SCETV To Air Historic Columbia Foundation 50th Anniversary Documentary

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For more than 50 years, Historic Columbia Foundation has nurtured, supported and protected the historical and cultural heritage of Columbia and its environs through programs of advocacy, education and preservation. To commemorate the yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Foundation enlisted Columbia filmmaker Lee Ann Kornegay to create a documentary, Historic Columbia’s 50th Anniversary: Discovering People, Places and Progress, which will air on SCETV at 9:30 pm on Thursday, April 18 and 8:30 pm on Monday, April 22.

            The short documentary takes a look back at the organization’s history, starting with Historic Columbia’s founding in 1961 and the group of preservationists intent on saving the then-Ainsley Hall House (known today as the Robert Mills House) through interviews with founding members, volunteers, staff and community leaders. This project was made possible with funding by the Richland County Conservation Commission.

            Kornegay is an award-winning local filmmaker known for her documentaries, many of which have been shown on SCETV and at film festivals across the southeast, including Boloba and I’m Building a Bridge. For more information about her work and media production company, visit akornadventures.blogspot.com.

            Historic Columbia’s 50th Anniversary: Discovering People, Places and Progress, which will air on SCETV at 9:30 pm on Thursday, April 18 and 8:30 pm on Monday, April 22. For more information about Historic Columbia Foundation, visit historiccolumbia.org.

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Historic Columbia Foundation Makes History at 50th Birthday Celebration!

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Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us on November 9 at our 50thHCF 50th Birthday Celebration photos Birthday Celebration! The event raised $50,000 for Historic Columbia Foundation to continue our mission to nurture, support and protect the historical and cultural heritage of Columbia and its environs through programs of advocacy, education and preservation. Thank you for a wonderful 50 years, and here’s to 50 more!

Check out the party pics! HCF has posted all of the photos from the party on Facebook here and here. Tag, comment and “like” away!

Did you take photos too? We would love to see them. Post your party pics on our Facebook wall or email them to atucker@historiccolumbia.org.

If you are not already a HCF member we encourage you to join today. Be part of an organization committed to preserving the past and promoting avenues to a positive future. Membership benefits include discounted prices, early notification for specialty events, unlimited FREE house tours – including our Holiday Tours, discounts in our Gift Shop and much more.

Join HCF today to ensure that the history of our region is preserved and protected for generations to come. If you have questions about membership click here, email wspratt@historiccolumbia.org or call 803.252.7742 x 12.

Historic Columbia Foundation is also accepting donations to our 50th Anniversary Fund through the end of 2012 – make your contribution here!

Miss the party? Or ready for the next great event? HCF hosts a variety of programs and events for all ages all year long! Join us for one of our other upcoming events. Raise a glass to HCF at our upcoming Chili Cook-Off fund raiser on Saturday, February 23, and continue to help raise funds for our next 50 years.

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Preservation Matters: Columbia, SC | Planning for the Next Fifty Years: Historic Preservation in Columbia & Richland County, 2012-2062

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When Historic Columbia Foundation was established in 1961 the world was a different place. While sounding trite, that statement nonetheless rings true, perhaps in no way more so than in the arena of historic preservation.

Consider this. When concerned citizens rallied to prevent the demolition of the Ainsley Hall House, known today as the Robert Mills House, urban renewal was in full swing, transforming large swaths of cities throughout the United States through eminent domain and fight blight programs. The National Register of Historic Places did not exist. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, seen today as one of the field’s leading advocates, had been around for a little over a decade. Perhaps most important, preservationists were largely citizens without formal training in history, architecture, etc. who championed a cause because they could see the inherent value in not erasing the built culture of earlier generations.

Fast forward five decades to the present day. Historic preservation has evolved into an informed and energetic, multidisciplinary engine whose social and economic impact has stood the test of time. Contemporary historic preservationists come in many shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds. The field is no longer populated almost exclusively by the socially prominent or the wealthy. Fifty years of growth has transformed the way in which many people perceive value in the buildings, neighborhoods and landscapes that constitute their communities.

During the course of this journey Columbia and Richland County has matured much like the rest of the nation, meanwhile experiencing its share of victories. Positive growth is plentiful. Today, the City of Columbia’s Planning Department and the Design Development Review Commission oversee activities within fourteen downtown historic districts, ensuring that alterations or new construction within those areas is architecturally sympathetic to the historic fabric of the communities. Since 1975, the University of South Carolina has produced graduates specializing in public history, with historic preservation studies being one of the program’s tracts. Heritage tourism, based on the retention of historic resources that define our culture, is alive and well, generating considerable income for our city and county. Artisan skills, once considered passé in the face of modern construction methods and materials, have become a highly sought-after commodity. Like no other time in our city’s and county’s past can citizens and visitors access historical material and visit important places. The connections they make through such resources are a powerful educational tool, allowing them to better understand the experiences of previous generations.

Technology compounds the impact that historic preservation can have on the day-to-day lives of everyone. The digital age has introduced amazing tools that preservationists wield each day. Global positioning satellites (GPS) allow us to view and measure our world quickly on both the macro and micro levels. Ground penetrating radar (GPR) reveals cultural assets hidden from plain view. Even the most basic software found on average personal computers allows preservation practitioners to compile, study and disseminate information necessary in making the case to save irreplaceable facets of our past. Through social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, professional preservationists and involved citizens are empowered like never before, pushing information to like-minded individuals whose combined efforts often prevent the unnecessary loss of our shared past

Despite laudable growth since the 1960s, local historic preservation has experienced notable losses – large and small. Remains of the Ward One and Wheeler Hill communities exist almost solely in the memories of their former citizens. Architectural jewels such as Heathwood Hall unbelievably fell to the wrecking ball despite calls to save them. Transportation and manufacturing landmarks, including the Vista’s extension railroad trestle and structures once part of the city’s cottonseed oil industries no longer stand. Formerly integral to the character of their surrounding neighborhoods, the Richland County Jail, Booker T. Washington High School and Columbia High School and other public buildings were carted away to landfills.

What will the next fifty years hold for historic preservation in Columbia and Richland County? The answer lies with us now, as it is the citizens of 2012 who must shoulder the responsibility of advocating for what remains and educating contemporary and future stakeholders as to the importance of our individual structures, our neighborhoods and our urban and rural landscapes. While so many things have changed since 1961, the threat to our shared past remains remarkably alive. If not put in check by vocal preservationists, demolition of our remaining resources for construction of cookie-cutter developments will result in a city and county largely indistinguishable from others throughout our region and nation. Appreciating what remains of the past can result in a more informed, visually dynamic and culturally impressive city and county.

Why Historic Columbia Foundation Came to Be  

Today one of five National Historic Landmarks in the capital city, the Robert Mills House stands as a testament to the power of grass-roots preservation activism. Historic Columbia Foundation image

The Broad Reach of Urban Renewal

Fight Blight initiatives within Columbia during the 1950s and 1960s sought to improve areas of downtown deemed dilapidated and troubled. In some cases these efforts resulted in rehabilitated historic buildings. In far more instances entire areas were wiped clean of their structures, such as the section of Ward One razed for construction of the Carolina Coliseum. Courtesy of The State Newspaper

 Felled by the Wrecking Ball

By moving beyond traditional methods of historic preservation to include the safeguarding of potential archaeological sites, cemeteries and landscapes, activists hope to offer current and future citizens greater access to irreplaceable cultural resources. Shown: Heathwood Hall, pre-demolition. Historic Columbia Foundation image

Extending the Concept of Preservation

By moving beyond traditional methods of historic preservation to include the safeguarding of potential archaeological sites, cemeteries and landscapes, activists hope to offer current and future citizens greater access to irreplaceable cultural resources. Historic Columbia Foundation image

 Challenges Even Today

Contemporary activists are involved in two major preservation advocacy efforts. Inclusion of historic structures in plans for the redevelopment of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health Bull Street Campus will result in a unique district within downtown. Meanwhile, citizens interested in finding adaptive use for the circa-1918 Palmetto Compress Warehouse have met major opposition on the part of developers sold on razing the last remaining vestige of the city’s Ward One community and a major component of the city’s skyline. National Register of Historic Places Image, Courtesy of South Carolina Department of Archives and History

Ways to Get Involved:
1. Become a member of Historic Columbia Foundation.
 For as little as $35 (individual), your membership cost helps Historic Columbia Foundation in our local preservation and education efforts. Learn more…

2. Visit our historic house museums and gardens, including the Mann-Simons Site, Hampton-Preston Mansion, Seibels Garden, Robert Mills House & Garden, Woodrow Wilson Family Home (open the first Tuesday of the month for hard hat tours). Learn more…

3. Donate to Historic Columbia Foundation in honor of our 50th Anniversary. In an effort to save the Robert Mills House from demolition 265 visionary individuals, families and businesses each contributed $1,000 (equivalent to a $7,341 gift in 2011!) to Historic Columbia Foundation between 1961 and 1964. As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Historic Columbia Foundation, our Board of Trustees invites you to continue the legacy of the 265 founding leaders by being among the first 265 donors to make a contribution to our 2011 – 2012 Anniversary Campaign. Your gift may serve as a memorial or honorarium and may be directed to benefit our special projects, endowment or general operation fund as noticed in 50th Anniversary donation form here.

4. Become a fan of Historic Columbia Foundation and Preservation Matters on Facebook.(Facebook.com/HistoricColumbia andFacebook.com/PreservationMatters)  and/or follow us on Twitter (@histcolumbia). Your likes, comments and retweets help us spread the word about our organization.

5. Volunteer for Historic Columbia Foundation. By volunteering for Historic Columbia Foundation, you meet new people, visit historic sites, and discover the culture and lifestyles of South Carolina’s capital city and Richland County. Spend as little as six hours per month, or volunteer each week with us fulfilling our mission to nurture, support, and protect the historical and cultural heritage of Columbia and its environs through programs of advocacy, education, and preservation. Learn more about becoming a volunteer (and the many volunteer benefits) here.

6. Spread the word about our 50th Anniversary by posting a link to this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and/or your website.

7. Encourage your employer to support Historic Columbia Foundation. Much like the 1,000 visionary donors in 1961, sustaining the efforts of Historic Columbia Foundation for the next 50 years will require donations not only from individuals and families, but also from local businesses. You can learn more about our business partners here. Contact Wendi Spratt in our development office at 803.252.7742 ext. 12 orwspratt@historiccolumbia.org.

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Historic Columbia Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Year Concludes with Birthday Celebration at Robert Mills House

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Historic Columbia Foundation caps off its 50th anniversary year with a Birthday Celebration at the Robert Mills House and Gardens on Friday, November 9 at 7 p.m.

This event wraps up the Foundation’s year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary, which began in November 2011 with a street fair and family day. HCF’s Birthday Celebration on November 9 will feature an antique car display, retro cocktails, wonderful food, music, dancing and a silent auction, all on the grounds of the Robert Mills House and Gardens, the property that started itall.

A Community Comes Together
In 1961, a grand old building sat in disrepair on Blanding Street with the threat of demolition hanging over its roof. Known then as the Ainsley Hall House, the residence-turned-school stood on a prized piece of land bordered by Taylor, Blanding, Pickens and Henderson Streets in the heart of downtown Columbia.  A dedicated group of citizens—including members of some of the city’s oldest families—came together and created Historic Columbia Foundation with the purpose of saving this endangered property.

The group recognized the house’s significance as both a Columbia landmark and as an architectural treasure. In 1823, Columbia residents Ainsley and Sarah Hall hired architect Robert Mills to design a house in the Classical Revival style. Mills, most famous for designing the Washington Monument, planned very few private residences, adding to the building’s significance as a historic property.

Mr. Hall died before the house was completed, leaving a contested will and his wife to finish the project. Ultimately, she sold it to the Presbyterian Synod of South Carolina and Georgia, which established a seminary there in 1831. In 1927, the building became home to the Westerveldt Academy and later the Columbia Bible College, until 1960.

In 1961 the newly-formed Historic Columbia Foundation began to solicit donations toward its goal to purchase the Ainsley Hall House and save it from destruction. The group found 265 individuals and businesses who each donated $1,000, enabling the Foundation to purchase the property in 1962 and begin the restoration in 1963, which was completed four years later. On April 2, 1967, the house opened to the public as the Robert Mills Historic House and Park.

Founding HCF member Jennie Dreher accepts a check from Columbia Garden Club President Mrs. John R. Holton in front of the Robert Mills House in 1961.

The Legacy of Preservation
“Today is tomorrow’s history,” wrote Charles E. Lee, director of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, in 1962 as he commented on Historic Columbia Foundation’s activism. “Twenty, fifty, a hundred years from now, when Columbia has doubled or tripled in size and hustle-and-bustle, visitors…will be grateful to the men and women of 1962 who had the vision to bequeath them this beautiful and peaceful example of gracious living from the unhurried past.”

The transformation of the Mills house from derelict building to vibrant museum stands as one of many highlights in Historic Columbia Foundation’s five decades of historic preservation efforts throughout Columbia and Richland County. Due to the success of the Mills house project, the Foundation was awarded stewardship of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home in 1966, Hampton-Preston Mansion in 1972 and the Mann-Simons Site in 1978.

The Robert Mills House in 1962, known then as the Ainsley Hall House.

By the 1980s, HCF proudly claimed 1,300 members and was growing beyond the bounds of the historic houses, offering tours throughout the city of Columbia and receiving accreditation from the American Association of Museums. The Foundation was gifted Seibels House in 1986 and assumed ownership of The Big Apple in 1993. In 2007, the City of Columbia awarded the Foundation stewardship of the Modjeska Monteith Simkins House.

Through its existence, Historic Columbia Foundation has continued to raise standards for the stewardship of the seven historic properties and more than 6,000 artifacts under its care. By establishing an award-winning website, developing new tours and programs, and making horticultural improvements, capital repairs and interpretive enhancements to its properties, the Foundation has promoted its vitality and relevance in an era of ever-changing expectations for cultural institutions.

“Today, HCF is working toward a vision that will honor the past investment of the dedicated citizens who rallied to save the Robert Mills House in 1961,” said HCF Executive Director Robin Waites, “meanwhile harnessing the spirit of contemporary residents of Columbia and Richland County in boldly building upon the previous generation’s efforts and vision.”

The Robert Mills House today.

50th Anniversary Birthday Celebration
Historic Columbia Foundation will cap off its 50th anniversary year with a Birthday Celebration at the Robert Mills House and Gardens on Friday, November 9 at 7 p.m. The celebration includes food and retro cocktails, a jazz band and DJ, a vintage fashion exhibit, antique car display, and a silent auction, all on the grounds of the Robert Mills House and Garden. Also, the Robert Mills House will be open for tours during the party.

Tickets to Historic Columbia Foundation’s Birthday Celebration are $75 per person or $50 for Palladium Society members. Tickets are on sale now by calling (803) 252-7742 ext. 10 or at http://HCFBirthdayBash.eventbrite.com.

“As we move toward the culmination of our 50th anniversary year, we have a great deal to celebrate,” said Michael Edens, president of the Historic Columbia Foundation Board of Trustees. “We invite everyone to join us on the grounds of the Robert Mills House to help us commemorate and revel in the accomplishments of the past 50 years.”

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Historic Columbia Foundation was founded in 1961 by a group of preservationists determined to save the Ainsley Hall House, known today as the Robert Mills House.  More than four decades later, Historic Columbia Foundation manages four historic house museums and their associated artifacts, and tells the stories of people, places and progress in Columbia and Richland County. For more information, please visit http://www.historiccolumbia.org.

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/histcolumbia
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/historiccolumbia
Web: http://www.historiccolumbia.org
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/discoverhistory


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Historic Columbia Foundation’s Famously hot Behind the Scenes Tours Return with Two New Tours Announced!

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As part of the Historic Columbia Foundation’s 50th Anniversary, the organization’s popular behind-the-scenes tours return this fall with two exclusive tour options in September and October. Tours are sponsored by 2nd Wind Heating & Air Conditioning and are offered on a first come, first served basis.

SOLD OUT | On Saturday, September 29 from 10 am – noon, a Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Bull Street Campus and South Carolina State Asylum Building will highlight the architecture and history of this historic property. The cost, which includes drinks and light refreshments, is $25 for members and $30 for non-members.

On Tuesday, October 16 from 6 – 8 pm, a Behind the Scenes Tour of 701 Whaley, The Pacific Community Association Building with the owner will showcase the history and transformation of 701 Whaley property as well as offer a firsthand look at the indoor pool and gymnasium (located behind 701 Whaley) before its rehabilitation. The cost, which includes drinks and light refreshments, is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Beer, wine and appetizers will be provided.

Reservations for these exclusive 50th Anniversary tours can be made by email at specialtytours@historiccolumbia.org. Registration opens for the general public on September 19.

More about the Historic Bull Street Campus:
The beginnings of what ultimately became a largely self-sufficient city within a city lay in the completion of the Robert Mills-designed South Carolina State Asylum building in 1828.Bustling with activity for generations, the sprawling, 178-acre Department of Mental Health Bull Street campus today is best characterized largely by silence punctuated by sounds beyond its walls and perimeter roads. What lies ahead for this unique Columbia community remains far from certain. However, designs for its reuse have been vigorously debated for years and the key to the most successful plans will be retaining those aspects of the property of significant cultural and historical value. Tour SOLD OUT.

More about 701 Whaley, The Pacific Community Association Building:
Located within the former boundaries of the Olympia and Granby Mill complex, the Pacific Community Association Building had a tremendous social and cultural impact on the mill village it served for generations. Built by 1903, the original portion of the building was designed by the prolific mill engineer and architect W.B. Smith Whaley for use as a company store. About fifteen years later, the landmark was enlarged to include an indoor pool. A large gymnasium followed in 1923, long after the original portion of the building had been converted into a community center. From sports to community service organizations to recreational activities, this unique structure became a central fixture in the lives of rural workers drawn to Columbia for jobs in textile manufacturing. Today, the historic property, rehabilitated for events and offices, remains an important link to the capital city’s textile heritage.

About the 50th Anniversary behind-the-scenes tours, Robin Waites, Executive Director of Historic Columbia Foundation says “Back by popular demand, the Foundation is delighted to announce these new behind-the-scenes tours that explore two of Columbia’s significant landmarks.”  Members of the media are encouraged to contact Ashley Tucker, Marketing Coordinator, for historic photographs and questions about these exclusive tours at  803.252.7742 ext 16 or atucker@historiccolumbia.org.

About Historic Columbia Foundation:
In November 1961, a small group of individuals intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition, officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation. Over the next five decades the organization, which was founded on the premise of preservation and education, would take on the stewardship of seven historic properties in Richland County. Today, the organization serves as a model for local preservation efforts and interpretation of local history. The 50th Anniversary year of Historic Columbia Foundation (which officially began on November 13, 2011) will include a variety of community celebratory events. Visit http://www.historiccolumbia.org for details.

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/histcolumbia
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/historiccolumbia
Web: http://www.historiccolumbia.org
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/discoverhistory

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Early Columbia Lecture Series Part Three Kicks Off September 4!

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In honor of our 50th Anniversary as an organization, Historic Columbia Foundation is pleased to offer a three-part Lecture Series on the history of Columbia, South Carolina.

We invite you to join us for Part III of the Early Columbia Lecture Series, hosted by historian and author Warner Montgomery, Ph.D. Part III of the series will cover the Twentieth Century: Columbia Celebrates 200 years, meeting Tuesdays, September 4 – October 9.

Topics Covered During Each Lecture (Part III):
Sept 4: Boom, Bam, Boom (1920s, 1930s, 1940s)
Sept 11: Main Street: Business and Commerce
Sept 18:  Urban Renewal and Suburban Annexation
Sept 25: Desegregation and Local Control
Oct 2: Schools, Hospitals, and Public Services
Oct 9: Mayors, Leaders, and Vision

Optional Bus Tour: Sunday, September 16, 2012, 2:00 PM -5:00 PM
Meets at the Seibels House, 1601 Richland St

Columbia Revisited will be used as the textbook for this series. If you would like to pre-purchase a copy, please indicate so on your registration form. The cost will be $26.95 for members of Historic Columbia Foundation and $29.95 for all other participants.

About Warner M. Montgomery:
Warner M. Montgomery, Ph.D, graduate of the University of South Carolina and the University of Michigan, began his professional career as a teacher and coach at the new A.C. Flora High School in Forest Acres in 1960. After teaching in Thailand, Michigan, Ohio, Africa, and Canada, he returned to Columbia in 1989 as owner-publisher of the Columbia Star newspaper. He is now retired and writes and teaches about the history of Columbia.

Cost / Registration Information:
The cost for Part III of the series is $50 for HCF members (or $55 with bus tour), $60 for guests (or $70 with bus tour), and $35 for students with valid ID (or $45 with bus tour).

Register by downloading the print-friendly registration form.  You may also wish to print the Lecture Series outline (takes a moment to load – includes dates/times for all three parts) to keep on file. Then, email your registration form toreservations@historiccolumbia.org OR mail to 1601 Richland Street, Columbia, SC 29201.

Register
Click the button below to download the registration form.  Email your registration form to reservations@historiccolumbia.org OR mail to 1601 Richland Street, Columbia, SC 29201.

Historic Columbia Foundation Columbia Lecture Series

Questions? Contact Ann Posner at (803)252-1770 x 24 or email reservations@historiccolumbia.org.

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Preservation Matters: Columbia, SC | Rehabilitated Historic Structure Becomes Incubator for Scholarship

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For almost two decades the modest three-room building at 2025 ½ Marion Street stood vacant. A curiosity for some passersby who pondered its past, it was a target of derision for others skeptical of its future. Outside, a cockeyed chimney seemed an ominous portent of structural problems that might lie beneath the peeling paint of clapboards and tired windows. Inside, the wood-frame cottage’s flaking plaster and well-trod floorboards belied the site’s rich association with South Carolina’s pre-eminent civil and human rights activist, Modjeska Monteith Simkins. Her home, immediately to the east, had undergone renovation in 1997. To what vital use—a use that also would preserve the important physical layers of history embedded within its walls—could this building be placed?

This question and another that followed immediately thereafter—what would Modjeska Simkins have wanted? — lay at the heart of innumerable discussions. Historic Columbia Foundation staff and multiple stakeholders, especially persons who worked with Mrs. Simkins in her quest to correct civil injustice, arrived at a compelling answer – the structure should become a live-work unit for a scholar-in-residence program whose participants would engage in research befitting their namesake’s ideals and interests.

The decision made, Historic Columbia Foundation sought to assemble the necessary funding from a host of sources. Partnerships included BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, which purchased and then donated the Simkins property to the City of Columbia in 2007. Congressman Jim Clyburn, impressed with the building’s potential, spearheaded an effort to receive funding from the now-discontinued Save America’s Treasures program. [Previously, in 2009, Historic Columbia Foundation received funding from this federal grant for the structural stabilization and exterior restoration of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home.] Ultimately, his efforts yielded $150,000, which the Foundation was able to match through further sources, including a $25,000 grant from the Richland County Conservation Commission.

Under the direction of The Boudreaux Group, Willm Construction of Columbia performed eight months’ worth of rehabilitation work in compliance with Department of the Interior Standards for the work on historic building, which transformed the once-run-down cottage into a comprehensively updated facility while retaining its historic integrity. Highlights of the work include a reconstructed front porch, based on a photograph taken in April 1960; new heating, ventilation and air conditioning and plumbing systems; an interior paint scheme based on a scientific paint analysis; and exterior lighting and a double-loop wire fence in keeping with the building’s period of significance (1934-1966).

Monday, June 11th, marked the much-anticipated arrival of Historic Columbia Foundation’s first Modjeska Simkins Scholar-in-Residence – Yale doctoral candidate Caitlin Verboon. With her dissertation research experienced sponsored by Steve and Gail Morrison in honor of Candy Y. Waites, this Chapel Hill native will be in Columbia until late September investigating the Reconstruction era (1865-1877), particularly how relationships between black and white; northern and southern, urban and rural folks shaped life Columbia physical and social landscapes to become a New South city during the later 19th century. Caitlin’s findings, coupled with research that Historic Columbia Foundation staff members are conducting simultaneously, will inform the future interpretation of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home, which this fall will be undergoing Phase IIB of its multi-year rehabilitation. A physical link to this often under discussed time period, the Wilson Home connects the antebellum and Civil War eras represented at the Hampton-Preston Mansion with the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras represented at the Mann-Simons Site and the Modjeska Simkins House, respectively.

It is fitting that this ground-breaking scholar-in-residence program debuts during Historic Columbia Foundation’s 50thanniversary year. Building upon the last five decades of work, Foundation staff anxiously awaits the new opportunities that this research and the live-work facility will afford the organization in the coming years.

A Diamond in the Rough | Pre-rehabilitation

Used for storage since the later years of Modjeska Simkins’ life, the three-room building was rented to David and Pearline (Pauline?) Boynton from 1946 until 1961, according to Columbia City Directories. From 1961 through 1964, the structure was listed as vacant; it may have been used to accommodate out-of-town Civil Rights activists whom Simkins would have hosted during an era in which hotels and motels where segregated.

A Glimpse at the Past | April 1960 | Image courtesy South Caroliniana Library

Joseph Winter, housing inspector for the Columbia Urban Rehabilitation Commission, photographed the Simkins family’s rear building on 20 April 1960 during surveys conducted for urban renewal proceedings. His image depicted the property with its porch and what appears to be a condemnation notice on the building’s rear ell. 

Preparing for the Future, Respecting the Past | Rehabilitation in progress

No stone ultimately was left unturned at the property, where Foundation staff, architects and contractors ensured that while the building was being improved to accommodate contemporary needs the preservation of important historic facets remained intact. Particularly interesting was plaster repair using traditional construction methods, performed by members of Dillon Construction.

Beauty is more than Skin Deep | Post-rehabilitation

While for years drawing the scorn of some passersby due to its deteriorated state, 2025 ½ Marion Street today is testament to the power of breathing new life into old buildings. Following its comprehensive overhaul the former late 19th-century cottage will serve scores of scholars who will call Columbia their temporary home during their months of research.

Caitlin Verboon | The Inaugural Modjeska Simkins Scholar-in-Residence

Historic Columbia Foundation is thankful to benefit from Caitlin’s talent this summer. Her research will lend itself well to future plans the organization has for interpreting the Woodrow Wilson Family Home, South Carolina’s only presidential site and an important physical link to the tumultuous Reconstruction era.

Ways to Get Involved:

1. Become a member of Historic Columbia Foundation.
 For as little as $35 (individual), your membership cost helps Historic Columbia Foundation in our local preservation and education efforts. Learn more…

2. Visit our historic house museums and gardens, including the Mann-Simons Site, Hampton-Preston Mansion, Seibels Garden, Robert Mills House & Garden, Woodrow Wilson Family Home (open the first Tuesday of the month for hard hat tours). Learn more…

3. Donate to Historic Columbia Foundation in honor of our 50th Anniversary. In an effort to save the Robert Mills House from demolition 265 visionary individuals, families and businesses each contributed $1,000 (equivalent to a $7,341 gift in 2011!) to Historic Columbia Foundation between 1961 and 1964. As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Historic Columbia Foundation, our Board of Trustees invites you to continue the legacy of the 265 founding leaders by being among the first 265 donors to make a contribution to our 2011 – 2012 Anniversary Campaign. Your gift may serve as a memorial or honorarium and may be directed to benefit our special projects, endowment or general operation fund as noticed in 50th Anniversary donation form here.

4. Become a fan of Historic Columbia Foundation and Preservation Matters on Facebook.(Facebook.com/HistoricColumbia andFacebook.com/PreservationMatters)  and/or follow us on Twitter (@histcolumbia). Your likes, comments and retweets help us spread the word about our organization.

5. Volunteer for Historic Columbia Foundation. By volunteering for Historic Columbia Foundation, you meet new people, visit historic sites, and discover the culture and lifestyles of South Carolina’s capital city and Richland County. Spend as little as six hours per month, or volunteer each week with us fulfilling our mission to nurture, support, and protect the historical and cultural heritage of Columbia and its environs through programs of advocacy, education, and preservation. Learn more about becoming a volunteer (and the many volunteer benefits) here.

6. Spread the word about our 50th Anniversary by posting a link to this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and/or your website.

7. Encourage your employer to support Historic Columbia Foundation. Much like the 1,000 visionary donors in 1961, sustaining the efforts of Historic Columbia Foundation for the next 50 years will require donations not only from individuals and families, but also from local businesses. You can learn more about our business partners here. Contact Wendi Spratt in our development office at 803.252.7742 ext. 12 orwspratt@historiccolumbia.org.

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Collection Item of the Month | Jo Jo flask from the South Carolina Dispensary

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As the Foundation continues it’s 50th Anniversary Year, we want to give you a closer look into our collection.

Historic Columbia Foundation maintains a permanent collection of more than 6,500 historic artifacts.  The collections span the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries and form the basis of interpretation at our historic houses.  Objects vary in composition, size and value with major categories in the permanent collection including textiles, decorative arts, fine arts, tools and historic images.  A portion of collection items are viewable here.

Take a look at this month’s featured Collection Item, the Jo Jo Flask, early 1900s. This piece will be on display at the Robert Mills House in a new exhibit opening at the end of July. Stay tuned for more information on the new exhibit!

Nick-named “Ben Tillman’s Baby” by his critics, the South Carolina Dispensary was founded by Governor Ben Tillman in 1893 and was located in Edgefield, South Carolina. This was the first and only attempt by any state to control the production and sale of all forms of liquor; the experiment lasted from 1893 until 1907 state-wide and as late as 1916 in some counties. From 1898 to 1907, the building that currently houses the Publix grocery store, 501 Gervias Street, was used as a liquor-bottling warehouse for the South Carolina Dispensary.

The bottles used by the Dispensary were available in four different sizes and came with varying logos. One of the more common bottles was called the “Jo Jo flask”. The most recognizable logos are the Palmetto tree and the Dispensary’s monogram- an interlocking “S”, “C”, and “D”. Featuring a similar interlocking “SC”, the University of South Carolina baseball team’s new logo bears a “strike”-ing resemblance to the SC Dispensary’s iconic monogram.

If you wish to donate historic artifacts from your personal collection to Historic Columbia Foundation, please contact John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources at jsherrer@historiccolumbia.org or 803.252.1770 ext. 28.

HCF’s Historic House Museums feature a variety of collection pieces. To learn more about visiting, click here.

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A Look Back: Columbia's Preservation Efforts Featured in The State Newspaper

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Big thanks to our friends at The State newspaper for featuring last night’s look back at Columbia’s Preservation efforts from the last 50 years and the 2012 Preservation Award Winners.

Read the online article here.

For more information about the 2012 Recipients check out the blog post announcing the awards here.

About Preservation Matters:
Since its inception fifty years ago, Historic Columbia Foundation has remained true to its most basic principle – to save architecturally and culturally significant places by educating the public as to their importance. After preventing the destruction of the Robert Mills House the organization grew to further serve the capital city and Richland County as a preservation advocate championing the future or historic structures. Today, Historic Columbia Foundation models historic preservation and public education at the seven historic sites under its stewardship, through public outreach within downtown and county communities alike, and by allying itself with strategic partners dedicated to improving the quality of life for contemporary and future citizens. What follows are stories behind Historic Columbia Foundation’s evolution over five decades into a leader in historic preservation and education.

Ways to Get Involved:

1. Become a member of Historic Columbia Foundation.
For as little as $35 (individual), your membership cost helps Historic Columbia Foundation in our local preservation and education efforts. Learn more…

2. Visit our historic house museums and gardens, including the Mann-Simons Site, Hampton-Preston Mansion, Seibels Garden, Robert Mills House & Garden, Woodrow Wilson Family Home (open the first Tuesday of the month for hard hat tours). Learn more…

3. Donate to Historic Columbia Foundation in honor of our 50th Anniversary. In an effort to save the Robert Mills House from demolition 265 visionary individuals, families and businesses each contributed $1,000 (equivalent to a $7,341 gift in 2011!) to Historic Columbia Foundation between 1961 and 1964. As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Historic Columbia Foundation, our Board of Trustees invites you to continue the legacy of the 265 founding leaders by being among the first 265 donors to make a contribution to our 2011 – 2012 Anniversary Campaign. Your gift may serve as a memorial or honorarium and may be directed to benefit our special projects, endowment or general operation fund as noticed in 50th Anniversary donation form here.

4. Become a fan of Historic Columbia Foundation and Preservation Matters on Facebook.(Facebook.com/HistoricColumbia andFacebook.com/PreservationMatters)  and/or follow us on Twitter (@histcolumbia). Your likes, comments and retweets help us spread the word about our organization.

5. Volunteer for Historic Columbia Foundation. By volunteering for Historic Columbia Foundation, you meet new people, visit historic sites, and discover the culture and lifestyles of South Carolina’s capital city and Richland County. Spend as little as six hours per month, or volunteer each week with us fulfilling our mission to nurture, support, and protect the historical and cultural heritage of Columbia and its environs through programs of advocacy, education, and preservation. Learn more about becoming a volunteer (and the many volunteer benefits) here.

6. Spread the word about our 50th Anniversary by posting a link to this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and/or your website. Direct link ishttp://blog.historiccolumbia.org/preservation-matters-columbia-south-carolina-historic-sites-associated-with-the-legacy-of-slavery/. Shortened title with link for Twitter is “@ColumbiaSC historic sites associated with the legacy of slavery via @histcolumbia: http://bit.ly/GC5UKJ

7. Encourage your employer to support Historic Columbia Foundation. Much like the 1,000 visionary donors in 1961, sustaining the efforts of Historic Columbia Foundation for the next 50 years will require donations not only from individuals and families, but also from local businesses. You can learn more about our business partners here. Contact Wendi Spratt in our development office at 803.252.7742 ext. 12 orwspratt@historiccolumbia.org.

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Historic Columbia Foundation Recognizes 2012 Preservation Matters Award Recipients At Special Reception on May 24, 2012; Reflections on Past Award Recipients Also Included in Festivities

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Columbia, SC (May 15, 2012) – For decades Historic Columbia Foundation has joined other preservation advocacy orga­nizations in celebrating National Historic Preservation Month each spring. This May will be an especially exciting time for the Foundation, as their 50th Anniversary year coincides with their annual Preservation Awards.  Join Historic Columbia Foundation for the annual recognition of excellence in local preservation projects on May 24, 2012.

The Preservation Matters:  50 Years of Restoration, Revitalization and Reuse reception and award ceremony will be held at 701 Whaley Street on May 24, 2012.  The reception will begin at 6 pm, with a seated dinner and award ceremony at 7 pm.  The Foundation will also acknowledge recent projects that have maintained or added to the historical, architectural and cultural heritage embodied within significant buildings, neighborhoods and landscapes throughout Columbia and Richland County.

Those interested in joining the Foundation for this event may purchase tickets online at http://preservationawards.eventbrite.com.  Proceeds benefit local preservation and education efforts.  Award sponsors include Garvin Design Group and Hood Construction.

About this year’s event, Robin Waites, Executive Director for Historic Columbia Foundation says, “Join us in recognizing the work of those who are preserving our past for the future.”

About this year’s award recipients, John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources says, “This year’s win­ners join the ranks of past recipients, which combined, ensure that contemporary and future residents and visitors can benefit from and enjoy these unique sites representing over four centuries of our shared past. Future preservation awards doubtlessly will enhance these gains and be as visionary in their spirit.”

Local Projects to be Recognized as 2012 Preservation Award Recipients Include:

Columbia Innovation Center, 2012 Adaptive Use Recipient

  • Columbia Innovation Center (Adaptive Use)
    1000 Catawba Street
    Owner: South Carolina Research Authority
    Architect: Garvin Design Group
    Contractor: Mashburn Construction

823 Gervais Street, 2012 Adaptive Use Recipient

  • 823 Gervais Street (Adaptive Use)
    Owner, Designer, Contractor: Miller-Valentine Group
    Architect: HMA Associates
  • 1921 Henderson Street (Adaptive Use)
    Owner: John and Victoria Dozier

Mast General Store, 2012 Preservation Recipient

  • Mast General Store (Preservation)
    1601 Main Street
    Owner: Mast General Store
    Architect: Garvin Design Group
    Contractor: Mashburn Construction
  • Lorick House (Preservation)
    1727 Hampton Street
    Owner: Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP
    Contractor: Celtic Works
  • Little Red Schoolhouse(Preservation)

    Little Red Schoolhouse, 2012 Preservation Recipient

    Owner: Richland School District Two
    Architect: AAG Associates
    Contractor: Carolina Preservation Associates

Past recipients to be recognized include: Inn at USC, Abacus Planning Group, 701 Whaley, the Palmetto Building, Woodlands, the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, Vista Lofts, the DuPre Building, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, McDuffies Antiques, Pinegrove Rosenwald School, Logan School, South Carolina State Museum, California Dreaming and Capital Places V.

Members of the media are encouraged to contact Robin Waites, Executive Director of Historic Columbia Foundation at rwaites@historiccolumbia.org or 803.252.7742 ext. 14.

High resolution photos of this year’s preservation awards recipients are available for immediate download on the Foundation’s Flickr account.  Click on the Preservation Awards image set, then click on the desired image thumbnail to enlarge.  Right-click the enlarged image and follow the instructions to download the full-size image.

About Historic Columbia Foundation: In November 1961, a small group of individuals intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition, officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation. Over the next five decades the organization, which was founded on the premise of preservation and education, would take on the stewardship of seven historic properties in Richland County. Today, the organization serves as a model for local preservation efforts and interpretation of local history. The 50th Anniversary year of Historic Columbia Foundation (which officially began on November 13, 2011) will include a variety of community celebratory events. Visit http://www.historiccolumbia.org for details.

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/histcolumbia

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/historiccolumbia

Web: http://www.historiccolumbia.org

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/discoverhistory

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