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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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.
Since 2003, Columbia’s young professionals have gathered on the lawn at Robert Mills to usher in the fall season with the Bluegrass, Bidding, and BBQ fundraising event.
Presented by Jaguar Land Rover Columbia from 7–10 p.m., Thursday, October 19, this Palladium Society sponsored-event features live music, local food, specialty drinks, and one of Columbia’s most highly anticipated silent auctions.
The Palladium Society at Historic Columbia is a dynamic organization of young professionals who supports the mission of Historic Columbia through educational, social and fundraising initiatives. BBBBQ is one of the organization’s signature events held throughout the year.
Carroll Heyward, president of the Palladium Society Board, encourages members of the Columbia community to attend.
“There is something for everyone to enjoy at this event, including live bluegrass music, unique silent auction items and local barbecue,” said Heyward. “And 100 percent of the proceeds generated from the auction go to support Historic Columbia. At last year’s event we raised more than $15,000 was raised to support HC’s educational programming.”
The silent auction boasts a wide range of items up for bidding, 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, hand-crafted artworks, gift cards to local restaurants, boutiques, gyms, and much more.
Local barbecue, fixings, and a cookie bar will be provided by Savvy Foods, a local caterer who focuses on creative ways to share barbecue, southern cuisine, and craft sauces. Vegetarian options will also be available. A bartender will be on site serving specialty cocktails, beer, and wine.
Hailing from Columbia, the Mustache Brothers will headline the evening with bluegrass classics and modern favorites.
Ticket prices are $25 for TPS members, $35 for Historic Columbia members, and $45 for the public.
Tickets are $50 at the door. Become a Palladium Society member and save half off door prices. Food and beverages are included with ticket purchase.
All proceeds support Historic Columbia. CLICK HERE for more information and to purchase tickets.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.com, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.com, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
By James Quint, director of education, Historic Columbia
During its 230-year-history, many travelers ventured to Columbia in order to interact with politicians and businessmen in the budding state capital. Even more travelled here to work, to trade, or to sell their goods from the far corners of the state. Some come to learn at Columbia’s colleges and universities. Unquestionably, the most famous visitor of the 18th century was George Washington when he made his stop during his tour of the South in 1791.
On August 21, hundreds of thousands of guests will arrive in the Midlands, as it has been named the best place on the East Coast to watch the total solar eclipse with 2 minutes 36 seconds of totality. As our state prepares to welcome record crowds, city services, law enforcement, cultural organizations and a variety of other groups prepare for an influx not seen since Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1987.
While Myrtle Beach and Charleston may be viewed as the tourist meccas of South Carolina, and to be fair there are many others, including Columbia, our city has an array of engaging activities to ensure a positive experience for those visiting during this historic weekend. Residents and visitors will look to the sky at 2:41 p.m. on to see the Great American Eclipse, which may be one of the most visually impressive events of their lifetime.
Undoubtedly visitors from all over the world will want to learn more about Columbia’s history and culture, which is why Historic Columbia has planned a series of events and tours to engage them in our rich past.
Our community’s longtime connections with the military will be explored during a Historic Water Balloon Battle Happy Hour on Friday, August 18 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. This popular annual event will explore military tactics in ways that will also cool participants in famously hot Columbia with more than 1,700 water balloons. Thousands of water balloons will be discharged in four battles tracing tactics used in the Revolutionary War, World War I and later 20th century conflicts.
Walking tours of Main Street and the Vista will be offered simultaneously at 9 and 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings and are perfect options for folks to explore the area’s architecture, development and history.
More than 600 people will gather at the historic Robert Mills House & Gardens on Monday afternoon to watch the Eclipse. While this event is sold out, the gardens and grounds are open daily to the public and free to access during normal business hours – so be sure to come and visit on another day.
Just as city leaders and residents welcomed George Washington in 1791, we hope you’ll join us in welcoming the thousands who will arrive in the Midlands and encourage them to learn more about our city and county. Visit historiccolumbia.org to learn more about the events scheduled during Total Eclipse Weekend.
We are getting so excited about the historic total eclipse coming to Columbia in just two weeks! Whether you’re a seasoned celestial aficionado, or a newbie to historic astronomical phenomenon, we’ve got all your eclipse viewing needs covered at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills!