From Columbia’s Front Porches

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By Lois Carlisle

In 2009, Historic Columbia began an initiative called Connecting Communities through History, which aimed to do exactly what it says—to bring people together by sharing the stories from their own back yards. In the South, you’ll often find folks on their front porches. Some may say hello, some may throw up a hand in greeting, others stop you to talk. This is true of each of Columbia’s neighborhoods. Here are a few friendly faces you might meet on your next Sunday stroll—
John and Victoria Dozier live in the 1900 block of Henderson Street in the Robert Mills Historic District. The Mills district boasts some of the oldest and most elegantly-designed homes in the city. The Doziers’ house is no exception. Their home, built in 1890, has been in the same family for six generations. The 1900 block was one of the first blocks in Columbia where prominent African American families lived. The Doziers recently received commendation at HC’s Annual Preservation Awards for restorations recently completed on their house. “It was definitely the experience of a lifetime,” said John. “Our hope is that our children will pass it to their children.”
Erika Ryan lives in Cottontown, which lies between Elmwood, North Main, and Bull Street. Last summer, she moved into a house on Marion St. She’s glad to have relocated to the neighborhood when she did. “Since I moved in last June, the businesses on Franklin have really taken off,” she told me. The War Mouth, a barbeque restaurant and bar, and Indah Coffee have generated an increase in foot traffic since their opening. “And we’re supposed to be getting a brewery down the street, too,” Ryan said. “I really love living within walking distance of places that are becoming local main-stays.”
Jessa Ross lives off Oak Street in Lower Waverly. She likes the village feel of the neighborhood—newer housing complexes make her feel alienated and distant from the people she lives next to. “I love the houses in Lower Waverly and that all of our neighbors talk to one another,” she said. “We watch out for one another. The other day, our across-the-street neighbor told a guy to get out of our yard, but it ended up being a man our landlord hired to do yardwork. It’s eyes on the street, you know. It’s what makes this a great community.”
If you’d like to get out and greet these porch-goers yourself, Historic Columbia has you covered. We offer self-guided walking tours, group tours once each month, digital web-based neighborhood tours, and a host of other ways to get out an interact in the Columbia community. For more information, please visit our website at historiccolumbia.org/take-a-tour.

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HC’s director of cultural resources, John Sherrer gives a tour through the Historic Waverly neighborhood.

 

 

This piece was originally published in The Columbia Star on May 12, 2017.

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A Critical Time for our Nation’s Museums

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Fielding Freed, HC director of house museums

“I love museums!” The comment was enthusiastic and genuine. It came from one of South Carolina’s Congressmen last month during Museum Advocacy Day organized by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). A record attendance of more than 350 people from all 50 states who spent the day canvassing Capitol Hill underscored the concern over proposed cuts in federal funding for museums. Many of us do, as a matter of fact, love museums:

  • Museums are popular. There are approximately 850 million visits each year to American museums, more than number of people who visit theme parks AND attend major league sporting events. Just one local example, in 2016 the South Carolina State Museum had over 160,000 visitors and a school visitation of 68,000.
  • Museums impact our economy. Nationally, museums sustain more than 400,000 jobs and directly contribute $21 billion to the economy each year. Here in South Carolina, where tourism is our number one industry, museums play a vital role in both entertaining our visitors (where do summertime tourists go on a rainy day?) but also educating them about the role our state has played in American history.
  • Museums serve the public. Just one example includes the twenty-five museums in our state that participate in the NEA’s Blue Star Museums initiative giving free summer admission to all active-duty and reserve personnel and their families (serving over 923,000 people nationwide).

The South Carolina delegation visiting Capitol Hill included students from USC’s Honors College and museum folks from Richland, Horry, Charleston, and Oconee counties. We spent the day meeting with our representatives to request that they maintain funding for the Office of Museum Services (OMS). The OMS, which is part of the larger Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), awards grants that help to educate students, digitize collections, and engage communities.

Here are some interesting numbers that help to explain why we felt strongly enough to travel to D.C. to represent our state’s museums in person:

  • From 2014 to 2016, 3 South Carolina museums received IMLS grants totaling $139,000.
  • During those same years, 3 NEH and NEA grants totaling $553,000 went to five museums.
  • The Humanities Council of South Carolina received $2.1 million and the South Carolina Arts Commission $2.3 million. Those funds, in turn, flowed outward and supported a wide variety of museum programs and projects.

The proposed federal budget recently submitted by the White House will directly and negatively affect the historic and cultural organizations of South Carolina. Of particular concern is the proposal to eliminate entirely the NEA and NEH.  Now is the time, if you love museums, to act. We have helped start the conversation, but now it’s up to those who value what South Carolina’s museums contribute to our quality of life to voice their support before it’s too late.

With Senator Graham

Caption: Fielding Freed with other SC delegates visiting Senator Lindsey Graham on Capitol Hill last month.

Originally published in The Columbia Star

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Absolute Slaves: Race, Law and Society in Antebellum South Carolina

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By Rochelle Outlaw, J.D., Ph.D. Candidate, USC

Today, South Carolina remains one of the most diverse states in the union. According to the 2015 census, nearly 37 percent of South Carolina’s residents identified as a racial minority. Approximately, 28 percent of the state’s population is African American. The state’s racial diversity is grounded in the history of the founding of the colony.

 
Closely linked to the island of Barbados, South Carolina was the only colony where blacks outnumbered whites at the turn of the eighteenth century. The arrival of African slaves and free people of color from Barbados and a limited number of white women in the colony all contributed to a society that was accepting of racial diversity and interracial relationships. Unlike other southern states including North Carolina and Virginia, South Carolina never adopted a one-drop rule and did not have an anti-miscegenation clause in its constitution until 1865.

 
Indeed, South Carolina society had changed by the beginning of the nineteenth century. Racial slavery was embedded in its society and whites viewed slavery as their key to prosperity. What did not change about the state, however, was that as such, South Carolina offers a unique opportunity to study race, law and society during the antebellum period.

 
To learn about the common-law definition of race and how it related to social and political thought on race in antebellum South Carolina, attend Historic Columbia’s Lunch and Learn series from noon – 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21. This session will be led by guest presenter, Rochelle Outlaw, J.D., Ph.D. Candidate at the University of South Carolina and will be held at the Mann-Simons Site located at 1403 Richland Street. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit historiccolumbia.org/BlackHistory, email reservations@historiccolumbia.org or call 803-252-1770 x 23.

 

This article was originally published in the Columbia Star.

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Preservation in a New Era

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by Sean Stucker, Director of Facilities

2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the Historic Preservation Act of 1966. This act of federal legislation helped to codify and to standardize historic preservation in the United States, and it laid the groundwork for additional legislation that was passed 15 years later: the federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HRTC). Passed in 1981, it provides an incentive to real estate developers to adaptively reuse certain existing historic structures. According to data from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the HRTC has leveraged more than $117 billion in private investment, has created nearly 2.3 million jobs, and has helped to rehabilitate more than 41,250 historic buildings. In South Carolina, between 2001 and 2014, the HTC created 5,359 jobs, leveraged $316 million in investment and rehabilitated 86 different programs.

Despite its consistent record of delivering reinvestment to America’s cities, the HTC is not immune to the uncertainty accompanying changes in the political landscape. One example of political change comes in the form of various proposals involving tax reform legislation. Some proposals recommend elimination of a variety of tax credits and deductions, including the HRTC, the New Market Tax Credit, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. The last two are often used in conjunction with the HRTC to carry out projects in underserved communities and to provide affordable housing.

Most people agree that the current tax code is far too complicated and some level of reform is needed. However, the idea of eliminating an incentive that has year-over-year returned more revenue to the U.S. Department of the Treasury than the value of the credits proffered and that has, in the process, become a driver of downtown revitalization across the country, is shortsighted. The Treasury receives $1.25 in tax revenue for every dollar invested. Since its inception, the HTC has generated $28.1 billion in federal tax revenue for $23.1 billion in federal tax credits. This is an example of the federal government providing a small incentive to spark a very large private sector investment that yields economic activity sufficient to repay the federal investment, and then some.

Moreover, this credit is utilized by homeowners and commercial developers alike and the credits generated are often bundled and syndicated for use by major corporations, including banks and insurance companies. This speaks to the fact that it is a bipartisan benefit and positively impacts entire communities through the investment that it spurs. Restoring historic cores enhances property values and tax bases, creates local jobs and forms the “sense of place” that has become such an important factor in deciding where we live, work and play.

Columbia has grown and thrived in recent years. This growth is due to the focus on a return to our historic commercial cores, including the revitalization seen in the Vista, Main Street, Granby and Olympia Mills and in Five Points, to name a few.

Behind the scenes, the HTC has been working to effect positive changes in historic communities across the nation. Indeed, the recently-opened Trump International Hotel in the Old Post Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC is a beneficiary of HTCs. Nonetheless, indications are that retaining the HTC will require vigilance and teamwork from the preservation community.

Economic opportunity and prosperity benefit both sides of the political spectrum, and the HTC has decades of positive economic data behind it. Now more than ever, we are fortunate to have organizations like the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the many local and statewide preservation organizations that constantly work to communicate the importance of the HTC and of other statewide and local preservation incentives.

We encourage you to reach out to your elected officials and ask them to support keeping these important preservation tax credits. Our city’s future development and growth strongly depends on these tax incentives. To learn more about Historic Columbia’s preservation efforts and for more reasons why #PreservationMatters, visit us at historiccolumbia.org.

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Caption: The future of the federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC), an incentive that was used in many of the renovations along Columbia’s historic Main Street corridor, is uncertain in changing political landscapes.

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Acclaimed Author Dick Lehr in Columbia

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Dick Lehr at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home

September 25

5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

HC Members Only

Free

On September 25, Historic Columbia is pleased to host a members’ only reception for Dick Lehr at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home.  Lehr’s book, The Birth of a Nation:  How a Legendary Filmmaker and Crusading Editor Reignited America’s Civil War, is an outstanding counter-history of the reaction and impact of one of early cinema’s most famous films.

Attendees will be invited to tour the Wilson Home to better understand the connection between the 28th president and the incendiary film.  The author will sign books, which will be available for purchase on site. Please contact reservations@historiccolumbia.org to confirm your attendance.

In addition to the September 25 event, Historic Columbia and the History Center at USC are co-sponsoring a public talk on the book, with film clips from The Birth of a Nation, at the Nickelodeon Theater on September 26 at 7 p.m. This is a free event, but there is limited seating and reservations are required.

Woodrow Wilson and the Birth of a Nation

As a college professor, Woodrow Wilson wrote, “Reconstruction is still a revolutionary matter…..those who delve into it find it like a banked fire.” Reconstruction in South Carolina ended with the election of Wade Hampton as governor in 1876, just two years after Wilson, then known as Tommy, left his family home here in Columbia. Wilson still felt the heat of that “banked fire” in the White House, almost 40 years later. The first sitting president to view films in the White House, in 1915 Wilson viewed The Birth of a Nation, an epic silent film based on a book written by one of his college acquaintances. The Birth of a Nation, set in South Carolina with some scenes in Wilson’s former hometown of Columbia, offered a racist interpretation of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

While watching The Birth of a Nation, would Wilson have recalled his years in Columbia?  What he thought of the film he did not say, leaving historians to interpret the event in a variety of ways. However, by his viewing it the movie’s producers capitalized on the White House connection, claiming the president endorsed it.

Today, the  Woodrow Wilson Family Home, operated by Historic Columbia, is a physical connection to Reconstruction and a window into how this era has been represented historically and how it is remembered to today.  It also allows 21st century visitors to ask important questions about how Reconstruction shaped a boy who would be president. Visit historiccolumbia.org for information on taking a house tour of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home.

More on Mr. Lehr’s book The Birth of a Nation:  How a Legendary Filmmaker and Crusading Editor Reignited America’s Civil War

In 1915, two men-one a journalist agitator, the other a technically brilliant filmmaker-incited a public confrontation that roiled America, pitting black against white, Hollywood against Boston, and free speech against civil rights. William Monroe Trotter and D. W. Griffith were fighting over a film that dramatized the Civil War and Reconstruction in a post-Confederate South. Almost fifty years earlier, Monroe’s father, James, was a sergeant in an all-black Union regiment that marched into Charleston, South Carolina, just as the Kentucky cavalry-including “Roaring Jake” Griffith, D. W.’s father-fled for their lives. Griffith’s film, The Birth of a Nation, included actors in blackface, heroic portraits of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and a depiction of Lincoln’s assassination. Freed slaves were portrayed as villainous, vengeful, slovenly, and dangerous to the sanctity of American values. It was tremendously successful, eventually seen by 25 million Americans. But violent protests against the film flared up across the country.

Monroe Trotter’s titanic crusade to have the film censored became a blueprint for dissent during the 1950s and 1960s. This is the fiery story of a revolutionary moment for mass media and the nascent civil rights movement, and the men clashing over the cultural and political soul of a still-young America standing at the cusp of its greatest days.

“D. W. Griffiths’ 1915 film, The Birth of a Nation, may have been billed as the ‘Most Wonderful Motion Picture Ever,’ but to African Americans of the Jim Crow era, it was a grotesque reminder of how invisible their true lives-their history and their dreams-were across the color line. Speaking out against the white-hooded nostalgia the film inflamed, William Monroe Trotter, Harvard’s first black Phi Beta Kappa graduate and a leading newspaper editor, revived a protest tradition that would set the stage for the civil rights movement to follow. Distinguished journalist Dick Lehr’s account of this racial debate is not only enthralling to read; it reminds us of the singular importance of ‘the birth of’ Monroe Trotter.”

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University

CLICK HERE to become a member of Historic Columbia and enjoy the opportunity to attend events like these in the future!

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2015 Preservation Awards Honor Local Projects for Design and Preservation Accomplishments

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To celebrate the accomplishments of local architectural, construction and rehabilitation projects, Historic Columbia held its annual Preservation Awards Luncheon today, May 8, at Agapé Senior, presented by Mashburn Construction. Local preservation activist and developer Rosemarie McFarlane Craig was surprised with the Preservation Leadership Award, given to someone who contributes to the advancement of historic preservation in the region.

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Rosemarie McFarlane Craig

Preservation Leadership Award: Rosemarie McFarlane Craig

A founding member of the Congaree Vista Guild, Rosie was an active participant in the revitalization of Columbia’s historic warehouse district with the purchase and rehabilitation of the DuPre Building. The successful restoration and adaptive reuse of the building led to Historic Columbia awarding the DuPre building an Adaptive Reuse Preservation Award in 2002.

Continuing her preservation advocacy, since 2012 Rosie has been instrumental in advocating for the preservation of the Palmetto Compress Warehouse. Built in 1917 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, the Palmetto Compress Warehouse is one of Columbia’s last surviving remnants of the city’s cotton industry.

“As a forward and preservation-minded thinker, Rosie was the first person to publicly offer to purchase the warehouse and propose an adaptive reuse project converting the warehouse into a mixed-use space,” said preservation activist and developer Richard Burts, winner of the 2013 Preservation Leadership Award. “With strong leadership and dedication to preserving Columbia’s history, Rosie has been instrumental in the preservation of Columbia’s built environment.”

2015 Preservation Award Winners:

For decades Historic Columbia has recognized local projects that have maintained or added to the historical, architectural and cultural heritage throughout Columbia and Richland County by presenting recent preservation projects with awards in Preservation Leadership, Preservation/Restoration, Adaptive Use and New Construction in a Historic Context.

“Preservation is the pillar upon which Historic Columbia was founded,” said Robin Waites, executive director of Historic Columbia. “The projects we honor this year reveal a real interest in sustainability, creative design and sensitivity to the small and large features that make our community unique.”

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Former Adluh Flour Warehouse

Adaptive Use Award: Former Adluh Flour Warehouse
802/804 Gervais Street
Owner: Allen Brothers Milling Company, Inc.
Architect: Studio 2LR, Inc.
Contractor: Hood Construction Company

A two-story brick building constructed ca. 1910, Allen Brothers Milling Co. purchased the mill and surrounding buildings in 1926. While the mill remains in use, 802/804 Gervais has been vacant for many years, and the Allen family decided to revitalize this unused space. The recent renovations have rehabilitated the vacant building, which now features a restaurant and is available for future retail and office tenants. The adaptive use of the historic building required removal of previous brick infill of several doors and windows, as well as installing two new stairs and an elevator to access the second-story. A new patio and canopy were constructed to serve the first floor restaurant tenant. On the interior, the wood roof trusses, floor joists and wood flooring serve as reminders of the original aesthetics of the building.

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Agapé Complex

Adaptive Use Award: Agapé Complex
1614, 1620 and 1626 Main Street
Owner: Agapé Senior
Architect: Lambert Architecture + Construction Services
Contractor: Mashburn Construction

Originally, 1614 and 1620 Main Street housed the W.T. Grant and Schulte-United companies, two “five-cent to one-dollar” chain stores that sold general merchandise during the 1920s through the 1950s. The 1626 Main Street building operated as the Lutheran Publishing House, established by African American R.J. Palmer in 1907, and became Haverty’s Furniture store in the 1940s. Mashburn Construction and Lambert Architecture + Construction Services collaborated to develop a creative approach to adapting these three adjacent, vacant historic buildings. The two 1920s companies re-built and restored the historic facades of the three buildings, which included Art Deco details, marble panels, decorative stonework and historic windows that had been bricked over. One eye-catching detail incorporated by the construction team is the neon sign recalling Haverty’s original storefront sign. The rehabilitated Main Street buildings provide a vibrant mixed-use array of services, including restaurants, fitness center, pharmacy, landscaped courtyard, office space and a conference center.

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DuPre Building

Adaptive Use Award: DuPre Building
807 Gervais Street
Owner: NAI Avant
Architect: Studio 2LR, Inc.
Interior Designer: Nan Sammataro
Contractor: Weathers Contracting

Designed by architect James B. Urquhart, this circa-1919 building was originally designed as a showroom for the DuPre Auto Company, which served as a Ford dealership and part of Columbia’s “Automobile Row.” As one of the catalysts to the successful redevelopment of the Congaree Vista, the DuPre building was rehabilitated in 1998 by local preservationists Rosie and Michael Craig. NAI Avant purchased the DuPre building in 2013 with the desire to convert the building into their corporate headquarters. Restoring the original wood floors and heart pine beams was a priority in the rehabilitation and required the removal of carpeting and paint. Workers also reconstructed an original steel sash window to help increase the space’s natural light. The result is an excellent adaptive use with a great attention to restoring the historic elements of the building.

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Wavering Place Plantation
Kitchen House

Adaptive Use Award: Wavering Place Plantation Kitchen House
427 Adams Hayne Road, Eastover
Owner: Weston and Lisa Adams & Robert and Shana Adams
Contractor: Lee McCaskill

Owned by the Adams family since 1768, Wavering Place Plantation was acquired by Weston Adams III and Robert Adams VI in 2013 from their uncle, Dr. Julian C. Adams. In the effort to preserve the property, the current owners have opened the site as an event venue and rehabilitated the circa-1790 kitchen house into a bed and breakfast. The owners also have plans to adaptively use the four other outbuildings on the property. Most of the rehabilitation work utilized local and historical materials to preserve the historic character of the kitchen house. Added details were constructed of reclaimed wood from the property, while a door was reused from a plantation in Boykin, SC. The interior retains the exposed timbers and the early-twentieth-century concrete flooring in contrast to the modern utilities incorporated for building’s use as a bed and breakfast.

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South Carolina State Museum

New Construction in an Historic Context Award: South Carolina State Museum
301 Gervais Street
Owner: South Carolina State Muesum
Architect: Clark Patterson Lee and Watson Tate Savory
Contractor: Gilbane Construction

The South Carolina State Museum operates out of the Columbia Mills Building, a leading cotton manufacturer from 1894 to 1981 and the first fully electric-powered mill in the United States. When the State Museum decided in 2012 to incorporate a new planetarium, observatory, 4-D theater and telescope gallery, its staff prioritized the retention of the historic and architectural integrity of its building. The State Museum brought in a team of professional designers, architects and contractors to accomplish an historically-sensitive renovation. The contractors and architects worked closely with exhibit designers Jack Rouse Associates to develop a thematic design reflective of the historic characteristics of the mill. Contractors also removed carpeting and drywall to expose original brick walls, arches, windows and original hardwood floors. A 36,000-pound steel tripod supports the observatory and recalls the building’s industrial history. New construction includes the glass dome planetarium and an observatory dome installed on the roof of the museum, making its mark on the Columbia skyline.

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110 Wayne Street

Preservation/Restoration Award: 110 Wayne Street
Owner: Skip Sawin and Jessica Sage
Contractor: Paul Haynes, Haynes Construction

Purchased in the fall of 2013 by Skip Sawin and Jessica Sage, 110 Wayne Street was found untouched from the previous 50-plus years. From period lighting running on knob and tube electrical wire to original working radiators, much of the building’s historic fabric remained in place. Working with Haynes Construction, Sawin and Sage began necessary maintenance and restoration of the historic house in the Olympia Mills district, addressing the leaking roof and failing paint to prevent further water damage to the building’s structure. Workers installed modern electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC system. Many of the original double-hung-sash windows were painstakingly reworked, and the heart pine floors were refinished. The result of the hard work is an excellent preservation/restoration project that highlights the home’s original historic fabric.

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Eastminster Presbyterian Church

Preservation/Restoration Award: Eastminster Presbyterian Church
3200 Trenholm Road
Owner: Eastminster Presbyterian Church
Architect: Quackenbush Architects + Planners
Contractor: Mashburn Construction

Quackenbush Architects and Mashburn Construction worked together to restore this circa-1956 era, Colonial Revival-style historic church with updated mechanical and electric systems, new floor tile and ceiling plaster, refinished pews and restored stained glass windows. Quackenbush and Mashburn sensitively reconstructed the historic vaulted ceiling over the church nave, exactly replicating its original appearance. A new porte-cochere and covered walkway consisting of brick archways and classical columns provides an elegant and seamless entrance into the renovated narthex and parlor. Reconfigured interior seating, upgraded restrooms, renovated basement space and the addition of elevators all serve to improve the functionality and accessibility of the building. The church’s vivid stained glass windows and handsome wooden pews were restored and reinstalled, keeping the distinctive ecclesiastical aesthetic. The restored building now presents a gleaming, modernized, but traditionally-styled and historically intact church sanctuary.

Historic Columbia’s 2015 Preservation Awards were presented by Mashburn Construction and sponsored by Lambert Architecture + Construction Services, GlobalX, Studio 2LR Architecture + Interiors, Garvin Design Group, 1×1 Design, Architrave, Hood Construction, Quackenbush Architects + Planners, and Columbia Development Corporation. To see a list of previous Preservation Award Winners, visit historiccolumbia.org.

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Columbia Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Burning of Columbia

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The burning of Columbia, SC was a major event in American history and a defining moment in the history of the state and city. Columbia, the site of the original Secession Convention and capital of the first seceding state, was seen by the Union army as a target to encourage the surrender of the remaining Confederate forces.

Columbia surrendered to the Union Army under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman on February 17, 1865, and while the soldiers’ arrival signaled the imminent emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the city, the city suffered widespread destruction. The legacy of this physical loss is a pillar of the city’s common folklore and memories of the war, and it remains hotly-debated today.

Historic Columbia is proud to be a part of Columbia Commemorates, a multi-disciplinary coalition comprised of Midlands and statewide organizations formed to plan and implement a city-wide commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the burning of Columbia. Through lectures; tours; film; visual, literary and performing arts; exhibits; public discussion; and large public gatherings, Columbia Commemorates will explore the events of February 17, 1865, as well as the immediate and long-term ramifications of the burning of South Carolina’s capital city.

You can see the full list of events, programs and exhibits at BurningofColumbia.com. Historic Columbia will present two Civil War Bus Tours and several lectures, as well as an exhibit of images of the post-burning destruction called Impressions of Chimneyville, on display at the Gallery at City Hall from Jan. 9 through March 31.

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Historic Columbia Honors Local Preservation Accomplishments at Awards Luncheon

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To celebrate the accomplishments of local architectural, construction and rehabilitation projects, Historic Columbia Foundation held its annual Preservation Awards Luncheon on today at 701 Whaley.

For decades Historic Columbia has recognized local projects that have maintained or added to the historical, architectural and cultural heritage throughout Columbia and Richland County by presenting recent preservation projects with awards in Preservation Leadership, Preservation/Restoration, Adaptive Use and New Construction in a Historic Context.

“Preservation is the pillar upon which Historic Columbia was founded,” said Robin Waites, executive director of Historic Columbia. “The projects we honor this year reveal a real interest in sustainability, creative design and sensitivity to the small and large features that make our community unique.”

2014 Award Winners:

Preservation Leadership Award: First Citizens

HC Executive Director Robin Waites and James Bennett, First Citizens' executive vice president and director of public affairs.

HC Executive Director Robin Waites and James Bennett, First Citizens’ executive vice president and director of public affairs.

Since moving into its new corporate headquarters at the corner of Main and Lady streets in 2006, First Citizens has had a major impact on the development of this signature Main Street block. The visually dynamic, post-modern headquarters is bracketed by the Brennen Building to the south and Creason Building to the east. First Citizens’ commitment to the city center is evident in each of these projects, but none is more significant to the preservation community that the rehabilitation of the Brennen Building at 1210-1220 Main Street. Once on the brink of demolition, this building was afforded a creative team from the bank, led by Peter Bristow, Brett Frantz and John Freeman, who realized the importance of the place and pored over its historic details as well as future opportunities. Through their leadership, this building now serves as an example for others embarking on the restoration of historic properties, and the collection of their properties on the block set the highest standard for both new construction and adaptive use in the city center.

“In 2005, the fate of one of the oldest buildings on Main Street was uncertain. This August, First Citizens cut the ribbon on what can be viewed as the poster child for adaptive use in Columbia,” said Waites. “The Brennen Building’s use marks a continuation of hospitality and service that generations of Columbians know and love about this building, and thanks to First Citizens, that legacy is preserved for generations to come.”

 

Brennen Building

Preservation/Restoration Award: Brennen Building
1210-1220 Main Street, Columbia, SC
Owner: First Citizen’s Bank
Architect: Studio 2LR
Contractor: Hood Construction and W.H. Bass

First Citizens Bank’s sensitive treatment of this landmark structure preserved the building’s most significant architectural features, while retaining the building’s historic use as a downtown gathering place. Most often remembered for the Capitol Restaurant, which operated here from 1911 to 2002, the building was in a severe state of disrepair when First Citizens acquired it. Studio 2LR designers worked closely with local and state historic preservation staff to preserve and restore as much of the building as possible. Hood Construction and W.H. Bass worked from 2011 until 2013 to restore the original cast iron window heads, columns and balcony details on the façade. Upstairs, the historic windows, exterior siding, fireplaces, heart-pine flooring, beams, trusses and millwork were all preserved and are now interior spaces. A landscaped courtyard completes the project serving First Citizens Café.

 

Council Chambers at City Hall

Preservation/Restoration Award: Council Chambers at City Hall
1737 Main Street, Columbia, SC
Owner: City of Columbia
Architect: Studio 2LR | Architecture + Interiors
Contractor: Dillon Construction

The restoration of the third floor council chambers in City Hall began as a small project intended to repair historic plaster and paint. As City of Columbia staff removed ceiling tiles, they uncovered a long-hidden skylight, prompting City Council to increase the project’s scope. The final restoration came to also include new lighting, a new audio/visual system and the complete restoration of the historic skylight. Previous renovations to council chambers had severely damaged the original plaster ceiling and parts of the walls; the specialists in historic plaster restoration at Dillon Construction addressed structural concerns, restored damaged plaster and replicated missing decorative elements to bring the room back to its original appearance. The project was completed with a historically-sensitive color palette and subtly selected modern bench and carpet fabrics.

 

Booker T. Washington Auditorium

Preservation/Restoration and New Construction in an Historic Context Award: Booker T. Washington Auditorium
1400 Wheat Street, Columbia, SC
Owner: University of South Carolina
Architect/Designer: The Boudreaux Group
Contractor: Penn Contracting, LLC

Penn Contracting and the Boudreaux Group worked with the University of South Carolina, the Booker T. Washington Foundation, Dr. Bobby Donaldson and Ashley Bouknight to restore and revitalize the only remaining building of the historic African American Booker T. Washington High School. On the exterior, workers stripped layers of paint, exposing the classic red brick of the original 1956 construction. An addition to the building recalls the same red brick and features historic details that reference the structures that are no longer extant. Visitors now enter the building through the prominent new entryway into a gallery showcasing memorabilia and history of the former high school. The second story includes classrooms, and the auditorium has been updated with air conditioning, new lighting and seating, improved acoustics and handicapped accessibility. The process of restoring and adding to the auditorium has served as a source of community healing and historic celebration, and the completed structure serves its historic purposes as an academic lecture hall and community venue.

 

Seegers-Habenicht Building

Adaptive Use Award: Seegers-Habenicht Building
1631 Main Street, Columbia, SC
Owner: Martha Fowler
Architect: Charlie Baker, Architectural Concepts, Inc.
Contractor: Don Blackstone Construction, LLC

Built shortly after the fire of 1865, the building that now houses Mad Monkey is one of the oldest structures on Main Street. Owner Martha Fowler was committed to the sensitive rehabilitation of this landmark building, which has been in her family since its construction. replicate a façade with a recessed entryway like the one the building had during the 1930s. The building’s envelope required immediate attention, and both the façade and the rear elevation needed new windows. The second phase of the adaptation involved updating the interior of the structure, while preserving as much exposed masonry and woodwork as possible. Modern light fixtures and audiovisual equipment line original bricks, but the building’s trademark is the restored barrel sign out front, reminding passersby of its heyday as a brewery.

 

The Reeder House

Adaptive Use Award: Reeder House
1328 Gadsden Street, Columbia, SC
Owner: Zion Baptist Church
Contractor: Richard Watts

A local landmark, the Reeder House is a Columbia Cottage-style former residence believed to have been built during the 1860s. When Zion Baptist Church acquired this property in the Vista, the structure was in desperate need of repair. The first phase of the project involved a comprehensive stabilization of its exterior. Considerable effort was made to stabilize the building’s masonry piers, and the original wood siding was salvaged where possible and replaced as necessary. The façade was returned to its original window configuration. Columns, railings and steps were restored and the entire exterior was painted. The interior was adapted as three offices, a conference room, two bathrooms and a work area. Original hardwood floors in the foyer and the conference room were salvaged and restored. The result is an excellent adaptive use with a great attention to restoring the historic character of the exterior of the structure.

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HCF Receives 2013 Preservation Service Award from Gov. Haley!

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Governor Nikki Haley presented Historic Columbia Foundation with the 2013 Preservation Service Award during the 2013 Historic Preservation Awards Ceremony at the South Carolina Statehouse on Tuesday, June 11. These awards, sponsored by the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, the S.C. Department of Archives & History and the Office of the Governor, recognize exceptional accomplishments in the preservation, rehabilitation and interpretation of South Carolina’s architectural and cultural heritage.

“We are honored to be recognized with the Preservation Service Award,” said HCF Executive Director Robin Waites. “This program was developed to honor the legacy of Modjeska Simkins, and we are excited about the possibilities that it holds for the future.”

HCF SC Pres AwardHistoric Columbia received the Preservation Service Award for the Modjeska Simkins Scholar-in-Residence Program, which piloted in May 2012. The circa-1895 Modjeska Simkins House dependency cottage was rehabilitated as a live-work space for Historic Columbia’s Modjeska Simkins Scholar-in-Residence program, financed in part by a Save America’s Treasures grant.

The building received structural upgrades, new electric, HVAC, plumbing, and security systems, plaster repairs, in-kind interior decoration replacements, interior paint analysis, and a reconstructed porch based on archival photographs.

“Working closely with architects at the Boudreaux Group and Willm Construction, we successfully adapted an historically important building to a vital, contemporary use,” adds John Sherrer, director of cultural resources at Historic Columbia Foundation.

Caitlyn Verboon, a doctoral student from Yale University, was the first scholar-in-residence and lived and worked in the cottage for four months while she researched Columbia and Richland County during Reconstruction. This program, which fulfills Historic Columbia’s educational mission, restored the building to its original live-work use and will continue to produce not only invaluable research materials, but also increased heritage tourism and educational and interpretive products.

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Date For 35th Anniversary Jubilee: Festival of Heritage is Set! HCF Seeks Vendors

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It’s one of the region’s most-anticipated festivals each year, celebrating the rich cultural heritage and entrepreneurial spirit of the Mann-Simons family. Historic Columbia Foundation’s 35th annual Jubilee: Festival of Heritage will be held on August 24, 2013 at the Mann-Simons Site in Columbia, SC. The festival is free and open to the public, running from 11 am – 5 pm.

Jubilee 2012HCF is seeking food, marketplace and non-profit vendors to participate in this year’s Jubilee: Festival of Heritage. Associations, churches, civic/service groups, health/medical organizations, charities and other businesses are all invited to participate. The cost to participate is $25 for non-profit vendors, $50 for marketplace vendors and $100 for food vendors. Spaces are limited and reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. One table and two chairs are provided at no charge. Additional items (such as electricity, extra tables and extra space) are available for an additional charge ($15-$25). Those interested in being a part of this year’s Festival are encouraged to download the vendor form on the Foundation’s website here. The deadline for registration is August 9.

2013 Festival activities include: 

?         Hands-on demonstrations from some of the region’s most skilled artists and craftsmen, 

?         Live musical entertainment including R&B, jazz, blues and gospel, 

?         Vendors with African-influenced and traditional merchandise,

?         Crafts and activities for children,

?         Tours of the Mann-Simons Site (adults $1/children free)

?         Bus tours of African-American heritage sites (adults $2/children free), the Modjeska Simkins property, and

?         Many other events throughout the day.

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