Charles Ezra Daniel Memorial Chapel
Charles Ezra Daniel Memorial Chapel
Charles Ezra Daniel
1895 - 1964
Charles E. Daniel, "Builder of the South," was a giant in the construction industry who played a major role in developing South Carolina and the South after World War II. As a founder and chairman of Daniel Construction Company, he built $2 billion worth of industrial and educational plants and brought thousands of new jobs to the region.
Born in Elberton, Ga., the son of a freelance millwright, he grew up in Anderson, S.C., where he worked as a carpenter's helper. He attended The Citadel for two years before joining the Army and serving as an officer in the Sixth Division in Europe during World War I. Returning to Anderson after the war, he worked for Townsend Lumber Company until he founded Daniel Construction Company in 1935.
During the company's early years, Charlie Daniel demonstrated that he could build faster, cheaper and better than his competitors, and his name soon became synonymous with integrity and dependability in the construction industry. By 1938 the company had an annual volume of more than a million dollars. He opened a branch in Birmingham, Ala., and in 1942 moved his company headquarters to Greenville.
During World War II, the company constructed the buildings at Greenville Army Air Force Base, later Donaldson Air Force Base, and handled more than 70 other defense projects. In the following years, his firm built 250 major industrial plants in South Carolina and a total of 400 in 12 southeastern states. Many of Mr. Daniel's clients were companies that he had lured to the South through his enthusiasm for his native region. By 1964, his company had divisions in six states and three foreign countries.
Mr. Daniel believed in human dignity and in the equality of opportunity for all people. He improved the lives of thousands of people and their families by providing job opportunities. He believed in the importance of higher education and supported colleges and universities by donating his resources and by constructing buildings for many colleges.
Mr. Daniel received numerous honors for his contributions to the state and the nation and served on the boards of some of the most prestigious business and civic organizations in the country. In 1954, South Carolina Governor James F. Byrnes appointed him to serve an unexpired term in the U.S. Senate. On his 68th birthday, he was honored by the National Association of Industrial Realtors as "Industrialist of the Year." The award was presented by his close friend Richard M. Nixon.
Charlie Daniel and his wife, the former Homozel Mickel of Elberton, Ga., were good friends of Furman University. Their beautiful home, "White Oaks," was located a few miles from the site of the new Furman campus, and Mr. Daniel invested his skills and his personal financial resources in the construction of the university's new buildings. The Charles E. Daniel Dining Hall was named in his honor.
After her husband's death in 1964, Mrs. Daniel continued to take a special interest in Furman. She regularly attended concerts and recitals on campus and provided generous support for the music program. As a trustee of the Daniel Foundation, she provided $4.5 million to construct the Homozel Mickel Daniel Music Building. When she died on June 22, 1992, she left more than $55 million to 14 colleges and universities. Furman received the largest gift: approximately $24.5 million in property and financial assets. According to her instructions, $5.5 million was to be used to construct and endow the Charles Ezra Daniel Memory Chapel in memory of her husband.