Limestone College – Gaffney, South Carolina

South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Cherokee County Photos  |  Limestone College

Limestone College in Gaffney was established in 1845 as the first female college in South Carolina. Dr. Thomas Curtis of London, England, and his son, William, founded the school in order to provide an education to women who might not otherwise have such an opportunity. The school, originally called Limestone Springs Female High School, opened with 67 students. During the early 1900s the school began accepting males as day students. Males were permitted as residential students in the 1960s. While the Curtises were both ordained Baptist ministers, Limestone College remains a non-denominational Christian college.

Limestone College

Rodger Painter of Gaffney, 2010 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Following the Civil War, William Curtis, who served as president of the college following his father’s tragic death at sea in 1859, became financially destitute, and the school was sold at auction. Industrialist Peter Cooper of New York – the creator of the first steam locomotive in the United States and a staunch believer in egalitarian education for males and females – considered taking over the school and modeling it after the Cooper Union School in his home state, which he founded. Despite the collapse of these plans, the school continued to operate and its name was changed to Cooper-Limestone Institute in 1881. By 1898, the school was known by its now-familiar name, Limestone College.

The picture at the top of this page shows the Lighting of the Luminaries in front of Cooper Hall. This Christmas tradition has been practiced at Limestone College each year since 1984. When this picture was taken on December 4, 2010, a drizzle of rain didn’t dampen the spirits of students and citizen volunteers who lit some 10,000 candles placed in sand inside white paper bags. The luminaries, which have become a popular drive-by event, shine brightly around the college campus, along College Drive, and on several other Gaffney streets all the way to the door of Gaffney City Hall.

Ten buildings on the campus of Limestone College, including Cooper Hall, are listed in the National Register as part of the Limestone Springs Historic District:

The Limestone Springs Historic District includes ten buildings and one site associated with Limestone College and the community of Limestone Springs. The district is a significant collection of properties reflecting the history of the area in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a popular resort, as a center of lime production, and as a center of female education. The focal point of the district is the historic section of Limestone College campus, which contains nine buildings constructed between ca. 1837 and 1941. The buildings on the campus are oriented towards a central lawn and fountain. The buildings are classically inspired and include architectural styles such as Gothic Revival and Neo-Classical and also a meeting house form church. Also included in the district is a limestone quarry that was mined in the nineteenth and early twentieth century and a mid-nineteenth century church building. The limestone quarry is located adjacent to the historic section of the campus and the Limestone Springs Baptist Church is adjacent to the quarry.

Winnie Davis Hall

Josh Crotzer, Limestone’s Director of Communications, found the photo of Winnie Davis Hall (dated 2004) at the bottom of the page in the college’s files. Completed in 1904, the structure is named after the daughter of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. Its original purpose was to promote the study of Southern history and literature.

Winnie Davis Hall

Bill Fitzpatrick of Taylors, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Josh writes, “Winnie Davis Hall of History, often called the crown jewel of the Limestone College campus, is illuminated by a Cherokee County sunset. The violet glow provides a deceiving visual warmth to the 110-year old building’s exterior, a stark and ironic contrast to the cold and empty darkness that had resided inside for over 30 years. Closed to students and the public since 1976, Winnie Davis Hall is currently under renovation and upon completion will be home to a history and arts museum as well as state-of-art classrooms, all while retaining her unique and historic architecture and aesthetics.”

Limestone College

Courtesy of Limestone College © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Add your own reflections here.

Limestone College Info

Address: 1115 College Drive, Gaffney, SC 29340

Limestone College Map

Limestone College – Add Info and More Photos

The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Limestone College, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!

If You Don't Have a Facebook Account, Please Comment Below

2 Comments about Limestone College

Patricia PurushothamNo Gravatar says:
March 18th, 2016 at 8:01 pm

My great grandmother, Annie Hackney of Rome, Georgia, taught “as a teacher of education in the Cooper Limestone Institute in Gaffney South Carolina” for 2 to 3 years around 1896. Any pictures or other information would be greatly appreciated!!!!

Luella TaylorNo Gravatar says:
September 20th, 2013 at 3:36 pm

My great, great grandmother attended Limestone College in the 1860s. Her name was Zulia Durham from Shelby, N.C. Does anyone have any pictures of that period or any records of her attendance? I like your site.

Related Pages

Harbor Master’s House

Winthrop University Chapel

Carolina Theater Restored

USC  Salkehatchie

Seneca Junior College Faith Cabin Library

USC School of Medicine

Bishop William Wallace Duncan House

Wofford College
Wofford College

Lander University


Join Us on Facebook
Our 5 Goals
Our Contributors
Add Info
Add Pictures
Search for Pictures
Missing Landmarks


Abbeville ACE Basin Aiken Allendale Anderson Awendaw Bamberg Barns & Farms Barnwell Beaches Beaufort Beech Island Belton Bennettsville Bishopville Blackville Bluffton Bridges Bygone Landmarks Camden Carnegie Libraries Cemeteries Charleston Charleston Navy Base Cheraw Chester Churches Clemson Clinton Clio Colleges Columbia Conway Courthouses Darlington Denmark Dillon Donalds Easley Edgefield Edisto Elloree Fairfax Florence Folly Beach Forests and Nature Preserves Gaffney Garden City Beach Georgetown Glenn Springs Graniteville Greeleyville Greenville Greenwood Greer Hamburg Hampton Hartsville Hemingway Hilton Head Historic Houses Historic Photos Honea Path Hopkins Hunting Island Isle of Palms Jails James Island Johns Island Johnsonville Johnston Kiawah Island Kingstree Lake City Lake Marion Lakes Lancaster Landrum Latta Laurens Lexington Libraries Lighthouses Little River Manning Marion McClellanville McCormick Military Mills Moncks Corner Mountains Mount Carmel Mount Pleasant Mullins Murrells Inlet Myrtle Beach National Register Newberry Ninety Six North Augusta North Charleston North Myrtle Beach Orangeburg Parks Pawleys Island Pendleton Pickens Piers Pinopolis Plantations Port Royal Post Offices Ravenel Restaurants Ridgeway Rivers Roadside Oddities Robert Mills Rock Hill Rockville Rosenwald Schools Salters Saluda Savannah River Site SC Artists SC Heroes of the Alamo Schools Seneca Shrimp Boats Society Hill Spartanburg Sports Springs St. George St. Helena Island St. Matthews Stores Sullivan's Island Summerton Summerville Sumter Synagogues Town Clocks Trains & Depots Trees Trenton Turbeville Ulmer Union Wadmalaw Island Walhalla Walterboro Waterfalls Water Towers West Columbia Westminster Winnsboro Yemassee York

© 2016, LLC All rights reserved.