Historic Districts are Working for You

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Sean Stucker, Director of Facilities

There has been recent concern over local historic district regulations in certain Columbia neighborhoods. Specifically, some Columbia citizens are concerned over the process owners must follow to renovate or make changes to their historic properties.

Historic Columbia understands how certain regulations might be seen as challenging in the short term, but when dealing with historic properties, it’s important to focus on the long-term benefits.

One major advantage for historic places is property value, plain and simple. National and local studies have shown that properties located in designated historic districts have values above average for their corresponding market. Since the value of your home is directly proportional to the value of your neighbor’s home, following consistent guidelines holds everyone to a higher standard.

There is a savings value as well. For example, repairing existing historic wooden windows is a more cost effective and environmentally-friendly way of maintaining your home.

While vinyl windows are guaranteed to begin failing within 20-30 years after installation, wood windows can be repaired and maintained, and as a result, can last for hundreds of years.

In addition to the value arguments, historic societies and districts have a positive community impact because they give us a unique “sense of place.” Old neighborhoods and their buildings, serve as the tangible backdrop for stories and memories. There is a reason people fall in love with these kinds of places. There’s a reason Soda City Market started in one historic building (701 Whaley) and moved into the heart of a historic district where it (and its home district) has thrived.

The idea people don’t like being told what they can and cannot do with their property has a long history in the Unites States, but the practice of regulating property and its uses has an equally long history. Take, for example, zoning. Most of us think it is a good idea to designate certain property uses away from or in relation to others, and as a result, almost all urban areas in this country have some form of zoning regulations.

There’s also the matter of homeowner associations. HOAs are permitted to place restrictions on things ranging from pet ownership to the types of flags owners can fly outside their homes, from what colors homes can be painted to how tall grass is supposed to be. HOAs can also play a role in the determination of which additions should be made to a house.

Every investment has pros and cons and should be considered through the lens of a cost-benefit analysis. In the case of our built and cultural heritage, the evidence favors preservation.

Check out some images of successful preservation projects in Shandon, Hollywood Rose Hill and Melrose Heights. Also look out for Historic Columbia’s Preservation Workshop series coming up in the spring.

This article was originally published in The Columbia Star.


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Love is Brewing at Historic Columbia

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Historic Columbia’s four downtown properties offer the perfect venue to host your next celebration. Whether it’s a fairy tell wedding, a staff retreat, a birthday party or a family reunion—whatever you need, Historic Columbia can accommodate you and your group.

Emily and Jesse Folk chose to make history on their wedding day at the Seibels House, Columbia’s oldest home. Located in the heart of the Robert Mills Historic District, this property was built around 1796 and has been a place of reflection and celebration for more than 200 years.

It’s easy to make the Seibels House feel like your own with customizable seating layouts as well as a flexibility to fit your style. While the house itself has a classic feel, its versatility allows renters to paint with their own contemporary brush. Emily and Jesse brought their own new Southern style on their wedding day.

The couple was married in the ceremony garden, used the patio and lawn for cocktails and hosted the reception on the home’s first floor. Emily and Jesse strung lights across the lawn to create an open-air “room” for their guests to sip and savor in at dusk. Over the course of an evening, the Seibel’s signature black-and-white tiled sun porch can go from a perfect portrait studio to a cocktail reception space to a dance floor.

The Seibels House also has private suites for the couple and their party to get ready. One suite features two full-length antique mirrors and brick fireplace, while the other affords a beautiful view of the home’s gardens. (A perfect spot to peep at your guests as they arrive!)

The couple put a twist on the typical antipasto spread by switching it up with a custom pickle bar from local favorite War Mouth. Growlers from the couple’s favorite local bars and breweries served as funky and playful centerpieces. (Jesse’s boutonniere was a fun combination of hops & wheat pinned neatly with a Stella Artois bottlecap.) In lieu of a guestbook, folks could sign the gorgeous rings of a cedar tree.

While the Seibels House was the perfect venue for Emily and Jesse, Historic Columbia does offer three other properties for you to choose from: the romantic Robert Mills Carriage House & Gardens, the stately Gardens of the Hampton-Preston Mansion, and the whimsical Gardens of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home.

Too difficult to choose? Why not host your ceremony on the grounds of the Robert Mills House, then stroll across to the magnolia alley at Hampton-Preston for the reception? Or have your rehearsal dinner in the Robert Mills Carriage House, and your ceremony under the canopy at Woodrow Wilson?

We invite you to explore the possibilities and schedule a tour. Our rental coordinator, Brittany Buckner, is here to make your event one for the history books. To learn more, visit www.HistoricColumbia.org/Rentals, call (803) 252-7742 ext. 11 or email bbuckner@historiccolumbia.org.


Photographer: Alexis Schwallier

Tables/Chairs/linens: Something Borrowed

Catering: Hudson’s Classic Catering

Pickle Bar: Zarah Newton from The War Mouth

Invitation: Ali Loncar

Guest Book: Crafted by the best man

Hair & Make Up: Amy from Metropolis Salon

Bouquet & Florals: Mother of the bride

Centerpieces & decorations: Crafted by the bride

Koozies: Image Ink

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