Popular Elmwood Cemetery Tours Return

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In honor of one of Historic Columbia’s most popular tours returning next week, here are some highlights of just a few of the countless interesting stories hidden in the historic Elmwood Cemetery. James Henley Thornwell was a professor at South Carolina College who joined the faculty in 1837 and replaced William Campbell Preston as the institution’s president.  Thornwell’s term is best remembered for the “Great Biscuit Rebellion of 1852” in which students and faculty clashed over compulsory dining rules and the almost 40% of the student body quit school in protest.  In November 1854, Thornwell resigned his presidency to accept a chair position at the Columbia Theological Seminary, today’s Robert Mills House. Just two years after Thornwell’s move to the Seminary, this distinguished teacher and administrator experienced a personal tragedy as his son, Jackson Witherspoon, died at just 8 years old.  His plot marked with a motif of a lamb bears the inscription, “The lamb is a fit emblem of this dear child who delighted to call himself his mother’s lamb.”

Reverend John L. Girardeau was born on October 6th, 1845 and died on April 5th, 1911.

He was a professor at the Columbia Theological Seminary and served as a chaplain in the 23rd South Carolina Infantry during the Civil War.  The 23rd SC Infantry fought in the Battle of 2nd Manassas where they suffered 68% losses.  The regiment also incurred heavy losses at the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) and at Petersburg, Virginia at the Battle of the Crater.  His marker bears the distinct motif of a Bible on a pulpit.  His marker is inscribed, “After patiently enduring he obtained the promise, Hebrews 6.15.” Reverend Girardeau had two grandsons who served in World War I, Hearne Girardeau Jr. in the American Ambulance Service attached to the Italian Army, and Charles J. Girardeau, his younger brother, who saw action at the Battle of Champagne and around the Verdun front.  Both brothers died in their thirties and were buried next to their grandfather in Elmwood Cemetery. Today, many male and female veterans are buried in Elmwood Cemetery. The cemetery has set aside a portion of land for a veteran’s section to allow family members a National Cemetery-like atmosphere somewhere closer than Florence or Beaufort.

Find out more about these and other fascinating Columbians at Historic Columbia’s popular Cemetery Tours which return on Thursday, April 13 starting at 7:30 p.m. at the historic Elmwood Cemetery. Offered on the second Thursday of each month, April through September, Historic Columbia’s Cemetery Tours bring 160 years of history to life. Grab a flashlight and discover centuries of stories etched in stone on the markers and headstones found within Elmwood Cemetery’s acres of carefully planned grounds. To purchase tickets, visit historiccolumbia.org, email reservations@historiccolumbia.org or call (803) 252-1770 x 23.

Originally published in The Columbia Star


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Stroll through the Jewish history of downtown Columbia

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As part of the Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative, Historic Columbia has been conducting research on Jewish owned businesses in downtown Columbia. Below are a few highlights of our recent research.

Barrett Visanska first appears as a jeweler on Richardson (Main) Street in the Columbia City Directory in 1875. He moved his business to 1215 Hampton Street, in the rear portion of the Sylvan’s Building in 1904, where he remained in business until his death in 1932. Like most of Columbia’s Jewish population in the late-19th and early-20th century, Barrett immigrated from Eastern Europe (Poland) and led a prosperous life. His son, Morton, was a founder of Columbia’s Town Theater, and his son, Daniel, and daughter, Bertha, were musicians who played for royalty in Europe.

1905directory_parlorrestaurantPolish immigrant Ben David operated the Parlor Restaurant at 1336 Main Street from 1900 until 1910, when plans for the Arcade Mall forced him to relocate. His advertisements in the Columbia City Directory and USC’s Garnet and Black yearbook often included his likeness. His obituary in The State newspaper remembered him fondly as “Uncle Ben.”

The I. Cassel Cigar Factory, owned and operated by Isidor Cassel (1872 – 1954), was a tenant in the Phoenix Building (1623-1625 Main Street) for more than 40 years. Cassel immigrated from Ritschenwalde, Germany, to the United States in 1884. He joined the United States Marine Corps when he was 15 and served more than three years. He arrived in Columbia in 1892 to work for Henry Bamberg (1857 – 1919), a highly regarded cigar manufacturer and who served as the first treasurer of the Tree of Life Congregation. In 1896, Cassel married Bamberg’s sister-in-law, Estelle “Essie” Epstin Cassel (1877 – 1948). In 1901, Cassel opened his own cigar manufacturing business in the 1400 block of Main Street.

Join Historic Columbia on March 12th for our Sunday Stroll of downtown Jewish sites to learn more about the Visanskas, “Uncle Ben”, the Cassels and other downtown merchants in Columbia. This guided walking tour will highlight Columbia’s Jewish heritage and explore how Jewish merchants have shaped this downtown district. The tour will begin in front of Michael’s on Main Street, travel down to Lady Street where the tour will cross over to Assembly Street, then end at The Big Apple on Hampton Street.

Also be sure to check out HC’s web-based tour of Jewish historical sites in Columbia.


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What it is about chili?

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By: Lauren Dillon, The Palladium Society

What is it about chili that causes temperatures to rise and elicits such passionate responses? Why do Americans from generation to generation have such a steadfast belief in what is the right and true way to make a proper chili? People throughout history have made their mark on the culinary evolution of this simple dish – from Lyndon B. Johnson claiming no one outside of Texas can make it, to Stephan Crane and O’Henry writing about it, to famous frontiersman Kit Carson exclaiming with his last breath “Wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili.”

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Join Historic Columbia’s Palladium Society Saturday February 11th at the Music Farm to continue the tradition of perfecting the ever elusive quintessential chili. While South Carolina might not be seen as the hotbed of chili creations it is known for its ability to think outside the box and come up with some creative concoctions. Local ingredients like the Carolina Reaper (the hottest pepper in the world) and a ‘famously hot’ temperament give Carolina chilis their own unique flair. The competition heats up every year as 20 to 25 local cookers compete for different categories – from best vegetarian to hottest chili there is an array of opportunities to show off that Carolina culinary pride.

While local celebrities will be on hand to judge all categories, the people’s choice award comes down to the voters. When you are done tasting and sampling stay around to listen to the live music provided by both the Kenny George Band and the Nick Clyburn Band. Enjoy the all-you-can-drink beer and wines that will be on tap that evening and learn more about the roll that HC plays in creating a stronger foundation for the City of Columbia and Richland County. And if your taste buds aren’t on fire by the end of all that then dig into a heaping bowl of the TPS famous house ‘Godzilla Chili’.

The Palladium Society is a dynamic organization of young professionals that supports the mission of Historic Columbia through educational, social and fundraising initiatives. Now in its 19th year, the Palladium Society’s Chili Cookoff has become one of Columbia’s most popular events, and by attending, not only do you get to enjoy delicious chili but you are also supporting the projects and programs of Historic Columbia, including the rehabilitation and reinterpretation of the Hampton-Preston Mansion. To find out more and to get your tickets online, please CLICK HERE.

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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


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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‘1000 Year Flood’ brings Columbia, Mississippi to the aid of Columbia, South Carolina

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For immediate release: October 8, 2015

Two cities that share a name, a historical tie, and a set of classmates, will come full circle this week: sharing relief from natural disaster. The citizens of Columbia, Mississippi have answered the call for aid posted to social media.

The Columbia MS for Columbia SC relief effort is targeted specifically:

1) to assist Columbia SC area hospital operations burdened due to the flood event,and

2) to support Columbia, SC hospital staff and patient families who have been displaced and are in need. Tnovsa is conducting this relief effort with the cooperation of the South Carolina Hospital Association, Palmetto Health, Providence Hospitals, the Dorn VA Medical Center and Moncrief Army Hospital.

Historical Ties

According to the Lamar County Mississippi Genealogy and History Network, Columbia, Mississippi, located in Marion County, was named for Columbia, South Carolina, the city from which many of its early settlers had migrated.  It changed its original name from Lott’s Bluff when it incorporated to Columbia on June 25, 1819, “in memory of a district and town back in South Carolina”.

Columbia SC / Columbia MS Relief Backstory

As New Year’s Eve 2015 neared, Columbia, South Carolina resident Catherine Fleming Bruce saw a post from College classmate Danon Vest Jones, describing the devastation in Columbia, Mississippi after an EF3 tornado left 5 dead and 50 injured a few days before Christmas. Danon was assisting area relief efforts and had turned to social media. In response, Catherine created the Facebook page ‘Columbia SC for Columbia MS: tornado relief’, took to local media to share the news , and challenged residents of the ‘Famously Hot’ City’ to help.

Nine months later, it is Columbia, South Carolina that is in dire need, struck by a massive ‘1000 year’ flood that has taken lives, destroyed homes, and damaged roads and bridges. Flooding that warranted a federal disaster declaration; flooding that is still unfolding.

After a city-wide water shutoff on October 4th and news that hospitals might have to evacuate patients, Bruce returned to the original FB page, inviting the people of Columbia Mississippi to help.

The Columbia, Mississippi response was immediate. In a few days, the plea for help from its new ‘sister city’ had been shared more than 18,000 times. Columbia Strong, the organization that led the tornado relief effort in Mississippi, is making a major commitment. The City of Columbia, Mississippi has declared October 10th and 11th “Days of Giving for Columbia, South Carolina!”, and will collect clean specific relief items and water to meet the drinking and cooking needs of hospitals in the Midlands.

A truck bearing aid from Columbia, Mississippi is set to arrive at the Charles R. Drew Wellness Center, 2101 Walker Solomon Way in Columbia, South Carolina at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, October 13th, welcomed by hospital and local officials.

Jeremy Robbins of Columbia, Mississippi reports: “We have organized relief efforts for our sister city, Columbia, SC. They were among the first to respond to our needs after the December 23rd tornado so unfortunately, in this short time, we shall return the kindness. “

Contact information:

For information about the Columbia, Mississippi relief efforts for Columbia, South Carolina contact Mrs. Danon Vest at 601-906-8483.

For information about the Columbia SC for Columbia MS effort in January 2015, and the current outreach to Columbia, Mississippi for help with flood relief targeting Columbia South Carolina hospitals, contact Catherine Fleming Bruce, 803-521-2057.

For information about the Columbia, Mississippi relief efforts to Columbia, South Carolina Hospitals, contact Regina Brown, Palmetto Health, at 803-296-2961 or via cell 803-237-6548.

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Enjoy Cemetery Tours, Dollar Sunday & Summer Camp this July with HC!

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Historic Columbia’s house museums will be closed Saturday, July 4, but you can still get your fill of history this month with a moonlight stroll through Elmwood Cemetery, a dollar tour of Historic Columbia’s Robert Mills House and more.

Moonlight Cemetery & Secrets from the Grave Tours
Thursday, July 9 at 7:30, 8 and 8:30 pm

One hundred and sixty years of history will come to life during our popular Cemetery Tours! Grab your flashlight as we tour one of Columbia’s oldest cemeteries and discover centuries of stories etched in stone on the markers and headstones preserved within Elmwood Cemetery’s acres of carefully planned grounds. The perfect after-work activity, Historic Columbia’s cemetery tours are an event the whole family will enjoy.

HC Members: $8 adults, $4 youth. Non-members: $12 adults, $6 youth. 501 Elmwood Ave.

Mission: History Summer Camp
Monday, July 13 through Friday, July 17, 9 am – 4 pm

History will come to life through interactive activities and exploration of the gardens, grounds and houses of Historic Columbia. Children ages 8 to 12 are invited to take an adventure in time as we explore what it was like to live in the past! Each day, kids will have a mission to explore a different aspect of history including food, archaeology, music, art, storytelling and even silent film through games, crafts and play.

Registration is required. HC member youth: $160. Non-member youth: $200.

Dollar Sunday at Historic Columbia: Robert Mills House
Sunday, July 19, 1 – 4 pm

Residents of Richland and Lexington counties are invited tour one of Historic Columbia’s house museums for just $1! Each month, HC chooses one of its four properties to feature for Dollar Sunday on a rotating basis, and in July, the featured house will be the Robert Mills House.

Free for HC members. $1 for residents of Richland and Lexington counties. All others $8 adults, $5 youth. The Hampton-Preston Mansion is located at 1615 Blanding Street. Purchase admission at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills, 1616 Blanding Street.

For more information about Historic Columba and to purchase admission to these events, visit historiccolumbia.org or call 803.252.1770 x 23.


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Call for Entertainment & Vendors for the 37th Annual Jubilee: Festival of Heritage!

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Jubilee marketplace

Be part of one of the Midlands’ most-anticipated festivals as an entertainer or vendor at Historic Columbia’s 37th annual Jubilee: Festival of Heritage on Saturday, September 19.

Historic Columbia is searching for entertainment acts that reflect Jubilee and African American heritage, such as drum and dance groups, gospel, jazz, blues and spoken word acts. The deadline for entertainment registration is July 15, and the entertainer application form is available at historiccolumbia.org.

Associations, churches, civic/service groups, health/medical organizations, charities and other businesses are all invited to participate in this year’s Jubilee. The cost to participate is $25 for non-profit vendors, $55 for marketplace vendors and $125 for food vendors. Spaces are limited and reserved on a first-come, first-served basis once approved by the vendor committee. 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 of $15 to $25. Vendor application forms are available at historiccolumbia.org, and the deadline for registration is September 4.

Jubilee: Festival of Heritage celebrates the rich cultural heritage and entrepreneurial spirit of the Mann-Simons family. The festival is free and open to the public at the historic Mann-Simons Site at 1403 Richland St. For more information about Jubilee and the Mann-Simons Site, please visit historiccolumbia.org/jubilee, call 803.252.1770 x 36 or email jubilee@historiccolumbia.org.

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HC & Blue Star Museums Offer Active Military Personnel Free Tours this Summer!

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From Memorial Day through Labor Day 2015, Historic Columbia will offer active duty military personnel and their families free tours of its historic house museums as part of the Blue Star Museums program.

A collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense and more than 2,000 museums across America, Blue Star Museums offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel including National Guard and Reserve and their families from May 25 to Sept. 7. This program provides families an opportunity to enjoy the nation’s cultural heritage and learn more about their new communities after a military move.

“Historic Columbia is proud to be a Blue Star Museum,” said Robin Waites, executive director of HC. “Through this collaboration, service members and their families can experience Columbia and Richland County’s rich history, and we are thrilled to give back to those who give so much for our country.”

Historic Columbia provides tours of the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion, Mann-Simons Site and Woodrow Wilson Family Home, South Carolina’s only presidential site, every day of the week except Mondays. Tours depart at the top of the hour from 10 am to 3 pm Tuesday through Saturday and 1 pm to 4 pm on Sunday; visit historiccolumbia.org for the complete schedule of tours. Purchase admission at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills at 1616 Blanding St. All tours begin at the Gift Shop.

The Blue Star Museums free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps—and up to five family members.

More than 2,000 (and counting) museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and American Samoa are participating in Blue Star Museums, including history and science museums, children’s museums, fine arts museums and nature centers. For more information, visit www.arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums.

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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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May is National Preservation Month!

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May is National Preservation Month, and Historic Columbia has a full slate of events and activities to celebrate:

Happy Hour History Tour: Five Points | Fridays, May 1 and May 8 at 5:30 pm

Enjoy a Capital City cocktail with a twist on a Happy Hour History Tour of Five Points, highlighting the historic district’s stories and architecture in honor of Five Points’ 100th anniversary this year.

$20 for HC members, $25 for non-members. Tour meets at the Five Points Fountain.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour: Debruhl-Marshall House | Sunday, May 3 at 1:30 pm

Built ca.-1820, the Debruhl-Marshall House is one of Columbia’s most iconic historic homes. The Early Classical Revival-style brick building is on the National Register of Historic Properties, and the current owner is working closely with Historic Columbia, USC and other community partners to rehabilitate the home.

$15 for HC members, $20 for non-members. 1401 Laurel Street.

Lyles, Bissett, Carlisle, and Wolff: Building Modern Columbia | Monday, May 4 at 4 pm

Based in Columbia, Lyles, Bissett, Carlisle, & Wolff was perhaps the South’s preeminent architecture firm for thirty years following World War II and designed some of the state’s – and certainly Columbia’s – most notable buildings in a range of interpretations of Modernism. USC’s Modern architecture students will present on and then lead a tour of three of the most iconic buildings designed by LBC&W.

Free and open to the public. Lecture held in the Program Room at USC’s Thomas Cooper Library.

First Thursday on Main Street: Historic Tours | Thursday, May 7, 6 – 8 pm

Historic Columbia guides will give mini tours of significant historic sites on Main Street’s 1500, 1600 and 1700 blocks during First Thursday!

Free. 1500, 1600 and 1700 blocks of Main Street.

2015 Preservation Awards Luncheon | Friday, May 8 at 11:30 am

Historic Columbia will celebrate recent projects that have maintained or added to the historical, architectural and cultural heritage of Columbia and Richland County.

$25. Agapé Senior, 1620 Main Street.

National Public Gardens Day | Friday, May 8

Spend some time on National Public Gardens Day in Historic Columbia’s public gardens at the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion, Seibels House, Woodrow Wilson Family Home and Mann-Simons Site. National Public Gardens Day is an annual celebration of the nation’s public gardens to raise awareness of the important role botanical gardens and arboreta play in promoting environmental stewardship, plant and water conservation, green spaces, and education in communities nationwide. Historic Columbia’s public gardens are always free to visit and open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Second Sunday Stroll: Columbia’s Civil Rights History | Sunday, May 10 at 2 pm

2013’s Columbia SC 63 initiative endeavored to preserve Columbia’s Civil Rights History, and this walking tour is a direct result of those efforts. Explore Columbia’s rich Civil Rights history in this walking tour of Main Street, the site of many sit-ins, protests and marches where African American fought for self-determination and equality.

Free for HC members. $8 adults, $5 youth. Tour meets at S.C. State House.

Moonlight Cemetery & Secrets from the Grave Tours | Thursday, May 14 at 7:30, 8 and 8:30 pm

One hundred and sixty years of history will come to life during our popular Cemetery Tours! Grab your flashlight as we tour one of Columbia’s oldest cemeteries and discover centuries of stories etched in stone on the markers and headstones preserved within Elmwood Cemetery’s acres of carefully planned grounds. The perfect after-work activity, our cemetery tours are an event the whole family will enjoy.

HC Members: $8 adults, $4 youth. Non-members: $12 adults, $6 youth. 501 Elmwood Ave.

Dollar Sunday at Historic Columbia: Mann-Simons Site | Sunday, May 17, 1 – 4 pm

Residents of Richland and Lexington counties are invited tour Historic Columbia’s Mann-Simons Site for just $1! Each month, HC chooses one of its four house museums to feature for Dollar Sunday on a rotating basis, and in May, the featured house will be the Mann-Simons Site.

Free for HC members. $1 for residents of Richland and Lexington counties. All others $8 adults, $5 youth. The Mann-Simons Site is located at 1403 Richland Street. Purchase admission at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills, 1616 Blanding Street.

Historic Windows Restoration Workshop | Saturday, May 30, 9 am – noon

Historic Columbia and the Committee for the Restoration and Beautification of Randolph Cemetery will hold a hands-on window restoration workshop at Thompson Cottage to wrap up Preservation Month! Led by historic preservation professionals Sean Stucker, Historic Columbia, and Staci Richey, City of Columbia, explore reasons to restore historic windows and techniques for doing so. Light breakfast is included, and tools and protective gear will be provided.

HC Members: $5. Students: $5. Non-members: $10. Thompson Cottage, 1623 Richland Street.

For more information about Historic Columba and to purchase admission to these events, visit historiccolumbia.org or call 803.252.1770 x 23.

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