Our historic homes aren’t just the perfect backdrop for a wedding or reception. We’re also a wonderful place to host corporate events and luncheons.
Located in Downtown Columbia, you and your guests don’t have to venture far from the office to get away for an hour or two.
In March, Seibels House welcomed the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN) as they hosted their Be Bold for a Change luncheon. Nearly one hundred women gathered together to celebrate the achievements of women in the Columbia community. Because of its unique floorplan, Seibels House can accommodate layouts for groups of all sizes. And because tables and chairs are provided with your rental at the Seibels House, setup and breakdown are streamlined letting you to get back to business.
Because it was a daytime event, WREN opted to use a valet service. (We recommend Southern Valet.) While there is plenty of free street parking around Seibels, events with more than fifty attendees may find a valet helpful.
As guests entered, they were greeted by WREN staff and shown to their tables. During lunch, a presentation was given in the foyer, followed by breakout tabletop discussions in smaller groups.
Following lunch, desserts were served on the sunporch. Always a popular choice, Spotted Salamander—located right next door at 1531 Richland Street—catered the luncheon. (We can’t get enough of their cupcakes and their crack pie—it’s just as addictive as it sounds.)
The sunporch doors open directly into the gardens, so guests can network in nature.
As they left the luncheon, guests were presented with a rose and personalized wine glass to commemorate the event.
Whether you’re looking to host a luncheon, workshop, professional development session, or anything in between, we welcome you at Seibels House and Garden. Our door is always open!
Historic Columbia is pleased to announce a new partnership with SYNOVUS/NBSC and AgFirst Farm Credit Bank, to support enhanced interpretation of the Hampton-Preston Mansion & Gardens. The goal of this project is to meet the educational needs and expectations of 21st century visitors to one of Richland County’s and Columbia’s most historically significant and publicly accessible sites. The Virtual Tour is anticipated to launch in culmination of the Hampton-Preston Mansion’s bicentennial anniversary in 2018.
Embracing 21st century digital technology, Historic Columbia is developing an expanded guest experience through a new virtual tour of the Hampton-Preston Mansion. This virtual tour will bring the site to life for onsite visitors, students in the classroom, and remote visitors. The virtual tour will provide a unique, personal, and more nuanced story of the historic site.
The virtual tour will feature historic images, 360-degree videos, drone aerial photography and a touch-screen interactive element through which individuals can learn more about objects in the collection.
In addition, first person interpretation of individuals who lived and worked at the site will be included. Support of this project enables Historic Columbia to expand services and visitation to a broader population including students, residents and tourists.
AgFirst Farm Credit Bank and SYNOVUS/NBSC’s investment will ensure that Historic Columbia continues to interpret Richland County’s rich and diverse history with modern, cutting-edge technology and to provide a significant impact on visitors, students, and virtual visitors.
By creating these materials with 21st-century skills and South Carolina state educational standards in mind, the result will be a body of information accessed through a platform of various learning styles that will be dynamic, effective, and lasting.
For more information on how to support this project and other improvements taking place at the Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens, contact Wendi Spratt at 803.252.7742 x12 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet new people, learn new skills and discover the history and culture of Columbia and Richland County by volunteering with Historic Columbia at the Mann-Simons Site.
Historic Columbia invites the public to help share the history of the Mann-Simons family and become a volunteer tour guide of the newly interpreted site during the Mann-Simons Site Volunteer Training on Monday, Oct. 9 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 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: slavery, Jim Crow, 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.
Oct. 1 – 31 | All Day Event | Gardens of the Robert Mills House
Scarecrows have taken over the Robert Mills House gardens! This free exhibit features handcrafted scarecrows made by local families, business, organizations and classrooms. On a stroll through the gardens this fall, you’ll see dozens of ghoulish, historic and colorful scarecrows. Keep an eye out for “Sneaky Steve,” a mischievous scarecrow hiding somewhere on the grounds in a new location each week. For information, visit historiccolumbia.org, email email@example.com, or call (803) 252-1770 x 23.
Thursday, Oct. 5 | 6 – 7:30 p.m. | 4100 Block on Kilbourne St. in Heathwood
Get an inside look at former home of Lester Bates Jr. This architect-designed mid-century home is nestled in the Heathwood neighborhood. Current owners will share stories of curating modern furniture on a budget, as well as a few renovation trials and tribulations. This house showcases some of the most quintessential mid-century furnishings designed by Harvey Probber, Florence Knoll, Thayer Coggins, Heywood-Wakefield, Eero Saarinen, and the architectural style of the home and extensive use of glass and open design concepts to help forge a connection with nature. It was designed by Robert Jackson, Jr., whose firm, Jackson and Miller Architects, also designed Palmetto Health Baptist hospital and the former Maxwell Furniture store on Main Street. Take a walk through a home so carefully restored, you’ll feel like an extra from Mad Men.
Tickets are $25 for members and $30 for non-members, and registration is for members only until Sept. 28. For more information, email or call (803) 252-7742 x 15.
Historic Columbia’s 2017 Preservation Workshop series, presented by Crawlspace Medic, returns in October. Historic Columbia and the Committee for the Restoration and Beautification of Randolph Cemetery (CRBRC) will host a Preservation Workshop at the Seibels House to explore the ins and outs of renovating and maintaining a historic house. The workshop, led by Sean Stucker, director of facilities for Historic Columbia, and Staci Richey, owner of Access Preservation (which specializes in window restoration) and board member of the CRBRC, will lead attendees through a presentation and discussion that offers tips and examines how to plan, outline and manage a home rehab project. Participants will go on to explore work done over the decades at the Seibels House and will have the chance to check out ongoing and recent renovations at several neighboring properties. The Seibels House is located at 1601 Richland St. Light refreshments are included, and tickets for the workshop are $5 for members and $10 for non-members. To purchase tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (803) 252-1770 x 23.
Sunday, Oct. 8 | 2 – 3:30 p.m. | Tour begins at Melrose Park
Explore the Melrose Heights neighborhood with Historic Columbia from 2 – 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 8 during the monthly Second Sunday Stroll presented by Seed Architecture. The guided walking tour will travel through the historic neighborhood, which was recently listed as an historic site on the National Register of Historic Places. Stops will include highlights of various architectural styles, kit homes popular in the 1910s and historic locations in one of Columbia’s earliest suburbs. The tour will begin at Melrose Park located at 1500 Fairview Drive. Tickets are free for members and $8/adult and $5/youth for non-members. To purchase tickets, visit historccolumbia.org, email email@example.com, or call (803) 252-1770 x 23.
Historic Columbia invites the public to help share the history of the Mann-Simons family and become a volunteer tour guide of the newly interpreted 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: slavery, Jim Crow, 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 percent 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.
Grab your flashlights and join Historic Columbia and Elmwood Cemetery staff for guided tours presenting some of Columbia’s eerie and peculiar past by the light of the moon. Different than the regular monthly tours, Spirits Alive! Cemetery Tours feature costumed tour guides, snacks and other Halloween-related activities. Tickets are $8/adults and $4/youth for members and $12/adult and $6/youth for non-members. To purchase tickets, visit historccolumbia.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (803) 252-1770 x 23.
Sunday, Oct. 15 | 1 – 4 p.m. | Woodrow Wilson Family Home
Residents of Richland and Lexington Counties are invited to take a guided tour of one of our historic museums for just $1. This month, visit the Woodrow Wilson Family Home for Dollar Sunday. General admission prices apply for any house tours after the first. Walk-ins welcome! Tours leave at the top of the hour from 1 – 4 p.m. Purchase admission and meet for tours at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills. For information, visit historccolumbia.org, email email@example.com, or call (803) 252-1770 x 23.
Thursday, Oct. 19 | 7 – 10 p.m. | Robert Mills House & Gardens
Join Historic Columbia’s The Palladium Society (TPS) at the 14th annual Bluegrass, Bidding & BBQ fundraiser presented by Jaguar Land Rover Columbia. This annual celebration of live music, delicious barbeque, specialty drinks and an assortment of silent auction items will be held from 7 – 10 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19 on the grounds of the Robert Mills House & Gardens, located at 1616 Blanding Street in downtown Columbia. This year’s silent auction will feature a variety of items, including destination packages to historic cities across the Southeast, experiential packages to explore local cultural sites, behind-the-scenes tours of Columbia’s hot spots, gift cards to restaurants, boutiques, gyms and much more. Ticket prices are $25 for TPS members, $35 for Historic Columbia members and $45 for the general public. Tickets are $50 at the door. All proceeds will support Historic Columbia. For information, visit historccolumbia.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call
Friday, Oct. 27 | 5:30 – 7 p.m. | Robert Mills House Parking Lot
Put on your costume and join Historic Columbia as we bring the fun of Halloween to the Robert Mills House during Trunk or Treat! Children will enjoy trick-or-treating with a twist in a safe and fun environment. Community members and organizations will display decorated trunks filled with candy in the parking lot of the Robert Mills House. Awards and prizes for best costumes and best decorated trunk will be given at 6:45 p.m. Don’t forget to visit the Gift Shop at Robert Mills and check out the Scarecrows in the Garden during this free event!
Trunk or Treat Vehicle Participation: Historic Columbia is accepting registrations for businesses and organizations and families to place a decorated vehicle at the event. This is a great opportunity for businesses and organizations to promote their mission, give away branded merchandise, and hand out candy to hundreds of children at a free community event.
Registered vehicles should arrive between 4:30 and 5:15 p.m. When giving out toys prizes or candy, remember that children will range in age from infants to young teens. Electricity will not be provided to registered vehicles in the event area, so please bring flashlights. Attendance is estimated at 400 families for the event. Please plan accordingly. For information, visit historiccolumbia.org, email email@example.com or call (803) 252-1770 x 23.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Saturday, Sept. 16, thousands of people made their way to the Mann-Simons Site for the 39th Annual Jubilee: Festival of Black History & Culture.
Special thanks goes to our wonderful sponsors without whom, this festival would not be possible.
Thanks also to our fantastic vendors, stalwart volunteers, dedicated HC staff and everyone who came out on this beautiful day to celebrate African American music, culture and history in Columbia, South Carolina. See you next year for the 40th Anniversary of Jubilee!
For the whole album of Jubilee 2017 images, CLICK HERE.
If you joined us at Jubilee and are interested in volunteering to give tours of this important house, please consider coming to the Mann-Simons Volunteer Training on Oct. 9 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. to find out more!
This year’s festival will celebrate the lives of two of South Carolina’s most influential musicians—John Blackwell and Skipp Pearson—both of whom died earlier this year.
Blackwell was a Columbia native who landed his breakthrough appearance playing with Patti LaBelle on her Grammy-winning LP, Live! One Night Only. In 2000, Prince recruited Blackwell to play drums in his band, New Power Generation, which he did for more than a decade. Blackwell appears on several of Prince’s LPs, including 2003’s N.E.W.S.
Pearson, South Carolina’s Ambassador of Jazz, was a native of Orangeburg where he purchased his first saxophone for $.50. During his more than 50 year career, Pearson shared the stage with Otis Redding, Parri LaBelle, Miles Davis, and Sam Cooke, among many others. In 2008, Pearson performed at President Barack Obama’s inaugural ball in Washington. For nearly 17 years, he played jazz at Hunter-Gatherer every Thursday.
To honor the memory of these two musicians, the Jubilee Festival will celebrate the musical lineage of South Carolina with a headlining performance by Cheri Maree. Maree is an international recording artist, songwriter and author who brings “soul jazz” to the center stage. A multi-talented vocalist and musician raised in Columbia, S.C., Cheri’s eclectic sound and style have graced the stage with legendary Grammy-winning artists, including Patti LaBelle, Al Jarreau, Hootie and the Blowfish and Brian McKnight.
A handful of other performances from South Carolina musicians – representing a variety of genres, including R&B, jazz, gospel and soul – will take place throughout the festival.
Jubilee will feature historic storytelling, artist demonstrations and family-friendly activities. Throughout the day, guests are invited to take house tours of the Mann-Simons Site and the Modjeska Monteith Simkins House for $1 and take the African American Historic Sites Bus Tour for $2. In addition, there will be a variety of outdoor vendors selling food, beverages, art and wares.
Historic Columbia invites you to experience the free Jubilee festival at the Mann-Simons Site (1403 Richland Street) from 11 am – 6 pm on Saturday, September 16.
This article was written by Fielding Freed, Historic Columbia director of historic house museums, after the 1000-year flood in South Carolina almost two years ago. With the devastation in Houston and the impending arrival of Irma, we think it is very relevant today.
Every time a hurricane approaches the South Carolina coast, residents are reminded to put important papers in a readily accessible, waterproof box to make it easier to grab on the way out the door during an evacuation. Most Columbians who were victims of the recent flood did not have that luxury. For those whose irreplaceable family papers, photographs and artworks were waterlogged, there is a limited amount of time for successful recovery. Even though we are more than two weeks after the flood, if you have waterlogged papers, photographs, or artwork that have not been cared for yet there are a few things you can still do:
Freezing can buy you more time. A freezer with a “frost-free” setting can, over months, dry out items (“freeze-drying”), which can be preferable to air drying.
If a stack of family photos are stuck together, you can use distilled water to re-wet them then slowly ease them apart for air drying. Soak them in the water if needed.
Mold and mildew can be removed if it has already begun to bloom, but do not use chemical cleaners. Mild soap and water will work.
Avoid drying wet things in direct sunlight if possible.
Use paper towels to blot off excess water. Newspapers can rub ink onto other paper.
Un-frame works of art or photos behind glass if wet.
Many water-damaged items can be repaired or conserved—do not be too hasty in throwing them away.
One way to think about the situation is that the photographs and papers contain information that we want to preserve. Sometimes we just cannot save the originals. So, even if your family photos or papers were badly damaged, you can still take a digital photo of them which can be digitally corrected and printed later. You can then dispose of the originals, especially if they become a health hazard. No matter where we live in South Carolina, having those important family papers and photographs duplicated electronically and stored safely before a natural disaster is a lesson we can all learn from the floods caused by Hurricane Joaquin.
Beth Bilderback, Visual Materials Archivist at USC’s South Caroliniana Library, assists David Fulmer with dozens of flood water damages renderings drawn by his late father, preservation architect William Fulmer. The South Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects sponsored the salvage of the collection.
Homeschool Friday returns, and Historic Columbia invites homeschool students to participate on the first Friday of each month between September and May. Each month’s program is from 10-11:30 a.m. and includes engaging hands-on activities for students to explore the history of Columbia and Richland County. These dynamic programs are designed for elementary and middle school-aged students.
On Friday, Sept. 1, students will take a walking tour through the historic Olympia Mill Village where they will learn the history of working men and women in the late 19th through the mid-20th century. This off-site program will explore several historic buildings in the Olympia Mill Village including the Union Hall where workers gathered to fight for better working conditions, including restrictions on child labor in Columbia. Students will learn of the varied uses of today’s 701 Whaley at a time when it served as a company store, bowling alley, library, and dance hall..
On Friday, Oct. 6, the program will introduce students to the history of Columbia’s German population, which arrived during the city’s earliest years. In addition to learning the many contributions immigrants made to the city. Students will explore various German cultural customs, including pretzel making and yodeling. As the year goes on, programs include a cross-section of the city’s music history, ￼ a study in foodways, presidential visits in South Carolina, civil rights, and women’s history (to name a few).
Registration is available for individual programs as well as a year-long package. Advanced tickets are $5 per student for members and $6 per student for nonmembers. Tickets bought at-the-door are $8 regardless of membership status. Accompanying adults get in free.
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.
We were all amazed at the total solar eclipse that made its historic path over South Carolina this past Monday. Thanks to everyone who joined us from near and far to witness history in the making #OnThisSpot in Columbia, S.C.
There were a few pieces published at the end of last week that we want to highlight, just in case you missed them. The following article was published initially in The Columbia Star on August 17.
In the Path of Totality
By John Sherrer, director of cultural resources, Historic Columbia
Have you ever been in the path of something that you cannot escape? Have you ever been faced with an event that cannot be avoided? Such situations often elicit anxiety or even dread. What if you knew exactly when and where such an event was to occur? What would you do? How would you prepare?
Rather than with anxiety and dread, it has been with rapt anticipation that Columbians have readied themselves for an astronomical event noteworthy of history books. We, and the anticipated hundreds of thousands of visitors to the capital city, stand in path of totality. On Monday, August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will cast us in darkness. Day will become night, as this breathtaking phenomenon impacts the city like no other has in generations.
Stories of earlier solar eclipses, recorded by The State newspaper reveal the concerns, preparations and observations of our forebears while providing us with intriguing glimpses into the capital city they knew. For instance, the total solar eclipse of June 8, 1918 found Columbia lying far northeast from its path of totality. Leading up to the event, which would ultimately cast a modest shadow on the city, writers offered that, “The moon and sun in their glory cannot greatly eclipse Columbia.” Looking forward, on June 12, a correspondent concluded, “We ought to be able to pay some attention to the next eclipse, which is scheduled for 2017. The [First World] War should be over by that time, even according to . . . some of our own choicest pessimists.”
A little less than two decades earlier, on May 29, 1900, Columbians and other South Carolinians witnessed an eclipse of greater local impact, as they found themselves just outside of the path of totality for an event that engrossed most citizens but particularly “scientists, professors, students, ministers and ladies galore,” who traveled to the town of Little Mountain for a better view. Their journey involved rising early, making their respective ways to various electric streetcar stops and congregating at the train station where they boarded eight cars for the 30-mile trek.
They carried with them window panes and broken bottles caked in smoke from “lightwood splinter,” or fat wood to protect themselves from the eclipse’s harmful light. Following the event, in which animals were said to bed down for the night and birds ceased their songs, the 450-strong crowd returned to Columbia, many with “sooty nose or blackened cheek” from their protective “glasses” and several suffering from “barked shoes [and] torn dresses.” These inconveniences aside, their brush with the path of totality left many of them with an incomparable lifetime memory.
Soon, we, too, will experience an event of our lives. Unlike those of our predecessors’ our solar eclipse experience places us directly in the path of totality. But, while Columbia will be bathed in total darkness, albeit briefly, the sun and the moon will not truly eclipse the excitement and celebration citizens of and visitors to the capital city will enjoy during this once-in-a-lifetime event #OnThisSpot where #HistoryIsCool.
And this article was part of our #ThrowbackThursday collaboration with Cola Today.
Total Eclipses #OnThisSpot
The last total eclipse to cross the US was in 1918, but on the eastern seaboard, it only crossed through Orlando.
The last time the path of totality touched South Carolina was on May 28, 1900.
The very edge of the path skirted the City of Columbia creating a dusky haze for a few moments, according to eye witness accounts.
USC’s Garnet and Black noted that a total solar eclipse would be visible in Columbia on May 28, 1900 in their annual school calendar (they made it a holiday).
South Carolinian Oscar Montgomery Lieber (eldest son of Francis Lieber, who lived at South Carolina College and is the namesake of the admissions building) traveled to Labrador in 1860 on an “Eclipse Expedition” and recorded his findings in an attempt to have them published (it never was).
During the 1900 eclipse, some folks were not too impressed with the spectacle. John Coleman Feaster, a native of Fairfield County was a farmer who wrote in his diary on May 28, 1900: “We all saw the total eclipse of the Sun this AM, i.e. Gussie, Wife, Self, and Pen James. I plowed some corn and watermelons this A.M. Wife and Gussie gone to Pelt’s.” (But were they Bradford watermelons, tho?)
Apparently nonplussed by the potential for cosmic event, the State only mentioned the total eclipse once in their May 28, 1900 issue. The next day? Almost every page was devoted to the event.
Why should you get pumped over this eclipse? Solar eclipses aren’t uncommon. Usually, however, you have to travel out of your way to see them—swim to the middle of the ocean, freeze in Labrador, etc. Never again in our lifetimes will the path of totality cross through our backyards. So while people from Texas and Maine and Nevada are scrambling to find a Columbia hotel room, we can post up in our lawn chairs for an early happy hour next Monday.
The couple chose to host their intimate ceremony indoors, at the Robert Mills Carriage House. As thunder rolled overhead, the couple and their guests gathered together to celebrate the spirit of love and adventure.
The wedding had a refined bohemian ambiance with the bride donning a custom crown of greenery for her walk down the aisle. Not to be outshined—Ben’s bright floral-printed tie lent additional playfulness to the ceremony.
The reception was held under a tent on the back lawn with an open-air dance floor adjacent. Even rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of the wedding party who chose to dance in the storm.
The grounds were given an additional aura of romance by lighting installations provided by Ambient Media. Rope lights hung from the trees to create an atmosphere of enchantment on the lawn of the Robert Mills House and Gardens.
To top it all off, the couple processed through a tunnel of sparklers at the end of the night. Their last kiss was truly a scene for the history books.