the beloved Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is named after. He was a member of The College’s graduating class of 1950. The College of Charleston was also fortunate enough to educate Robert Mills, considered by many to be the first American-born architect. He designed the Washington Monument along with the Department of Treasury Building. Mills graduated from The College in the late 18th century.


Located just a couple of blocks away from the College of Charleston, Belmond Charleston Place has special offers for Charleston alumni. Return to the beauty of the Lowcountry and indulge in all of the rich history that Charleston has to offer. Relish in our luxurious accommodations with a $50 food and beverage credit while enjoying 10% off of our best available rate during alumni weekends. Book Now

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