South Carolina's John C. Calhoun was one of the nation's most influential, controversial and galvanizing statesmen of his day. The home in which he lived for the last 25 years of his life is in the center of the Clemson University campus. In 1888, his son-in-law, Thomas Green Clemson, bequeathed the property to the state to establish a scientific and agricultural college.
Clemson is approximately 145 miles from Charlotte, about a 2 3/4-hour drive, one way.
To see and do
The original portion of the Calhoun house was built in 1803. Calhoun bought the house and 1,100 acres around 1825 and, after enlarging the house to its present size, named it Fort Hill. The expanded house reflects Greek Revival and Federal design elements, with its three Greek Revival-columned piazzas being the dominant architectural feature.
While Calhoun was living at Fort Hill, he played his largest role on the national stage. Calhoun, along with Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, was one of the so-called "Great Triumvirate" of congressional leaders. Also in his upcountry home, in 1831, Calhoun wrote his famous "Fort Hill Address," setting forth his theories regarding states' rights and nullification, by which states could declare null and void any federal law they deemed unconstitutional.
Guided tours include the principal rooms on the first and second floor. Many heirlooms from both the Calhoun and Clemson families are displayed.