{ SC's September Calendar + Our Featured SC Event }

Greenville, September 21-24  |  This year's September Calendar of Events is brought to you by the euphoria Food, Wine and Music Festival. The four-day weekend features celebrated chefs and beverage professionals, notable singers and songwriters, and a diverse offering of cuisine, wines, craft beers, and spirits. euphoria offers over 30 all-inclusive events – from the appropriately named Taste of the South, a family friendly Sunday brunch BBQ to multi-course dinners with wine pairings. There is something to fit every foodie style! Drawing over 7,000 guests from 30 states and multiple countries, euphoria highlights Greenville, SC's culture, depth of talent, and award-winning downtown. euphoria is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which annually awards grants to charitable partners in the Upstate that align with their mission: providing sustenance to those in need, educating through music or performing arts, and supporting children.

{ Furman's Fabled Bell Tower }

School is back in session, which makes this a perfect time of year to explore one of South Carolina's most beautiful and historic colleges. Furman University in Greenville is a private university founded in 1826. Its campus features many crowning landmarks, and queen among them is the beloved bell tower that stands sentry over Furman Lake. Rich in lore, this elegant pillar creates one of the most picturesque sites in our state. When you're in Greenville later this month for euphoria Food, Wine and Music Festival, be sure to check it out. In the meantime, read on to learn about its past and see pictures of it in many seasons.

( Tom Taylor of Greenville, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

This Florentine bell tower is one of Furman University's most beloved landmarks. Furman's original bell tower was built in 1854 on what used to be the men's campus in Downtown Greenville. The bells rang to signal the start of classes and to celebrate victories for the athletic teams. Classes at Furman were disbanded during the Civil War, but the bells in the tower were rung to announce Confederate victories.

( Jay Capilo of Simpsonville, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

The original bell tower was not freestanding but connected to "Old Main" or, as it later became known, Richard Furman Hall. It was designed by Edward C. Jones of Jones and Lee, a prominent architectural firm in Charleston that also designed many other buildings such as Old Main at Wofford in Spartanburg, the Church of the Holy Cross in Stateburg, much of Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, and several other churches and buildings in Charleston (1).

( Calvin Kelley, Sr. of Mauldin, 2009 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

The new bell tower, dedicated in May of 1965, was built to the same specifications as the old tower. It bears a plaque at its base honoring Alester Garden Furman, grandson of Furman's first president, James Clement Furman. The younger Furman graduated in 1914 and became a major financial donor to the college. Fifteen months later, the tower's 60-bell carillon was named for John Edward Burnside, a 1917 graduate and successful financier. The bells were custom cast in Holland.

( Old Main Bell Tower | Council of Independent Colleges )

Unlike its predecessor, today's tower stands alone on a small peninsula in Furman Lake. Linking the past with the future, it represents Furman for students and alumni alike. Its iconic image appears on the school's seal and on many of the university publications.

( Blaine Owens of Greenville © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

Last but not least, an interesting legend surrounds the bell tower. It is said that if a man and woman kiss while inside it, they will marry. Read comments from our readers below for first-hand anecdotal evidence of the legend's truth!

( Blaine Owens of Greenville © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

{ The Power of the Tower }

Photographer Calvin Kelley, Sr. explains the legend as follows: "This tower has a story behind it that was recently told to me by my dentist. The story is, if you kiss your girl in the tower, she will become your bride."

This legend seems to bear some truth! Don Lloyd from Marion County remembers spending many nights strolling the Furman campus with his future wife during their high school years in Greenville. He writes:
The bell tower was (and probably still is) the best date spot in Greenville. The lake is incredibly beautiful and always seemed to impress a date. Of course, no visit would be complete without an excursion to the tower. I suppose that my attempts to be romantic were not the real reason she married me. I now know it was the power of the tower.
Furman alumnae Laura Godfrey concurs, saying that "in the spring of 2007, my senior year at Furman University, my boyfriend Mike kissed me in the belltower. I am so happy to tell you that we are getting married next summer in Furman's Daniel Chapel. I guess the story is true!"

If you have a personal experience to back this legend up, please write us and let us know!

( William Armonaitis of Greer © Do Not Use Without Written Consent )

1. Many, many thanks to Tom Taylor of Greenville, not only for contributing his beautiful images of the bell tower, but also for telling us more about the tower's origins. Tom is a graduate of Furman, and his wife is the head of the Chemistry department.

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