The bell tower has been the most enduring symbol of Furman University from the Civil War to the present day. This commemorative plate, manufactured by Wedgwood in 1952, shows the original bell tower on the Old Main campus.
That tower was constructed in 1852 alongside Richard Furman Hall. It contained a single bell, which was rung to signal the start of classes and to celebrate Confederate victories during the Civil War. That practice evolved into a tradition of ringing the bell to celebrate Furman’s athletic victories. When Furman University moved to its present location north of downtown Greenville, plans were made to move the old bell tower to the new campus, but the structure was discovered to be too fragile to move.
The old bell tower was destroyed by fire in the winter of 1964. The following spring, an exact replica donated by the children of Alester Garden Furman was dedicated. It continues to be an icon of the university.