The Story of the Robert Mills House Rehabilitation

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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.

The scene was neither pretty nor new. Like many before it another historic building stood at the threshold of being demolished to make way for post-World War II redevelopment. But this venerable structure stood out among less fortunate peers. Its storied past and architectural refinement caught the imagination of Columbians whose combined energy led to an eleventh-hour salvation.

This was the setting in 1960 within Blanding Street’s 1600 block, where the last of the former Columbia Bible College buildings languished among debris left from its former neighbors. Designed by Robert Mills, a native South Carolinian and the first American-trained architect, the once-handsome, circa-1823 mansion faced certain destruction. Never put to its intended use as a private residence for Sarah and Ainsley Hall, the building’s size and surrounding land suited the needs of three educational institutions, including the Columbia Theological Seminary, for almost 130 years.

City of Columbia employees involved in Urban Renewal programs, most notably Mabel Payne, are credited with initial efforts to heighten public awareness of the site’s significance. She and others worked with key businessmen and socially prominent women to the lay the groundwork for great achievements that year. Shortly thereafter, in November 1961, activists formed Historic Columbia Foundation. Through media blitzes, favors and hard-fought fundraising they tackled the daunting task of buying the four-acre tract of land and rehabilitating its signature mansion as the city’s first true historic house museum.

The story of their dedicated service and the long road to realizing their goal for the property assumed epic proportions, as six years passed between Historic Columbia Foundation’s establishment and the property officially opening its doors for public viewing in April 1967. By 1970, more than $811,200 had been raised by Foundation members for the Robert Mills House’s rehabilitation, the assemblage of a museum collection and the creation of a 4-acre park-like setting.

By 1958, Columbia Bible College was close to relocating from its downtown campus to new facilities in north Columbia. Time had taken its toll on the Robert Mills House and its neighboring mid-19th century dormitories. Where today visitors gather for tours then stood an assortment of ex-military vehicles pressed into service for missionary work.

By 1960, Columbia Bible College was gone. The Robert Mills House was the lone survivor in a wave of demolition that erased all traces of the former educational institutions that once operated there. Included in the removal were the property’s former dormitories, library and perimeter wall, portions of which were integrated into the wall surrounding the South Carolina Department of Mental Health Bull Street campus.

 

With fellow City of Columbia Urban Rehabilitation Department staff members Joseph Winter, Jesse Reese and Maxwell Way, tenant enforcement officer Mabel Payne rehabilitated one of the parlors within the Robert Mills House in 1960 in an effort to heighten awareness of the building’s potential. Freshly painted, furnished with period pieces and sporting recycled early-19th century French scenic wallpapers, the room offered an inspiring glimpse of what could lie ahead. Image courtesy of City of Columbia Preservation Office

 

While scores of activists dedicated themselves to raising funds for the building’s rehabilitation, Jennie Clarkson Dreher (at right leading tour of property in 1962) became for many the face of the ambitious project.

 

After four years of promoting awareness and fundraising, Historic Columbia Foundation members began rehabilitation work in 1965.Clad in scaffolding, the Robert Mills House was a beehive of activity from 1965 through 1966, as workers addressed structural, mechanical and aesthetic improvements.

 

Artisans repaired damaged details and installed other elements that preservation architect Albert K. Simmons believed Robert Mills would have intended for the building. Here a plasterer reproduces an historic molding profile with a custom-made comb in 1966.

 

Masons tackle the involved process of installing the mansion’s front steps in 1966.

Within less than a year their work would withstand the footfalls of thousands of visitors to the freshly rehabilitated cultural landmark property.

 

Though hard to imagine today, the destruction of the Robert Mills House would have been an irreconcilable loss to generations of South Carolinians and visitors to the Palmetto State. Thanks to the efforts of Historic Columbia Foundation’s first members their dream of its preservation was made a reality.

Ways You Can Help:

1. 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.

• Donors at the $265 level or above will receive an invitation to a special tour and reception at the newly rehabilitated Lorick House (1727 Hampton Street) as well as discounted tickets (2) to the 2012 Anniversary Gala.
• Gifts at the $1,000 level and above will also be recognized on a donor plaque in the Robert Mills Founders Garden.
• At the $7,341 level donors will also receive a copy of a limited edition of “Be It Remembered” – a 1972 publication documenting the history of HCF and the founding families. Sustaining donors will receive an updated family history and new donors will have a current family history included in the revised “Be It Remembered” book.

2. 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…

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

4. 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.

5. Spread the word about our 50th Anniversary by posting a link to this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and/or your website. The direct link to this post is: http://blog.historiccolumbia.org/the-story-of-the-robert-mills-house-rehabilitation/.

6. 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 or wspratt@historiccolumbia.org.

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Top Ten Holiday Events At Historic Columbia Foundation: Holiday Event Line-up Announced

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The countdown to the holidays has begun at Historic Columbia Foundation!  In honor of our 50th Anniversary, Candlelight Tours will be free and open to the public this year, with carriage rides being offered for just $5.  We’re also introducing our very own Toy Roadshow event this year, with fun for the whole family. A Victorian Santa Claus will also be making an appearance!  Here’s a rundown of the top ten holiday events we’ll be offering this year (below).  Be sure to save the date for family fun at free or discounted rates!

Ten Ways to Celebrate the Holidays at Historic Columbia Foundation:

1. Holiday House Tours: Nov. 18 – Dec. 31
Tuesday – Sat. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Last tour begins at 3 p.m.); Sundays 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. (Last tour begins at 4 p.m.); Closed on Mondays, Christmas and New Years
General admission rates per house:
Adults $6, Youth (6-17) $3, ages 5 and under Free
Members Free, AAA adults, over 65, college students with I.D., and active military $5, AAA youth $2.59. Purchase Tickets at the Robert Mills Museum Shop,1616 Blanding Street

Enjoy the holiday season with guided tours of our house museums. The Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion, and Mann-Simons Cottage are all decorated for the season. Guides will provide stories of holidays past in Columbia and discuss how families decorated and entertained during the 19th and early 20th centuries. View a variety of holiday decorations in each house and stunning details of our faux food on display.

2.  Homeschool Fridays: Historic Holidays: Friday, December 2, 2011
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Robert Mills House & Garden (1616 Blanding Street)
$5 per student

Elementary and middle school homeschool students are invited to participate in Historic Columbia’s “Homeschool Fridays” program. Discover how families in the 19th century celebrated the holidays in Columbia by seeing the houses as they could have been decorated.  Students will learn about holiday customs, food, parties, and decorations. Craft activity includes making cotton-boll angels to place on trees or desks at home. Reservations are suggested. Homeschool group reservations welcome. Proceeds benefit Historic Columbia Foundation. For more information, please contact James Quint at jquint@historiccolumbia.org or 803.252.1770 ext. 36.

3. Scout Day: Historic Holidays: December 3, 2011, 10 a.m. – Noon
Robert Mills House and Gardens (1616 Blanding Street)
$8 per scout, $5 per adult

Scouts will tour three historic houses and learn how families in Columbia celebrated the holidays throughout the 19th century. A Victorian Santa Claus will visit with children and listen to those holiday gift requests. Scouts can also make a holiday craft and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. Reservations required. Group reservations welcome.

4.  Family Day: Historic Holidays: December 10, 10 a.m. – Noon
Robert Mills House & Garden (1616 Blanding Street)
$6 for child, $3 for additional children. Free for adults and members.

Enjoy the holidays in the decorated Robert Mills House and learn how the Christmas tree appeared in South Carolina and how a South Carolinian made the poinsettia a well-known holiday decoration. Reservations requested (email reservations@historiccolumbia.org or call 803.252.1770 ext. 24).

5. FREE Choir Showcase and $1 Tours: Saturday, December 10
Noon – 4:00 p.m.
Robert Mills House and Gardens (1616 Blanding Street)
Free and open to the public, tours just $1

Local elementary schools will help us celebrate the season by demonstrating their talent and providing musical entertainment for the community. Come hear them sing in front of our Robert Mills House.  While you are here, step inside our historic houses to view the holiday decorations.

6. Second Sunday Stroll: Guided Walking Tour of Main Street:
Sunday, December 11
2 p.m.
Meet at the front steps of the State House on the Gervais Street side.
Free for members (with your membership card), $6 adults, $3 youth (17 and under).

Take a Second Sunday Strolls guided walking tour of historic Main Street, decorated for the holidays! Tours are 30 – 60 minutes in length. Reservations recommended. Proceeds benefit Historic Columbia Foundation.  Reservations requested (email reservations@historiccolumbia.org or call 803.252.1770 ext. 24).

7. Breakfast with Victorian Santa: Saturday, December 17
8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Robert Mills House and Gardens (1616 Blanding Street)
$8 members / $4 member youth
$10 non-member adults / $5 non-member youth

Join HCF for a holiday treat to remember.  Enjoy a continental breakfast in our cozy Carriage House while listening to seasonal music. After your meal, view the decorated halls of the Hampton-Preston Mansion, make a holiday craft to take home, and don’t forget to get your picture taken with our Victorian Santa Claus!  Reservations required (reservations@historiccolumbia.org or 803.252.1770 ext. 24).

8. FREE Candlelight Tours and $5 Carriage Rides: Dec. 15 & 16, 2011
Robert Mills House & Garden (1616 Blanding Street)
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Free admission to Candlelight Tours, carriage rides just $5/person
Enjoy the decorated halls of our historic Robert Mills House,Hampton-Preston Mansion, or Mann-Simons Site by candlelight on a guided tour. Before or after your house tour, enjoy carriage rides through the Robert Mills historic district.

9. FREE Toy Roadshow: December 17
11 am – 2 pm
Seibels House & Garden (1601 Richland Street)

Children are invited to bring their favorite keepsake, lockets, toys, teacups, spoons, or other vintage item to our Toy Roadshow! Experts will be on-hand to appraise and share tips on caring for your antique toy(s). Adults are also welcome to bring their childhood toys (preference will be given to children). Food and old-fashion toy vendors will be on-hand.

10. Dollar Sunday Admission (Richland and Lexington County Residents only): December 18
1 pm – 5 pm (last tour begins at 4 pm)

Take a guided tour of one of our historic house museums for just $1 (members of Richland and Lexington Counties). Visit the Robert Mills House,Hampton-Preston Mansion or the Mann-Simons Site. General admission prices apply for any house tours after the first. Purchase tickets at the Museum Shop at Robert Mills House,1616 Blanding Street.

BONUS
Stop by the Museum Shop during your visit to shop local this holiday season.  Choose from a wide variety of palmetto items, art, cookbooks, jewelry, candles and more. 1616 Blanding Street.

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Map of 50th Festivities: Now Online!

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If you’ll be attending our 50th Birthday Celebration tomorrow (Sunday, November 13 from Noon – 5 pm), be sure to print off this handy map.  It has each of the six historic properties featured in tomorrow’s events clearly marked for easy navigating. 

Meet us at the Robert Mills House beginning at Noon or any of our other house museums beginning at 12:30.  We look forward to celebrating with you! Did you miss the schedule of events? It’s posted below for your convenience.

An Afternoon of Food, Fashion and Fun – 50th Birthday Celebration Schedule:

Noon – 5 pm: Demonstration Artists, Marketplace Vendors, Food Vendors, Time Capsule (remember to bring an item for inclusion), Crafts (just $1), Cake Walk (just $1), Photo Booth (until 3:30 pm, just $1), and 50th Anniversary Exhibit Opening at the Robert Mills House (1616 Blanding Street)

12:30 – 4 pm: Highlight Tours, Games, and Scavenger Hunt at the Robert Mills House (1616 Blanding Street), Hampton-Preston Mansion (1615 Blanding Street), Mann-Simons Site (1403 Richland Street), Modjeska Monteith Simkins Dependency (2025 Marion Street), Seibels House (1601 Richland Street), and Woodrow Wilson Family Home (1705 Hampton Street).

12:30 pm: Yo-Yo Quilt Craft, Dance Demonstration at Robert Mills Carriage House; Historic Textiles and Modern Reproductions at Hampton-Preston Mansion

1:00 pm: Virtual Tour of Woodrow Wilson Family Home; Cake Walk, Magic Show at Robert Mills Carriage House

1:30 pm: Historic Textiles and Modern Reproductions at Hampton-Preston Mansion; Seibels Garden Tour; Cake Walk, Dance Demonstration and Tie Dye Craft at Robert Mills Carriage House

2:00 pm: Cake Walk, Magic Show, and Robert Mills District Tour (meet at Robert Mills Carriage House); Virtual Tour of Woodrow Wilson Family Home; Uncovering History at Mann-Simons

2:30 pm: Modjeska Monteith Simkins Highlight Tour; Cake Walk, Dance Demonstration at Robert Mills Carriage House; Seibels Garden Tour

3:00 pm: Uncovering History at Mann-Simons; Cake Walk, Yo-Yo Quilt Craft, Magic Show at Robert Mills Carriage House; Modjeska Monteith Simkins Highlight Tour

3:30 pm: Cake Walk, Tie Dye Craft at Robert Mills Carriage House

4:00 pm: Panel Presentation at Robert Mills Carriage House featuring Dr. Rodger Stroup, Dr. Belinda Gergel, and Dr. Walter Edgar

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50th Birthday Celebration: Schedule of Events Posted!

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We’re pleased to post the schedule for our Birthday Celebration coming up on Sunday, November 13th from Noon – 5 pm. Print off our handy 2-page schedule for an easy guide to all the fun! We’ll also have a schedule posted at the event.

Noon – 5:00 pm at the Robert Mills House
(1616 Blanding Street)

Demonstration Artists
– Robert Mills Carriage House lawn: See our artist at work as they demonstration their unique talents including quilting, pottery, butter churning, and painting gourds. We will also have Magic Shows and dance demonstrations throughout the day. Please see the table below to find out when these demonstrations will be taking place. Noon- 4:00pm.

Marketplace Vendors – Front lawn of the Robert Mills House: Vintage and vintage inspired gifts plus a few extra treats to jump start your holiday shopping. Noon- 4:00pm.

Food Vendors – Front lawn of the Robert Mills House: Pizza, BBQ, Chicken, and deli sandwiches from some of Columbia’s longest running restaurants. Noon- 4:00pm.

Time Capsule – Robert Mills Carriage House lawn: What does 2011 mean to you and where will you be in 50 years? Stop by our Time Capsule table to drop off current memorabilia and answer fun questions to be included in this piece of history. Noon- 4:00pm.

Crafts – Robert Mills Carriage House lawn: We have a variety of crafts taking place throughout the day. Make special Birthday Bracelets in activity that explores our properties and preservation. Or for $1 you can take part in a special 1860’s yo-yo quilt craft or a 1960’s tye dye craft. See the table below to find out when the special crafts take place. Noon- 4:00pm.

Cake Walk – Robert Mills Carriage House lawn: Participate in our cake walks to win a homemade cake. Not to worry, everyone is a winner because all participants will receive a delicious cupcake of their choice! Tickets are only $1! Please see the table below to find out when the cake walks will be taking place. Noon- 4:00pm.

Photo Booth – Robert Mills Carriage House: Put on your party hat and get your picture taken at our photo booth. Tickets are $1 and you get to take home a personalized photo to remember our 50th Birthday! Noon- 3:30pm.

50th Anniversary Exhibit Opening – Robert Mills House Basement: Learn about the People, Place and Progress of Historic Columbia Foundation and our 50 years preserving and serving the community. Noon- 4:00pm.

4:00pm Past Presidents Panel Presentation featuring Rodger Stroup, Belinda Gergel, and Walter Edgar – Robert Mills Carriage House (1616 Blanding Street): Meet some of the Foundation’s past presidents and learn more about the history of our organization. 4:00 pm.

12:30 – 4:00pm at Robert Mills, Hampton-Preston Mansion, Mann-Simons Site, Modjeska-Simkins Dependency, Seibels House and Woodrow Wilson Family Home

Tours – Visit the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion, Mann-Simons Site, Modjeska-Simkins Dependency, Seibels House, and Woodrow Wilson Family Home to learn about the history of Food, Fashion, and Fun through the ages! Volunteers and staff will help with directions when you arrive. 12:30 – 4:00pm

Transportation – Capital Pedicabs: will be available to help transport you to any of our historic sites. Call 803-271-0458.

Games – Participate in a variety of old-fashion games, including croquet and hop scotch. Each of our houses has a different game to try out. 12:30 – 4:00pm

Scavenger Hunt – Carriage House Lawn: Start at the Robert Mills House and learn about the history of birthdays by visiting all of our properties. Turn in your completed forms for a chance to win a prize. 12:30 – 4:00pm

Special Presentations – The Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion, Mann-Simons Site, Modjeska-Simkins Dependency, Seibels House, and Woodrow Wilson Family Home will feature a special presentation throughout the day so you can learn more about Food, Fashion and Fun through the ages! See pdf below for an outline of special presentation times and a complete schedule.

PDF: Print off our handy 2-page schedule for an easy guide to all the fun! We’ll also have a schedule posted at the event. for comprehensive guide to all the fun! We’ll also have a schedule posted at the event.

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Military Appreciation Week At Historic Columbia Foundation Includes $1 House Museum Tour Admission: November 6-12, 2011

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COLUMBIA, SC (November 3, 2011) – In honor of Military Appreciation Week at Historic Columbia Foundation (November 6-12, 2011), $1 house museum tours for active military and their family are being offered.  For just $1/person, a historic house museum tour of Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion, or Mann-Simons Site can be enjoyed.  Or, tours of all three historic house museums are being offered for just $9 (a savings of $9). Tours are offered Sunday from 1 pm – 5 pm and Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm (last tour starts at 3 pm).  Tickets can be purchased at the Museum Shop, located at the Robert Mills House & Gardens, 1616 Blanding Street (next to the Township Auditorium).  More information can be found online at www.historiccolumbia.org, or by calling 803.252.1770 ext. 24.

About the Historic House Museums at Historic Columbia Foundation:

Robert Mills House & Gardens: One of only five National Historic Landmarks within Columbia, the Robert Mills House, circa-1823,  (http://historiccolumbia.org/site/visit/houses/robert-mills-house-and-gardens/overview/index) exemplifies the skill of the first architect born and trained within the United States who designed some of the nation’s most prominent buildings, including the Washington Monument. Today, the structure stands as a testament of its designer’s architectural ability and the preservation efforts of generations of Columbians.

Hampton-Preston Mansion & Gardens: One of Columbia’s oldest remaining historic houses, the Hampton-Preston Mansion, circa-1818, (http://historiccolumbia.org/site/visit/houses/hamptonpreston-mansion-gardens/overview/index) was home to many people for 150 years. The city residence of Columbia’s Hampton and Preston elite planter-class families, this historic site featured gardens nationally renowned for their size and variety of plantings.

Mann Simons Site: Although only one house stands today, the Mann-Simons Site (http://historiccolumbia.org/site/visit/houses/mannsimons-cottage/overview/index) historically was a collection of commercial and domestic spaces owned and operated by the same African-American family from at least 1843 until 1970. The property and its multiple buildings changed considerably over time to better accommodate the needs, tastes, and aspirations of this remarkable family.

Celebrating 50 Years
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 will include a variety of community celebratory events, including a FREE birthday celebration on November 13 from Noon – 4 pm, called an “Afternoon of Food, Fashion & Fun”.  The birthday celebration starts at the Robert Mills House, 1616 Blanding Street.   Click on the 50th Anniversary banner on http://www.historiccolumbia.org  for details.  Consider a “+50” donation to help Historic Columbia Foundation continue to make a difference in the community over the next 50 years.  Details are available at http://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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You're Invited to our 50th Birthday Celebration! An Afternoon of Food, Fashion & Fun on Sunday, 11/13

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In November 1961, a small group of individuals intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition, officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation.

You’re Invited to our 50th Birthday Celebration
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Noon – 4 pm

We’ll be celebrating our 50th milestone with an afternoon of Food, Fashion & Fun Through the Years. The fun starts at the Robert Mills House & Garden (1616 Blanding Street), and takes place at each of our house museums. Jump start the celebration by joining us for The Palladium Society’s Bluegrass, Bidding & BBQ Silent Auction on Thursday, November 10 from 7 pm – 10 pm.

Birthday Celebration Festivities on Sunday, November 13 Include:

• The debut of a new exhibit at the Robert Mills House & Garden.

• A street fair along Blanding Street with food and craft vendors.

• Ongoing tours of each of our historic house museums, highlighting the food historically enjoyed at each property and the games and activities played. Fashion highlights will also be included at several of the properties.

• Transportation to each house, offered by Capital Pedicab for a special rate (803-271-0458)

• A public panel featuring Rodger Stroup, Belinda Gergel, and Walter Edgar (past presidents of Historic Columbia Foundation).

• Family-friendly activities including a scavenger hunt, magician, cake walk, and old fashion games, such as hoop and stick, croquet, and hula hoop. Crafts will also be offered.

• Demonstration artists will discuss a variety of topics, including quilting and butter churning.

• Remember to bring a special item for inclusion in our time capsule!

Please help us spread the word about this great event by sharing it with your friends on Facebook! Visit the Facebook event listing here and click on “select guests to invite” at left or “share” at the top of the page. Your Facebook RSVP helps us spread the word about this free, community event. Thank you!

Admission is free and open to the public. Some activities will require a small fee. Proceeds benefit Historic Columbia Foundation. More information about our birthday celebration… 

Sponsor Thanks:

doctors care BCBSSCCapital Pedicab

About the 50th Anniversary of 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 four 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 begins on November 13, 2011) will include a variety of community celebratory events.

Please consider increasing your support of Historic Columbia Foundation by making a donation to recognize our achievements and build a fiscally stable organization for the next 50 years.

Three ways to support Historic Columbia Foundation’s Annual Fund:

• Consider increasing your donation by an additional $50 this year or per month to recognize our 50th Anniversary milestone.

• Make a gift or pledge to our endowment fund.

• Make a gift or donation in honor of a founding member, past president, dedicated volunteer or leader on the staff.

More information / Make a Donation…

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You're Invited: An Evening of Bluegrass, Bidding & BBQ

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The Palladium Society of Historic Columbia Foundation invites the community to attend their 8th annual Silent Auction on November 10, 2011 from 7 pm – 10 pm on the historic grounds of the Robert Mills House & Garden (1616 Blanding Street). The theme for this year’s event is “Bluegrass, Bidding & BBQ” and will include live entertainment by Old Growth String Band. Admission includes food, drinks and live music!

The Silent Auction is a fundraising event for Historic Columbia Foundation. Last year’sevent raised nearly $10,000 for local preservation and education efforts. Those attending the event will have the opportunity to bid on a variety of items, including vacation packages, shopping deals and art, while enjoying the scenic grounds at the Robert Mills House.

Ticket Information

The cost to attend is $20 for Historic Columbia Foundation members and $35 general admission. Tickets may be purchased online at http://palladiumauction.eventbrite.com or by phone at (803) 252-7742 ext. 11.

Those who join The Palladium Society before purchasing their auction tickets will receive a special savings of $15 off the ticket price (compared to general admission rate).
Membership details…

About The Palladium Society:
The Palladium Society is a dynamic organization of young professionals that supports the mission of Historic Columbia Foundation through educational, social, and fundraising initiatives.

Members of the Palladium Society have the opportunity to:
• Network with other young professionals
• Learn about Columbia’s significant past and have a say in its future.
• Volunteer at exciting Palladium events, such as the annual Chili Cook-off and the Silent Auction.
• Hold leadership positions on various committees.
• Attend social events such as happy hours, pub-crawls, and other activities with other young professional groups.

Historic Columbia Foundation membership dues begin at $35. The Palladium Society is an Affiliate level that can be added to any membership category for an additional $15 per single or $25 per couple. More information about becoming involved in The Palladium Society…

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 RichlandCounty. 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 begins on November 13, 2011) will include a variety of community celebratory events. Learn more…

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Please Help Support the Hampton-Preston Garden Restoration Project with a Holiday Greenery Purchase by October 31, 2011

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COLUMBIA, SC (October 18, 2011) – With temperatures in the 70s and even 80s, it’s hard to believe the holidays are fast approaching.  Historic Columbia Foundation wants to remind you that Christmas is just 67 days away.  Why the reminder? They are asking area residents, businesses and organizations to support the annual Holiday Greenery Sale, put on by the Palmetto Garden Club.  Time is short – Greenery sales end on October 31, 2011.  Proceeds from the Holiday Greenery Sale benefit the garden restoration project at Hampton-Preston Mansion.  Orders may be placed on the http://www.scholidaygreenery.com website or by mail (print-friendly brochure available on the www.scholidaygreenery.com website).

Items available for purchase include single  and double-face wreaths, poinsettias, paper whites, pecans, garlands, bows and the popular bloomsaver cut flower caddy. Made especially for Palmetto Garden Club, the wreaths and garlands come direct from the mountains of North Carolina. For as little as $10, you can help support the garden restoration project at Hampton Preston. Orders may be picked up on December 1, 2011 at the Robert Mills Carriage House (1616 Blanding Street) from 10 am – 2 pm. Free delivery is available for orders over $300.

About the cause, Robin Waites, Executive Director of Historic Columbia Foundation says, “Your Holiday Greenery purchase will help restore the Hampton-Preston gardens and grounds to their former splendor, allowing families to enjoy this historic space for years to come”.

The four-acre garden that once graced the Hampton-Preston Mansion grounds was a destination for travelers to Columbia beginning in the 1840s. A visitor in 1860 noted, “The gardens here have ever been the admiration of all travelers, and certainly they surpass anything I have ever seen in pleasure grounds. The most beautiful place here, and the prettiest I have ever seen, is ex-Senator Preston’s, although there are a few here that almost equal its beauty.” The grandeur of the estate’s gardens enjoyed national coverage by the 1850s and 1860s, with articles appearing in The Sentinel from Waterford, New York, and The Farmer and Planter. Notable visitors to the property during this time period included James LeConte, Louis Agassiz, and John Audubon.

Regrettably, the gardens were destroyed by 1947 to clear the block for commercial development. However, thanks to the popularity of the gardens’ beauty, the property was extensively documented both in written word and by photographs, and much of this evidence survives today.

Using historic documentation of the Hampton-Preston estate as a guide, Historic Columbia Foundation seeks to revitalize the 4-acre property in the spirit and design of Mary Cantey Hampton and Caroline Hampton Preston’s antebellum gardens. Plans for a 3-phase, multi-year implementation approach begin with the revitalization of the southern portion of the property, with ground broken in Fall 2011. Included in this first phase will be installation of new irrigation, pathways, edging, lighting, as well as new plantings selected from plants available prior to 1865 in general, and specifically from those known to have been grown on the property during the 1830s through 1860s.

New gardens created within the antebellum-period pathway and bed framework of Mrs. Hampton and Mrs. Preston’s garden during the first phase of the garden revitalization project will include:

A Fountain Garden, designed in the romantic style will feature a working replica of a fountain designed by renowned 19th-century sculptor Hiram Powers and restored fountain basin, two wooden arches, and clipped boxwood parterres displaying a naturalistic collection of antebellum period ornamental shrubs, vines, and trees.

A Welcome Garden, will serve as an inviting space through which guests to the mansion and gardens will enter the property, located immediately in front of and surrounding the mansion. This formal garden will feature plantings of clipped boxwood hedges and heirloom roses designed in the English style. Additionally, this garden will display a shady canopy of magnolias, and other flowering trees, shrubs, and perennials, chosen particularly for their fragrance.

A Children’s Garden will be a walled garden designed to a child’s scale. This garden will surround a new antebellum-style gazebo and memorial space, and will appeal to a child’s sense of exploration and discovery, including spaces to encourage active, creative, and imaginative play.

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 begins on November 13, 2011) will include a variety of community celebratory events.  Click on the 50th Anniversary banner on http://www.historiccolumbia.org for details.  Consider a “+50” donation to help Historic Columbia Foundation continue to make a difference in the community over the next 50 years.  Details are available at http://historiccolumbia.org.

 

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Historic Columbia Foundation Announces $10 Pricing For Forest Acres Lecture Series, Kicking off on Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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COLUMBIA, SC (October 16, 2011) – Historic Columbia Foundation’s popular Forest Acres Lecture Series is back again this year, with new topics, a new location (A.C. Flora High School), and new pricing. Historic Columbia Foundation is pleased to announce their special $10 offer. Attend any one of the upcoming Forest Acres Lectures, led by Dr. Warner Montgomery, for just $10. Enjoy light refreshments and meet Dr. Warner Montgomery, author of Images of Forest Acres.

This year’s new location (A.C. Flora High School) has also made it possible for Historic Columbia Foundation to easily accommodate walk-in guests to the lectures. Interested in attending this week’s session on Geography, Exploration, and Settlement: 1540-1900? Simply come to the auditorium at A.C. Flora High School at 5:45 on Wednesday, October 19 (15 minutes before the lecture starts) and sign-up for the lecture. Dr. Warner Montgomery will be discussing the Fall Line, Taylor Town and the Old Camden Road; as well as the Taylor, Hampton, and Dent families.

Light refreshments served during lectures, participants who purchase the 3-lecture option will receive $10 refund towards a purchase made at a Forest Acres retailer between October 19 – November 2, 2011.

Interested in attending all 1, 2, or all 3 lectures (Wednesdays, Oct. 19 – Nov. 2)? Here’s a rundown of the lecture topics, as well as details on the optional bus tour (Oct. 23), with pricing information:

October 19, 6 pm – 7:30 pm
Lecture: Geography, Exploration, and Settlement: 1540-1900; The Fall Line, Taylor Town and the Old Camden Road; The Taylor, Hampton, and Dent families. Meets at A.C. Flora High School, 1 Falcon Drive

October 23, 2 pm -5 pm
Optional Bus Tour: Quinine Hill, Forest Lake, and all places in between
Limited availability, available to those who attend the Lecture Series for an additional cost (details below). Meets at A.C. Flora High School, 1 Falcon Drive.

October 26, 6 pm – 7:30 pm
Lecture: Religion, Retreats, and Recreation: 1900-1935; Bethel Church, Quinine Hill, and Lakeview; Sen. James H. Hammond and John Hughes Cooper. Meets at A.C. Flora High School, 1 Falcon Drive.

November 2, 6 pm – 7:30 pm
Lecture: A City: Develops and Thrives: 1935-2010; Water, Roads, Schools, Churches, Businesses; From Hazlehurst to Brunson; From 300 to 10,000 residents. Meets at A.C. Flora High School, 1 Falcon Drive.

Cost Information:
New this year! Cost for One Lecture: Just $10
(same price for Historic Columbia Foundation members, non-members, faculty and students)

Cost for All Three Lectures:
Historic Columbia Foundation Members: $25 (includes all three lectures)
Non-members: $35 (includes all three lectures)
Forest Acres Residents: $30 (includes all three lectures)
AC Flora Faculty: $25 (includes all three lectures)
AC Flora Students: $15 (includes all three lectures)

Cost including Bus Tour:
Historic Columbia Foundation Members: $35 (includes all three lectures plus the bus tour)
Non-members: $45 (includes all three lectures plus the bus tour)
Forest Acres residents: $40 (includes all three lectures plus the bus tour)
AC Flora Faculty: $35 (includes all three lectures plus the bus tour)
AC Flora Students: n/a

About the Lecture Series, Robin Waites, Executive Director of Historic Columbia Foundation says “Whether you attended last year’s lectures or will be a first-time guest, this year’s topics and special pricing are just two great reasons to come out and enjoy a Forest Acres lecture”.

On-site registration available at A.C. Flora High School. Arrive 15 minutes before the lecture starts to complete registration form. Online registration information and forms (electronic and printable) are available on the Historic Columbia Foundation website at http://www.historiccolumbia.org (visit registration form direct here).  Those who prefer to mail-in registration may do so by sending their printed registration form to 1601 Richland Street, 29201 attn: Ann Posner. Registration forms are also available at the Museum Shop, 1616 Blanding Street. More information is available by phone at 803.252.1770, ext. 24 or by email at mailto: reservations@historiccolumbia.org.

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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Y.O.G.A. Event this Sat. ~ History + Health = Famously Hot Yoga

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Historic Columbia Foundation to Host Y.O.G.A. Event at The Historic Big Apple on October 15, 2011 from 1 pm – 3 pm

Columbia, SC – (October 12, 2011) – History is the story of the past. Yoga is the story we create in the present. Join Historic Columbia Foundation and Dara Brown for a Y.O.G.A. (Your Own Geographic Area) event this Saturday, October 15 at the historic Big Apple in Columbia,SC.  The event will take place from1 – 3 pm at The Big Apple, located at 1000 Hampton Street in downtown Columbia.

Attendees will hear stories from the past on a walking tour of some of Columbia’s local historic treasures, followed by a yoga practice led by Dara Brown, a certified Anusara yoga instructor (http://www.facebook.com/DaraBrownYoga), suitable for all levels of experience (yoga mats provided). Attendees will use what they learn about the past to inform the present narrative.

Yoga mats will be provided. Attendees are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes and clothes appropriate for exercise. The tour will be about 1.5 miles in length and last about 45 minutes to 1 hour and will be followed by a yoga mat session. Participants must turn in a signed copy of the release form, available on the Historic Columbia Foundation website here: http://historiccolumbia.org/site/calendar/2011/10/15/events/yoga-your-own-geographic-area-at-the-big-apple. The cost of the event is $20.

About the event, Robin Waites, Executive Director of Historic Columbia Foundation says “Combine your appreciation for history and enjoyment of yoga into one experience at our Y.O.G.A. event this Saturday”.

Registration Info:
There is still time to register!
Complete your registration form (available here)
Email registration: reservations@historiccolumbia.org
Call-in registration: 252-1770×24
Reservations may also be made at the HCF Museum Shop, 1616 Blanding Street
On-site registration will be offered if space is available.

Facebook event listing: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=275932795759735.

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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