If you’ve been looking for the chance to buy into Columbia history, this is your chance. The former Veterans Administration Regional Office Building at 1801 Assembly Street is up for auction.
Built in 1949 and designed by Stork & Lyles (later known as LBC&W), the Veterans Administration Regional Office Building ( VARO) was one of the flagship Modernist buildings in Columbia. ( What’s more, it stands beneath celebrated Modern architect Marcel Breuer’s Strom Thurmond Office Building—one of his final works in the United States.)
With its sleek horizontal lines, innovative building techniques, and incorporation of contemporary structure, the VARO was unlike anything Columbia had ever seen. It now stands empty, ready for its second life.
More and more, mid-century structures are being successfully restored and adapted for new use. In cities like Savannah and Charlottesville, mid-century offices, warehouses, and shopping centers are being adaptively reused as theaters, upscale condominiums, retail space, and event venues. Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood has especially embraced its utilitarian modernism and upcycled spaces into doggy daycare centers, bakeries, bike shops, boutique storage facilities, bars, and an ever-growing number of breweries.
In Charleston, the former Federal Building on Meeting Street (also an LBC&W project) underwent a careful renovation and is now a luxury hotel. Known as The Dewberry, the former office space boasts a bar, restaurant, and retail spaces, all highly styled in Scandinavian Modernism. The hotel has attracted national attention, appearing in Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, the Chicago Tribune, Thrillest, and the New York Post . The Dewberry embraces its Modernist heritage and makes the past new again.
A similar outcome is now possible in Columbia with the sale of the VARO. Its panoramic views of downtown and the river front, proximity to Main Street and the Vista, and easy access to both I-26 and 277 all make this a desirable area to live. The building’s window patterns and floor layouts are also highly compatible with residential use.
The VARO’s potential as an apartment space or boutique hotel is immense. Perhaps a sleek rooftop bar could find itself opening in Columbia’s original Modern gem.
For those interested in touring the property, open houses will be held December 6 from 1– 4 p. m. and December 7 from 9 a.m.–12 p.m. For more information, visit the GSA website.
This holiday season, give a gift that will go down in history! For as long as supplies last, Historic Columbia is offering some great membership + gift opportunities.
Membership + Gift
Give the gift of a Historic Columbia membership! All new gift memberships purchased between now and Thursday, Dec. 21 will receive a complimentary Robert Mills House Christmas ornament.
Membership + Remembering Columbia Bundle
Purchase a membership between now and Thursday, Dec. 21 and receive $5 off the Remembering Columbia book. To receive this special discount, the book must be purchased at the sale of the membership. Individual membership book bundle: $55.00 Family membership book bundle: $70.00
Membership + Down Under Bundle
Back by popular demand, Historic Columbia’s Behind-the- Scenes Tour series opens the doors to Columbia Down Under! Join us for this exclusive event (Jan. 17 & 18), where you’ll enjoy wine, beer and light hors d’oeuvres along with the tour! Individual membership & One Down Under Tour Ticket $60 ($75 Value) Couple/Family membership & Two Down Under Tickets $ 100 ($130 Value)
Seibels House and Garden isn’t just a great venue for your wedding and reception, they’re also an idyllic spot for bridal portraits, as well. The oldest home in Columbia is also the most affordable portrait venue, with pricing starting at $50/hour on weekdays. We’re delighted to share with you Avis Washington’s recent portraits with you.
Avis’s pictures make great use of the neo-classical interior space at Seibels. During the spring and summer, when days are longer, the first floor of the hose is filled with glowing, golden light. It’s rare to experience the “golden hour” indoors, but our front rooms and sun porch are filled with this romantic lighting.
Each room in Columba’s oldest home offers unique, distinguishing features to make your portraits pop. Neo-classical and Victorian mantlepieces, French doors, and a twisting oak banister are all part of the home’s character.
With its black and white tiles, bay window, and wall of windows, the sun porch is the signature space at Seibels House. We’d love for you to visit us—our doors are always open. Get in touch and let us help you make history!
The holiday season is here and Historic Columbia is pulling out all the stops! From carriage rides to caroling, there’s plenty to see and do in the Robert Mills Historic District through the new year. To kick-off the holiday season, HC will host its annual Santa Signing from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18 at The Gift Shop at Robert Mills House. This free, family-friendly event is the perfect opportunity to get into the holiday spirit, visit with Santa, enjoy holiday activities and begin checking off your shopping list! In addition, guests will have the opportunity to tour parts of the Robert Mills House and see the elves hard at work, gingerbread cookies and goodies baked by Mrs. Claus, and wrapped gifts and hanging stockings by the fireplace. Guests will receive 30%-off their purchase at the Gift Shop and light refreshments.
For those interested in peeking in on holidays past, holiday tours will be available through Dec. 31. Visit us at 1616 Blanding St to see a variety of historic holiday decorations and seasonal traditions in the Robert Mills House and Hampton-Preston Mansion. Guides will tell tales of holidays past in Columbia and demonstrate how families decorated and entertained during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
And for those who aren’t ready for December holidays just yet, Thanksgiving weekend is a perfect time to enjoy HC’s historic gardens. The beautiful grounds and gardens of HC’s historic properties are always free and a wonderful way to walk off Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family – or bring a picnic of leftovers! Historic Columbia’s properties include more than 14 acres of landscapes, featuring gardens that range from an expansive park-like setting with an elaborate formal garden to a traditional 19th-century swept yard.
Before you head this way in your sleigh, be aware that Historic Columbia and all our properties will be closed on Thursday, November 23, for Thanksgiving. The last tour will be given at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November 22. Tours will resume at regular hours on Friday, November 24.
Ready to get started? Historic Holiday Tours are free for HC members, $5 for youth and $8 for adults, and tours run through Dec. 31 with special events and programs happening along the way. While the Santa Signing is free, registration for this event is highly encouraged. To purchase tickets and to register, visit historiccolumbia.org, email or call (803) 252-1770 x 23.
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Photographer John LeRoy Hensel (1919-1999) recorded Columbia’s love affair with its primary commercial district in 1949 when he extensively photographed Main Street, including this shot of the Efird’s building, then a thriving department store.
New construction abuts the Brennen building following the completion of the Art Deco-inspired First Citizens Bank headquarters building. To the Brennen building’s south a surface parking lot occupies the footprint of a former 19th-century neighboring structure.
**UPDATE – Nov 22, 2017**
Last week was a tense time for the Historic Tax Credit (HTC) as the Senate Finance Committee considered hundreds of proposals to amend the Senate tax reform bill. As you recall, the Senate Finance Committee had included the 20% HTC but had cut it in half to 10% in their version of the tax reform bill two weeks ago. Thankfully, our own Senators Scott took action and shepherded the proposal through the process referencing Drayton Mills (link) in Spartanburg, which he said was “an old factory that has benefitted from vision that has brought new life back into an old community.” Because of the work of Senator Scott and his fellow Senators, the HTC has been restored to 20% in the Senate version of the tax reform bill. The bill is expected to be voted on by the full Senate after the Thanksgiving holiday recess. It is incumbent on those who value preservation in our communities to stand up and speak loudly when these kinds of issues emerge. Thank you to Sen. Scott and all those folks around the state who made their voice heard. #historyiscool #preservationmatters
Followers and members of Historic Columbia know the emphasis we’ve put on preserving important structures and stories around Columbia for more than 50 years. Clear evidence exists of the effectiveness of these efforts and the economic impact they deliver to the capital city. From the revitalization of the Vista and Main Street districts to the preservation of the historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar and Palmetto Compress Building, when historic structures are restored and reused, good things happen for our city and its citizens. Central to these preservation projects is the ability for developers to utilize tax incentives that were first established in the 1980s. Last week, the new Tax Reform Bill introduced in the House of Representatives eliminates the Historic Tax Credit. This is a drastic proposal that will have an incredibly negative impact on the rehabilitation of historic properties in South Carolina and across the country.
The Historic Tax Credit (HTC) provides a 20% tax credit for eligible costs of rehabilitating historic properties. Many states, including South Carolina, provide additional state tax credits that add to the HTC to make otherwise uneconomic historic redevelopment projects feasible. The credits offset the higher costs involved in rehabilitating historic properties.
Please consider joining Historic Columbia to voice your opposition to the elimination of the Historic Tax Credit. Contact your Representative and let them know that we will be watching their vote on this important issue that has moral and economic ramifications for communities across our country.
For a robust preservation advocacy toolkit including talking points and statistics developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, please CLICK HERE.
In Columbia, we are represented by Congressmen Jim Clyburn and Congressman Joe Wilson. You can find your House member HERE.
Lunch & Learn is back again to feed your brain on your lunch break. The November session of Lunch and Learn features University of South Carolina graduate students presenting ongoing research about the history of Columbia as seen from new angles.
What was it like to be enslaved on the South Carolina College (the University’s antebellum name) campus before the Civil War? Historic Columbia’s own Jill Found seeks to answer that question in the first Lunch & Learn session on November 7 from 12–1 p.m. at Seibels House, 1601 Richland Street.
South Carolina College relied on the labor of enslaved people for many activities around campus. Slaves swept dorm rooms and cooked meals, they drove wagons and cut wood, they worked in the gardens and built the Horseshoe’s iconic buildings. In short, it was slave labor which insured the University ran smoothly.
The work of enslaved individuals also supported student learning. Jack, the first person bought by South Carolina College, worked in the chemistry laboratory keeping up the equipment and aiding professors.
Jack did much more than work in the chemistry lab though. He formed connections to people and institutions that would help him make a way for himself in the world and labored in his free time, running errands for students. Found’s research focuses on the complicated lives, roles, and relationships held by Jack and others on campus.
The November 7 session will also feature author Katherine Chaddock. She will be signing her book about Richard Greener, the first African American professor at the University of South Carolina, Uncompromising Activist: Richard Greener, First Black Graduate of Harvard College.
On November 14, Olivia Brown will explore the Jewish community in Columbia at the turn of the 20th century by examining the evolution of Jewish food traditions in the South.
Lastly, on November 21, Charlotte Adams will look at the evolution of the Seibels House, the oldest house in Columbia, to make sense of the different layers of history and architecture visible ( and invisible) on the building.
Each session will be held from 12–1 p.m. at Seibels House, 1601 Richland Street.
Ticket prices vary as discounts are available to students, teachers, and HC members.
Walk- ins will be accepted as space allows, but reservations are recommended. For more information, please click here. Historic Columbia looks forward to learning with you in November.
Main Street in Columbia has lived a double life. Today, festivals, farmers markets, as well as retail and cultural arts institutions, make Main Street one of the city’s most vibrant districts. But what was Main Street like in the past?
To answer that question, we need to look one block south to Assembly Street, which was designed in the 18th century to be one of Columbia’s major thoroughfares.
Senate and Assembly streets were both built wider than other streets in the city’s grid in order to accommodate retail spaces. It became apparent not long after Columbia began to be developed that nature had other plans, as Assembly and Senate streets, both lower than Richardson (Main) and Gervais, were prone to becoming a muddy quagmire during rainstorms. Business owners packed up their wares and moved to Richardson Street now known as Main Street By the early 1800s, businesses of all kinds populated a busy corridor.
Following the fire of February 1865, which destroyed roughly one third of the center and all of Richardson Street from the State House to Upper Street (today’s Elmwood Avenue), Columbia’s main commercial street was rebuilt.
The buildings that stand today provide a architectural time line of the history of our community since the end of the Civil War. The success of Main Street has ebbed and flowed during Columbia’s history but the area’s recent resurgence gives energy to the most architecturally diverse area in Columbia.
Many of the businesses understand the importance of keeping the historical integrity and character of Main Street intact as this contributes to the liveliness that brings people downtown. Lula Drake, Blue Flour, and the Nick are just three examples of successful preservation and restoration work.
Joggers, dog-walkers, and families can be seen on Main Street in the evenings as more residents move to this area and enjoy the benefits of this pedestrian-friendly corridor. With new restaurants opening on Main Street, residents and visitors have a variety of options for dinner and drinks.
Anyone who loves history and architecture should check out Historic Columbia’s upcoming Happy Hour History Tours. It’s one-part happy hour, two parts history served up in the heart of Downtown.
The next Historic Happy Hour is on November 3 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. Participants will have the chance to enjoy drinks, appetizers, and chat with Historic Columbia staff as we explore Main Street from the State House to Tapps. This 90-minute program includes drinks at local bars and an opportunity to discover events that have shaped our community. Get your tickets HERE.
November is full of exciting events at Historic Columbia – from Happy Hour on Main Street, to three Lunch & Learn Lectures. This month also includes Volunteer Training at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home and $2 House Tours at the SC Oyster festival, as well as the official kick-off of the holiday season with holiday house tours and the annual Santa Signing. The full November calendar of events is highlighted below.
Homeschool Friday: Columbia Music History
Friday, Nov. 3 | 10 – 11:30 a.m. | The Gift Shop at Robert Mills
While Hootie and the Blowfish may be one of the best-known bands to come out of Columbia, what other musicians can you name that call it home? Together we will learn about the various kinds of music performed by Columbians, including gospel, jazz, country, soul, and rock and roll. Students will explore these genres and create their own instruments. We’ll also learn about famous dances and dance clubs from our very own hometown.
All homeschool students are invited to participate in Historic Columbia’s Homeschool Friday programs on the first Friday of the month. Each month’s program is from 10 – 11:30 a.m. and includes hands-on activities while students learn and explore different themes and historic sites with Historic Columbia. Homeschool Friday programs are designed for students of elementary and middle school age levels. Homeschool Friday is open to families and homeschool groups of less than 10 students. For larger groups, we recommend arranging a separate visit to explore that month’s topic. Program participants should gather in the Gift Shop at Robert Mills on the day of the program unless otherwise noted.
The cost is per student, with an accompanying adult free. Homeschool Fridays are $5 for members, $6 for non-members and $8 for both members and non-members at the door. If you have questions, would like to be on our mailing list, or if you would like to register for the entire year of Homeschool Friday programs, please contact us by emailing or calling 803.252.1770 x 26.
Happy Hour Tour: Main Street
Friday, Nov. 3 | 5:30 – 7 p.m. | Main Street
Columbia’s Main Street boasts architectural styles spanning three centuries that speak to the tastes, interests and aspirations of persons living and working in South Carolina’s second state capital. This guided tour offers insight into the history of Columbia focusing on the progress seen through the life of its Main Street and downtown corridor. Participants will stop at local historic sites and receive two free beverages and appetizers along the way. Tour will meet at the Gervais Street side of the State House, near the Washington statue. Suggested parking garages (no charges occur after 5:30): 1400 Sumter Street, 1100 Lady Street, and 1100 Taylor Street. For more information, visit historiccolumbia.org, call 803.252.1770 x 23 or email.
Garden Tour for Gardeners
Saturday, Nov. 4 | 10 – 11:30 a.m. | Hampton-Preston Gardens
Come join Historic Columbia’s garden staff, Keith Mearns and Evan Clements, as they lead plant specific tours of the famed Hampton-Preston Gardens. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore the botanical diversity planted during the antebellum garden restoration initiated in 2012 and preview the 2.5 acre Phase II improvements to be completed in spring of 2018. From Auracaria angustifolia to Zamia pumila HC’s staff will leave no leaf unturned. Select plants highlighted on the tour will also be available for purchase!
Tickets are $15 for Historic Columbia members and $20 for non-members. Tours will be offered at 10 and 11:30 a.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit historiccolumbia.org, call 803.252.1770 x 23, or email.
Reviving Historic Plaster and Masonry
Saturday, Nov. 4 | 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. | 1634 Main Street
Historic Columbia’s 2017 Preservation Workshop series, presented by Crawlspace Medic, concludes in November with an exploration of plaster and masonry. Lauren Dillon of Master of Plaster and Kirk Dillon of Dillion Construction Services will lead participants in a discussion and a demonstration of historic plaster, and attendees will learn about historically appropriate tools, materials, and application processes in this hands on workshop showcasing interior plaster restoration.
“Many times in today’s construction environment,” said Lauren Dillon, “original architectural details like plaster are torn out or are hidden beneath drywall.” Owners of historic properties often believe that saving and restoring plaster is too difficult, but Dillon tells us, “in fact, the processes of saving and preserving these historic interiors is quite effective and straightforward.”
Historic Columbia presents quarterly programs inviting the community to gain firsthand experience with the practice of preservation. For more information about the preservation work of Historic Columbia, visit our Preservation page or email. Tickets are $5 for HC members and $10 for non-members. To purchase, CLICK HERE.
Lunch & Learn, a Three-Part Series Featuring USC Graduate Research
Feed your mind during lunch at our Lunch and Learn series where we will explore little known topics and view artifacts not often seen on display. The November session of Lunch and Learn features University of South Carolina graduate students presenting ongoing research about the history of Columbia. Bring your lunch as we munch our way into the past. Walk-ins will be accepted as space allows but reservations are recommended. Reservations may be made by email or by calling 803.252.1770 ext. 23.
Tuesday, Nov. 7 | 12 – 1 p.m. | Seibels House This Lunch & Learn features research by Jill Found and Katherine Chaddock. Jill Found’s research focuses on the lived experiences of enslaved people at South Carolina College. How did the college environment during the first half of the nineteenth century shape the lives of enslaved people, as students, professors, and staff all relied on the work of enslaved people and claimed the use of their time and skills? How did enslaved people navigate these competing demands and negotiate their own lives? Found makes sense of these questions given limited documentary sources focusing the enslaved people who played a vital role in the creation of South Carolina College, but have gone relatively undiscussed until the past decade. Author Katherine Chaddock will be at the program to sign her new book Uncompromising Activist: Richard Greener, First Black Graduate of Harvard College. This book explores Richard Greener, the first African American professor at University of South Carolina, shortly after the end of the Civil War.
Tuesday, Nov. 14 | 12 – 1 p.m. | Seibels House
This Lunch & Learn focuses on findings by Olivia Brown. Brown’s thesis centers on Columbia’s Jewish community at the turn of the 20th century, and how first- and second-generation Eastern European immigrants formed a Jewish-American-Southern identity through food. By looking more closely at families in Columbia who owned food establishments (groceries, delis, bakeries, restaurants, etc.), Brown investigates the ways in which their Jewish food traditions mixed and morphed with the Southern food traditions surrounding them. Participants will learn how Jewish immigrants were influenced by the African American community in Columbia, as many new immigrant families settled in primarily African American neighborhoods.
Tuesday, Nov. 21 | 12 – 1 p.m. | Seibels House
This Lunch & Learn features studies on one of our own properties. The Seibels House is the oldest house in Columbia, South Carolina, but a passerby would never date it to the turn of the nineteenth century. The Seibels House is comprised of a hodgepodge of rooflines and building materials, making it an architectural oddball. This house has witnessed the city of Columbia’s history unfold, and its mix of architectural styles evidence the way change over time affects a building’s aesthetic and use. USC History graduate student Charlotte Adams explores why Seibels House looks the way it does, and how this reflects layers of history and changing architectural trends.
Lunch & Learn ticket prices are as follows: General Public Series – $30 / USC Faculty and Student Series – $25 / Member Series – $25 / Single Lecture – $12 / Single Lecture (member) – $10 / Single Lecture (USC Faculty/Student) – $10 / My Carolina Member Series – $25 / Teacher member series – Free.
Sid Bedingfield Guest Lecture
Wednesday, Nov. 8 | 7 – 8:30 p.m. | School of Journalism, Room 106
The History Center will be sponsoring a guest lecture by University of Minnesota professor (and USC alumni) Dr. Sid Bedingfield, on his new book Newspaper Wars: Civil Rights and White Resistance in South Carolina, 1935 – 1965 (University of Illinois Press, 2017).
Historic Columbia will carry the book at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills, and we will be at the event to sell copies of the book. This event is free and open to the public.
Sunday, Nov. 12 | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Beth Shalom Synagogue
Columbia Jewish Heritage Initiative (CJHI), a partnership of Historic Columbia, is excited to be part of Beth Shalom Synagogue’s 9th annual Bubbie’s Brisket. As part of a new initiative that explores the southern influences on Jewish cooking called Kugels and Collards, representatives from CJHI will be at the event collecting Jewish family recipes, as well as images of family members, particularly in the kitchen or in the act of preparing food. During the event, CJHI representatives will scan items and will immediately return to the owners. In addition, CJHI will be collecting contact information from guests who are willing to share family stories as part of the broader initiative. This event is free and open to the public. It will take place at Beth Shalom Synagogue, located at 5827 N. Trenholm Rd. in Columbia.
Second Sunday Stroll: Old Shandon
Sunday, Nov. 12 | 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. | Richland Library’s Wheatley Branch
Join HC for a guided walking tour of the Old Shandon neighborhood. With lots laid out in 1893, Old Shandon is accepted as Columbia’s first planned suburb. Named for reverend Peter J. Shand, a former rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Shandon was incorporated as its own town in 1904 and annexed in 1913. An extension of Columbia’s streetcar line into the suburb prompted growth to the south and east over the next few decades.
Today’s “Old Shandon” neighborhood includes the blocks bounded by Maple, Devine, and Heidt sterets, Millwood Avenue, and Martin Luther Kind, Jr. Park.
Second Sunday Strolls provide a guided tour for many of the neighborhoods featured in Historic Columbia’s Retrace: Connecting Communities Through History brochures. Tours are 30-60 minutes in length. Tickets are free for HC members, $8 for adult non-members and $5 for youth non-members.
Walk-ins welcome! For more information, call 803.252.1770 x 23, or email.
Historic Holiday Tours Begin
Nov. 17 – Jan. 2 | All day event | Robert Mills House & Hampton-Preston Mansion
The holiday season is here and Historic Columbia is pulling out all the stops! Visit us through Jan. 2 to see a variety of holiday decorations and traditions in the Robert Mills House and Hampton-Preston Mansion. Guides will provide stories of holidays past in Columbia and discuss how families decorated and entertained during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Historic Holiday Tours are free for HC members, $5 for youth and $8 for adults, and tours run through Dec. 31 with special events and programs happening along the way. For more information, email or call (803) 252-1770 x 23. Events aren’t the only way to celebrate with HC this season. Give a one-of-a-kind present and support Historic Columbia by shopping at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills.
Santa Signing Day at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills
Saturday, Nov. 18 | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | The Gift Shop at Robert Mills
To kick-off the holiday season, Historic Columbia will host their annual Santa Signing from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills House. This free, family-friendly event is the perfect opportunity to get into the holiday spirit, visit with Santa, enjoy holiday activities and begin checking off your shopping list! In addition, guests will have the opportunity to tour the historic basement at the Robert Mills House and see the elves hard at work, gingerbread cookies and goodies baked by Mrs. Claus, and wrapped gifts and hanging stockings by the fireplace. Guests will receive 30 percent off their entire Gift Shop purchase (some exclusions apply) and light refreshments.
Santa signing will take place at the Gift Shop at the Robert Mills House, located at 1616 Blanding Street. Registrations for this free event is strongly encouraged. To register, please email or call (803) 252-1770 x 23.
SC Oyster Festival and $2 Historic House Tours
Sunday, Nov. 19 | 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Robert Mills House & Hampton-Preston Mansion
Columbia, SC’s largest outdoor oyster roast featuring steamed oysters for sell by the bucket. Also enjoy oyster shooters, fried oysters, and oyster gumbo for purchase once inside the festival.
If oysters are not your thing, chose from several other food vendors and ice cold beer for sale. Bring your chairs, blankets, oyster knives, and appetite to the 20th annual event. Enjoy the historic grounds of two of Columbia’s most beautiful house museums, the Robert Mills House and Hampton-Preston Mansion, and from 2 – 4 p.m. tour the houses at a reduced rate of only $2.
Admission is $5 in advance and $10 at the door. Admission fee includes entry to the grounds and live music all day on 2 stages. Arts and Crafts vendors will be on hand displaying their creations. Children under 12 are admitted free and can pay a nominal fee to enjoy amusements and games making for great day for the family. Don’t miss our wine and garden and reduced rates on museum home tours. Admission does NOT include oysters. For more information, visit scoysterfest.com.
Dollar Sunday | Mann-Simons Site
Sunday, Nov. 19 | 1 – 4 p.m. | Mann-Simons Site
Every third Sunday of the month, residents of Richland and Lexington Counties are invited to tour one of Historic Columbia’s house museums for just $1 on Dollar Sunday! On Sunday, Nov. 19, visit the new exhibits at the Mann-Simons Site, the home to the same African-American family for nearly 130 years. The house will be open for guests to tour at their own pace, and guides will be available to answer any questions. Tickets can be purchased at the Mann-Simons Site, located at 1403 Richland Street. General admission prices apply for any house tours after the first tour.
Woodrow Wilson Family Home Volunteer Training
Monday, Nov. 20 | 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. | Hampton-Preston Mansion & Gardens
Historic Columbia invites the public to help share the history of the Woodrow Wilson Family and become a volunteer tour guide of this important site. This training session will consist of the following: a sample tour of the site, an overview of the family, history of the site, broad topics related to the site – Reconstruction, Civil Rights and Urban Renewal – and a day in the life of a volunteer, which will cover logistics of giving tours and other opportunities at the site. Volunteer training is free. Coffee and light refreshments will be provided at the training.
As a volunteer for Historic Columbia, you will:
-Receive a 15% discount on purchases at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills
-Enjoy complimentary admission to our historic museums for yourself and members of your immediate family.
-Attend special Historic Columbia functions for free or at reduced rates.
-Receive a free subscription to Historically Speaking, Historic Columbia’s quarterly newsletter.
-Tour and visit other historic site during monthly volunteer meetings and presentations.
-Plus, make new friends and share experiences with others who have similar passions!
Historic Columbia and all our properties will be closed on Thursday, November 23, for Thanksgiving. The last tour will be given at 11:30 on Wednesday, November 22. Tours will resume at regular hours on Friday, November 24.
The Thanksgiving holiday is a perfect time to enjoy HC’s historic Gardens. The beautiful grounds and gardens of HC’s historic properties are always free and a great way to walk off Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family – or bring a picnic of leftovers! Historic Columbia’s properties include more than 14 acres of landscapes, featuring gardens that range from an expansive park-like setting with an elaborate formal garden to a traditional 19th-century swept yard.
Historic House Museum Tours
Tuesday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Historic Columbia’s historic house museum tours offer a peek into the past! Tour the Robert Mills House & Gardens, Hampton-Preston Mansion & Gardens, Mann-Simons Site or the Woodrow Wilson Family Home to learn more about Columbia’s history. Tours are free for members, $8 for adults, $5 youth (ages 6-17) and free for children under 5. Visit historiccolumbia.org for more information.
Group Tours Historic Columbia is happy to arrange a private guided tour for groups of 10 or more with advance registration. Bus tours are available. To schedule a group tour, call (803) 252-1770 x 23 or email.