College Columns

The grand portico of Randolph Hall is the most recognized image of the College of #Charleston. The college was officially founded in 1770, but not chartered until 1785, and its first graduating class of six men was in 1794, yet it still ranks as America’s oldest municipal college, when it was taken over the city of Charleston in 1837. Part of the city’s plan was to expand curricula and improve buildings, and the original 1829 classroom building was given a grand new look, adorned with the Greek Revival style portico on a high, arched basement.  The portico was designed by heralded Charleston architect Edward Brickell White, a West Point graduate and engineer, whose work can still be seen in buildings throughout the historic city. The college building he transformed is now known as Randolph Hall, named for college president Harrison Randolph, who expanded the student body and established the inclusion of the first women students. Today, Randolph Hall is used as an administrative building, but its distinctive facade is most associated with the famed outdoor Mother’s Day graduation ceremonies, as well as special musical events, and was prominently featured in a scene from The Patriot. The square in front of the building features a massive 19th century cistern, and the grounds are referred to as The Cistern. <img.src=”Charleston Architecture” alt=”Randolph Hall

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