Fall has arrived in Clemson. A hint of color is beginning to show in the trees, evening temperatures are cooling off (just ever so slightly) and the First Friday Parade has come and gone. Every Friday, but more so on game weekends, traffic picks up as alumni returning to campus cruise down College Avenue with tops down and windows open.
Conversations on the street vary, but at least once in every block, you hear snippets that reference the Study Hall or Capri’s, Chanello’s or the Fashion Shack. Judge Keller’s and Mr. Knickerbocker and the Athletic Department have customers 2-3 deep replacing worn-out t-shirts and sweatshirts, and selecting baby-sized Tiger apparel for new members of the family. Stocking up on items (orange items, that is) that you don’t find just anywhere.
Like everywhere, Clemson has changed over the years, both the campus and the town. With growth in enrollment has come growth on campus — new residence halls, classroom buildings and athletic facilities. In town, restaurants and bars have changed names and menus, and more neighborhoods and apartments are built every year. But if you spend some time here, re-trace your favorite path through campus and stroll down College Avenue and onto side streets, we’re betting you’ll still find a lot of those places that will spark memories and stories your kids have never heard.
So, as you’re making plans for this fall, take time to return to Clemson.
It still feels like home.
10 THINGS NOT TO MISS ON CAMPUS
ICE CREAM IN THE ’55 EXCHANGE: Yes, it’s real Clemson ice cream, even if it’s not sold out of Newman Hall. A double scoop of peach ice cream will still have you drooling before you get your spoon in it. You can get real Clemson blue cheese at the same spot. If you have a yen to see where it all began, you can make it to Stumphouse Tunnel in less than an hour. While you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to hike down Issaqueena Falls.
CARILLON GARDEN: Nestled between Sikes and Tillman halls and overlooking the library, Carillon Garden was given to the University by the Class of ’43 and is dedicated as a lasting tribute to the entire class, particularly to those who lost their lives during World War II.
MEMORIAL PARK AND SCROLL OF HONOR: Across from Memorial Stadium, Memorial Park pays tribute to alumni who have served the state and nation in fields ranging from agriculture to the military. The Scroll of Honor is maintained by the Clemson Corps and honors alumni who gave their lives in service to country.
FOOTBALL PRACTICE FACILITY: Dedicated in 2013, this 80,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the football practice fields and indoor track facility includes a full-sized synthetic turf football field.
LIFE SCIENCES BUILDING: Facing Cherry Road, just adjacent to the P&A building, this facility houses researchers in microbiology, biochemistry, food safety and genetics who are collaborating to solve the world’s problems.
HOWARD’S ROCK: Not quite as large as it was originally, the rock now has video surveillance to make sure it doesn’t fall victim to vandals again. Originally from Death Valley, Calif., the rock was first placed on a pedestal at the top of the hill in 1966. Players rub it for luck as they run down the hill before each home game.
PRESIDENT’S PARK: Located in front of the President’s Home and extending through the Azalea Gardens to Sikes Hall, this is one of the most beautiful places on campus. Housed in the park is the President’s Park Rotunda. In conjunction with the Class of 1957, the rotunda was built to portray Clemson’s historical responsibilities of teaching, research and public service.
BOWMAN FIELD: Bring your Frisbee, your football, your blanket or just your best relaxed self. Spend some time on Bowman Field and relive your days on Clemson’s green beach.
WALK DOWN HWY 93 PAST HISTORIC RIGGS FIELD: You can now do that without fearing for your life, thanks to a newly constructed pedestrian walkway.
FORT HILL: Learn a little history while you’re here, and tour Fort Hill, the home of John C. Calhoun and later of his son-in-law, University founder Thomas Green Clemson and his wife Anna Maria. A registered National Historic Landmark, it’s located in the center of campus. Open Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–noon and 1–4:30 p.m., Sun, 2-4:30 p.m.
WHAT’S STILL HERE
Sure, things have changed here — but not everything. Regardless of when you graduated from Clemson, you’ll find an old favorite haunt still open, if updated. Here’s just a sampling:
JUDGE KELLER’S (1899): It’s been in its current location since 1936, and about the only things that have changed are the faces behind the register and the style of the t-shirts.
ESSO CLUB (1933): A service station at its beginning, this was the only place in Clemson where you could sit down and have a beer between 1956–1958. Legend has it that the bar top is made of old stadium seats from Death Valley. In 1997, Sports Illustrated named it one of the top sports bars in the country.
MAC’S DRIVE-IN (1965): Built by the late Mac McKeown ’56, Mac’s is still serving burgers and fries on Pendleton Road. Make sure you ask for a milkshake while you’re there.
M.H. FRANK (1970): Billing themselves as “Updated Traditional Men’s Clothiers,” the folks at M.H. Frank have been making sure Clemson men are ready for every occasion for more than 40 years.
PIXIE & BILL’S (1971): Offering steak, prime rib and seafood, it’s been called “Clemson’s original fine dining establishment.” Co-eds used to say that a trip to Pixie and Bill’s (or its sister restaurant Calhoun Corners) was a sign that a relationship was getting serious.
MR. KNICKERBOCKER (1973): Opened as a men’s clothier in 1973, the store shifted to carry fraternity and sorority apparel as well as Clemson merchandise and hand-sewn jerseys.
TIGER SPORTS SHOP (1974): Opened by legendary soccer coach I.M. Ibrahim, the store grew from selling shoes to offering a wide range of Clemson apparel and memorabilia.
ALLEN’S CREATIONS (1976): Begun in Trent Allen’s basement, it’s been in the current location since 1988, providing art prints and framing for all things Clemson.
TIGER TOWN TAVERN (1977): It’s expanded since it opened in the 1970s to include outside seating and a second-floor private club, but you can still play a game of pool while you catch up with friends.
NICK’S (1976): Opened by Nick Vatakis and Milton Antonakos on the site of what used to be Pat Belew’s Gold Nugget, Nick’s is now owned/managed by Esther Revis-Wagner and her husband Ken, a retired biology
COLUMBOS’ (1984): Tucked behind the National Guard Armory on Pendleton Road, Columbo’s has been serving Chicago-style pizza and calzones since the early 1980s.
TDS (1988): Offering daily specials plus a “meat and three” for lunch, TDs also is the spot for occasional live music on the weekends.
TIGERTOWN GRAPHICS (1988): There’s a good chance your student group got their shirts designed and printed here.
VARIETY & FRAME (1992): Specializing in custom-designed diploma frames, Variety & Frame also offers a wide range of Clemson memorabilia and art supplies.
POT BELLY DELI (1994): Tucked behind the Rite Aid on Wall Street, Pot Belly almost always has a line of students waiting for sandwiches or a breakfast burrito.
SARDI’S DEN (1995): Started by alums Irv Harrington and Mike McHenry, Sardi’s specializes in ribs but has a host of daily specials.
BLUE HERON (2002): Serving steaks, seafood and sushi, Blue Heron also has a downstairs bar with daily specials and live entertainment.
MELLOW MUSHROOM (2000): It’s part of the chain, but doesn’t really feel like it since it occupies the former Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house, which was condemned in 1999. Creative remodeling and a sense of humor combined for the current interior design.
SMOKIN’ PIG (2009): Only open Thursday–Saturday, this family-owned barbecue spot has quickly become a Clemson tradition.
10 FUN THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU’RE IN CLEMSON
Play a round of golf at the 18-hole championship JOHN E. WALKER SR. GOLF COURSE, with its signature Tiger Paw hole. Call 864-656-0236 to set up a tee time.
Spend an afternoon at the SOUTH CAROLINA BOTANICAL GARDEN (take a picnic). Almost 300 acres, it includes formal and informal gardens, woodlands, ponds, walking trails and garden structures such as the nature-based sculpture program. Pick up a map at the Fran Hanson Discovery Center.
The “90 MINUTES BEFORE KICK-OFF CONCERT.” Tiger Band leads this pep rally in the amphitheater before every game. Then head over for Tiger Walk to cheer on the football team as they arrive.
Sit in a swing at ABERNATHY PARK overlooking Hartwell Lake. Built in 2004 to honor the late Clemson mayor (and Clemson professor), Larry Abernathy, the park includes walkways, boardwalks, picnic tables and boat docks.
STUMPHOUSE TUNNEL AND ISSAQUEENA FALLS (or broaden out and check out the other waterfalls close by). It’s worth the drive to see the birthplace of Clemson Blue Cheese.
HIKE THE FOOTHILLS TRAIL. Not the entire 76 miles from Table Rock State Park to Oconee State Park, but you can find sections that range from easy to strenuous. The University has been involved since its inception, and students recently constructed an accessible viewing platform at Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in S.C. Map of Foothills trail.
Take a hike or a bike ride in the EXPERIMENTAL FOREST. It’s large: 17,500 acres dedicated to education, research and demonstration. There are trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. See maps and pdfs of the Clemson Experimental Forest trails and waterfalls at clemson.edu/cafls/cef/maps_of_trails.html.
Take a picture under the CENTENNIAL OAK, the largest bur oak in South Carolina and believed to be more than 100 years old. Four feet shorter than it was in 1988, it’s considered “over mature.” That means you need to take your picture this year, not next.
Wander through CEMETERY HILL. It’s a favorite place to tailgate, and it’s full of Clemson history. If you’re a cemetery buff, you might find some headstones worth a rubbing. Take a virtual tour.
If it’s GAME DAY, get to campus early and enjoy the excitement. There’s nothing like it anywhere else.