Harcombe is the east campus dining hall, located next to and above the old Edgar A. Brown University Union and the student post office. It used to be famous for the PHD until undergoing renovations around 2002, and has since become the premiere dining hall on campus. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in the standard all you can eat fashion, and offers pasta, a hot bar, sandwiches, pizza, a grill for burgers and dogs, soft serve, cereal - just what you'd expect. In the early mornings, Miss Iola serves made-to-order omelettes.
As currently structured, it is only about one-third its original size, having been sub-divided in stages with the eastern end partitioned to create the Palmetto Ballroom in 1975, and in the most recent remodelling, the Alpha Phi Omega Lounge, Chili's Too, and a convenience mart.
It is named for Capt. James Douglas Harcombe, mess officer at Clemson for 26 years, arriving from New York in the summer of 1920 as an experienced Army mess officer. Harcombe oversaw feeding a corps that grew from 847 to ~3,000 students. He died at home early Monday morning, November 11, 1946, age 64, following several months of poor health.
- September 13, 1954: The new dining hall, later named Harcombe Commons, opens for breakfast for the first time. College officials, trustees, and representatives of the architectural and construction firms are on hand for an informal dedication. Following breakfast, Dr. R. F. Poole, president of the college, introduced Charles E. Daniel, of Greenville, who was recently appointed as a state senator. Sen. Daniel speaks to the cadets and visitors, observing that the construction of new facilities including the dormitories and agricultural buildings brings the value of new projects on campus within the past five years to some $15 million. The dining hall is part of a $4.5 million dormitory project. Dr. Poole then expresses pride in the new dorms, and urges cadets to take care of them to preserve them for future students. Dr. Poole introduces Dr. R. M. Cooper, of Wisacky, chairman of the Board of Trustees; Mr. Buck Mickle, of Greenville, project manager; and Mr. Bill Lyles, of Columbia, of the architectural firm of Lyles, Bissett, Carlisle and Wolff. Each makes a short speech of appreciation for being invited to the opening. Three other trustees are present but make no remarks: Dr. Joe B. Douthit, of Pendleton; Dr. W. A. Barnette, of Greenwood; and Mr. T. W. Thornhill, of Charleston. Also present is Mr. J. H. McHugh, who also ate the first meal in the old Clemson Mess Hall that was razed earlier this year. Following the meal, the visitors and college officials make a tour of the kitchen facilities. (The Tiger, "Many Dignitaries Attend Opening Of New Dining Hall Monday Morning", Thursday 16 September 1954, Volume XLVII, Number 2, page 1.)