Orangeburg is home to two institutions of higher learning that belong to the family of Historic Black Colleges and Universities: Claflin University and South Carolina State University.
On their campuses are standing legacies of their students and leaders in the forms of buildings that continue to be in use well over a century after their construction.
The oldest building is home to the Arthur Rose Museum, a deep red brick structure designed by Claflin graduate William Wilson Cooke.
Cooke supervised the construction of the student-built structure in 1898. Students fired bricks in kilns dug on the campus.
It served as Claflin’s library and was originally named for Priscilla E. Bennett, who funded its construction.
Eventually, Claflin outgrew the library and the building then served as the art studio of Arthur Rose. He was a 1950 graduate of Claflin and the university’s first art major.
Claflin leaders named the former library for Rose in 1999.
Cooke also designed Tingley Memorial Hall, located in close proximity to the Arthur Rose Museum. Cooke, a native of Greenville, was a student assistant at Claflin in 1894 and then served as superintendent of training there from 1897 to 1907.
During that time, he designed many of the buildings used on campus, and Tingley Hall was his last project.
It was originally used as the university’s English and Pedagogical Department and contained 14 classrooms and an assembly hall.
Tingley Hall now houses Claflin’s administrative offices.
On the campus of S.C. State are several buildings of historic note.
Two of those are Lowman Hall and Dukes Gymnasium.
Like Cooke’s legacy as an African American architect on Claflin’s campus, Miller F. Whittaker left the same influence on the campus of S.C. State.
Lowman Hall, built in 1917, is the oldest intact building on S.C. State’s campus.
Whittaker was a member of the university’s faculty when he designed it. Lowman Hall served as a male dormitory.
Whittaker also served as S.C. State’s third president from 1932 until 1947.
Dukes Gymnasium was constructed in 1931. Funding for the building was provided by student recreation fees.
John H. Blanche, a student at S.C. State, designed it as a graduation thesis in the department of mechanical arts under Whittaker’s supervision.
Instructors in mechanical arts courses installed the steel framing, plumbing and electrical systems and supervised other parts of the construction.
All four of these buildings – the Arthur Rose Museum, Tingley Memorial Hall, Lowman Hall and Dukes Gymnasium – are listed on the National Register of Historic Places for their significance to African American history, architecture and education.