In the early 2000s, the city took the lead in preserving the historic depot in cooperation with Norfolk Southern and Amtrak; the exterior was restored to its early 20th century appearance.
Clemson, South Carolina
Calhoun Memorial Highway and College Avenue Clemson, SC 29631
- Annual Station Revenue (2015)
- Annual Station Ridership (2015)
|Facility Ownership||City of Clemson|
|Parking Lot Ownership||City of Clemson|
|Platform Ownership||Norfolk Southern Railway|
|Track Ownership||Norfolk Southern Railway|
|15 Long Term Parking Spaces||5 Short Term Parking Spaces||Accessible Platform|
|Accessible Restrooms||Accessible Waiting Room||Dedicated Parking|
|Enclosed Waiting Area||Wheelchair Lift|
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
Local Community Links:
Originally a Southern Railway station, the current Clemson facility was built in 1916. The station’s location was in the town of Calhoun, but that city officially became part of the city of Clemson in 1943. In 1916, the railroad track expanded and traffic was rerouted from Clemson Street to College Avenue and an overpass built. The depot was moved as part of this project, but was relocated again in 2001 and rebuilt because of new boarding platform regulations.
The city council decided to preserve this landmark in cooperation with Norfolk Southern Railway (the successor to the Southern Railway) and Amtrak. The city of Clemson applied for and received grants and other funds totaling $325,000. Norfolk Southern agreed to a “bargain sale and donation” of the property to the city for $100,000. The external depot was restored to its early twentieth-century appearance in 2001, including demolition of the interior of the old baggage areas. The original wood siding was also restored.
When the city asked for proposals for tenants, the Clemson Chamber of Commerce won that bid. Interior renovations made by the chamber included moving the waiting room from the end of the station to the middle of the station, where the telegraph area once sat. Additionally, the chamber added a conference area and the chamber’s reception and tourist welcome area as well, with historic artifacts relating to the station and the town.
The origins of the village of Calhoun, on the banks of Lake Hartwell, are not well documented, other than its name being a tribute to John C. Calhoun, former U.S. Vice President, who owned a home in the area. According to the local Pickens County newspaper of the period, the village of Calhoun was approximately one-half mile around the Calhoun depot. The railway began service in 1872 and the location for the depot staked out on January 29, 1891, with construction completed in 1892. The town of Calhoun was chartered on December 18, 1892. Within two years of establishment, Calhoun grew and prospered.
Clemson University, a public land-grant university, was founded in 1889. The university’s founder, Thomas Green Clemson, came to the foothills in 1838, married John C. Calhoun’s daughter, and built up a substantial estate in that countryside. When he died in 1889, he left most of his estate for the establishment of a college to teach scientific agricultural and mechanical arts to South Carolinians. Clemson Agricultural College officially opened in 1893 with an initial enrollment of 446 as an all-male military school. It remained so until 1955 when it changed to civilian status and became a coeducational institution. It was renamed Clemson University in 1964 as the state recognized its expanded academic offerings and research pursuits.
The university continues to be a focus of activity in this small city, even though a small two-block downtown is located directly north of the campus.
The South Carolina Botanical gardens lie within city limits and are connected with the university, with 295 acres of woodland, streams, ponds, nature and walking trails, award-winning niche gardens, and waterfalls. Among its features are “nature-based” sculptures which include some large and unusual landscape installations that are site-specific and created from only natural materials, such as the “Clemson Clay Nest” and “A Chameleon Meadow: In Praise of Shadows.”
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at this facility, which is served by two daily trains. The waiting area and restroom are informally maintained by the Chamber of Commerce.