Established in 1826 in Edgefield as an academy and theological institution, Furman University was charted in 1850 and in 1851 established a campus on the bluff above this spot, where it remained for the next century. Named for Baptist minister Richard Furman, a Revolutionary War patriot, the university's first president was his son, James Clement Furman. Its first two-room frame building, "Old College" was replaced in 1854 by the Richard Furman Classroom Building, known fondly as "Old Main." An example of Italianate Revival architecture, the building's most distinctive feature was its bell tower. Quickly becoming the school's symbol, its bell announced Confederate victories during the Civil War and in later years celebrated "Purple Hurricane" football victories. In 1958, the university moved to a new campus in the shadows of Paris Mountain, five miles north of town. Its former tree shaded grounds and buildings were razed, and Bell Tower shopping center, now County square, took their place.
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