As Historic Columbia gears up for the 200th anniversary of the Hampton-Preston Mansion and a comprehensive re-interpretation of the site, we have organized a series of training events for our volunteer interpretive guides and staff. The first of these was held on May 22, 2017 at the Robert Mills House and Gardens. For those of you who weren’t able to join us, we made a video of each talk.
9:45am-10:00am- Registration Check-in, Coffee & Pastries
10:00am-11:30am- The Hampton and Preston families involvement in the Civil War
11:30am-12:30pm- Lunch (available @ $10/person)
12:30pm-2:00pm- Late 19th and early 20th century women’s education
2:15pm-3:45pm- Life of enslaved and free blacks at the end and after the Civil War
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.
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.
For sisters Elizabeth (McElveen) Yountz, Robin (McElveen) Ragans, and Dale (McElveen) Jaeger, a recent visit to the Hampton-Preston Mansion was an exciting opportunity to see Chicora College, the Alma Mater of their grandmother Sarah Cornelia Cockfield. “It was a real thrill to see her in the annuals and see the ‘dorm’ room that she experienced,” said Elizabeth (Cornee) Yountz. Cockfield, who grew up in Johnsonville near Lake City, graduated from Chicora in 1918. Historic Columbia was pleased to offer the sisters access to our collection of Chicora College yearbooks which contain many photographs of their grandmother that they had not seen before.
The Presbyterian College for Women merged with Greenville’s Chicora College to form Chicora College for Women in 1915. The school remained on Blanding Street at the Hampton-Preston property until 1930.
Urban legend has it that the popularity of aluminum trees like this one declined sharply after the 1965 Charlie Brown Christmas Special. In the cartoon, he picks a scrawny but natural tree instead of Lucy’s preference for “the biggest aluminum tree you can find.” The natural tree leads to Charlie Brown re-discovering the true meaning of Christmas. Once Linus’ blanket was thrown around the base of that needle-dropping pine, the aluminum Christmas tree was doomed.
This glittering survivor, and the suitcase, reminds us that the Hampton-Preston mansion was once a hotel for tourists. At the height of the aluminum Christmas tree fad in the late 1950s and mid-1960s, there were over thirty manufacturers of silver trees in the United States. This tree, made by the Peco Company in Austell, Georgia, had never been opened or used before it was donated to Historic Columbia in 2013.
The holiday season is nearly upon us, and Historic Columbia is pulling out all the stops. Starting Friday, November 21, see a variety of holiday decorations and traditions in the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion and Mann-Simons Site. 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 January 4 with special events and programs happening along the way:
Santa Signing. Saturday, Nov. 22. Visit the Gift Shop at Robert Mills for a storewide one-day sale of 30% off all holiday trim décor and gift items! Our Victorian Santa will visit from 1 to 3 p.m. to sign free coloring pages for the little ones and take photos. Families will be able to buy a Santa Key and Reindeer Treats to help Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve and enjoy cookies and drinks while shopping. During this free event, register for giveaways for a great holiday stocking packed with or for a beautiful holiday wreath for Mom or Dad.
Historic Holidays Family Day. Saturday, Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. Enjoy the holidays in the decorated Robert Mills House and learn about the history of several holiday traditions while enjoying holiday crafts and activities as a family. Family Day is free for adults and HC member youth and $6 for non-member youth.
Choir Showcase & $1 Tours. Saturday, Dec. 6 at noon. Local elementary schools will provide musical entertainment in front of the Robert Mills House for the community. This event is free and open to the public, and HC invites you to enjoy special $1 Historic Holiday Tours during the event.
Candlelight Tours & Carriage Rides. Friday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. Visit the decorated halls of our historic house museums on a guided candlelight tour. Enjoy musical entertainment and children’s activities while celebrating the holidays with HC. Before or after your house tour, enjoy a carriage ride through the Robert Mills historic district. Carriage rides are $5 per person, and tours are $12 for adults, $8 for youth and free for HC members.
Breakfast with Santa. Saturday, Dec. 20 at 8 a.m. Enjoy a continental breakfast in our cozy Carriage House while listening to seasonal music. After breakfast, take a festive tour through Hampton-Preston Mansion, see a Victorian Christmas tree and make a holiday craft. Don’t forget to get a picture with HC’s Victorian Santa Claus! Admission is $10 for HC member adults, $3 for HC member youth, $12 for non-member adults, $4 for non-member youth ages 4 to 12 and free for kids 3 and under.
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; visit historiccolumbia.org to find more about upcoming sales and events.
Thinking about renting a Historic Columbia property for your event this winter? Schedule your event by November 30 and save 15%! For more information, contact Heather Bacon-Rogers at email@example.com, and learn more about the properties available for rent at historiccolumbia.org.
This guest blog was written by HC Director of Cultural Resources John Sherrer.
For many Columbians the Carolina Cup marks the beginning of spring and an opportunity to don festive clothing and dust off tailgating finery for one of the social events of the year. More often than not, eyes are trained on the latest fashions—Lilly Pulitzer, LaRoque and Vineyard Vines—than on the four-legged fascinations charging along the racecourse. While the “look” may be quite different, the pastimes contemporary partygoers pursue nonetheless have deep roots in local history. Camden and Aiken may hold the distinction of being horse towns today but Columbia claimed that moniker during the 19th century.
Connections to that Columbia’s equine past remain within Historic Columbia’s museum collection, which features no fewer than five very significant artifacts formerly owned by the socially prominent Hampton and Preston families, the former of which was well known for its breeding of fine race horses. Two of the most famous pieces are portraits by artist Edward Troye (1808-1874). The first, HCF1972.104, portrays Marie West and foal, Cornelia, sired by Priam, and the second, HCF 1972.105, showcases another Hampton family horse, “Fannie.” Celebrated for their anatomically accurate depictions, Troye portraits remain highly prized artifacts among art collectors today.
The families’ interest in horse racing was also manifested in two silver vessels. Inscribed, “Won by Ormond for Harriet,” HCF1972.143.1, is a coin silver ewer made by the Baltimore silversmith firm of S. Kirk and Son. The other coin silver piece, HCF1972.144.1, is the work of Bailey and Kitchens from Philadelphia, and includes likenesses of a mare and foal among its extensive repoussè details. Lastly, the international appreciation of horse mastery is embodied in a delicate gold and amber riding crop (HCF1985.4.1) formerly owned by Sarah Buchanan Campbell Preston, aka “Buckie” Preston. Famed for her beauty, Buckie’s prowess in the equine arts caught the attention of Napoleon III, Emperor of the Second French Empire, during her time abroad before the Civil War. His thoughtful gift to her bears her nickname and retains its original presentation case!
These tangible links to the past tell us much about those citizens who came before us while illustrating how the foundation of today’s interests was established long ago. To learn more about the Historic Columbia’s museum collection or to visit the historic house museums under the stewardship of Historic Columbia, visit historiccolumbia.org.
Join Historic Columbia for its annual Candlelight Tours and Carriage Rides on Friday, Dec. 20.
Beginning at 5:30 p.m., visitors can explore the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion and Mann-Simons Site by candlelight. HC’s historic house museums are decorated for the season and give a glimpse into the holiday traditions of Columbians from 1825 to 1900.
During your visit to Historic Columbia, enjoy musical performances by Corner House at the Robert Mills House from 7 to 9 p.m. and by Jennifer Hill at the Hampton-Preston Mansion from 6 to 8 p.m. Before or after your house tour, take a carriage ride through the Robert Mills Historic District for only $5. Don’t forget to stop by the Gift Shop at Robert Mills for the holiday open house throughout the evening for a storewide sale as well as refreshments, holiday tunes and a chance for register for HC’s happy holiday gift basket giveaway!
Candlelight Tours are free for HC members, $8 for adults and $5 for youth. Reservations are not required, and the last tour starts at 9 p.m. For more information, call 803.252.1770 x 23 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall is nearly here, and Historic Columbia is ready to celebrate the season with two popular annual exhibits, Scarecrows in the Garden and A House in Mourning.
Scarecrows in the Garden
Scarecrows in the Garden displays handcrafted scarecrows from local families, classrooms, businesses and organizations through the month of October. The free exhibit is open during regular touring hours and also includes a scavenger hunt and a search for the “Sneaky Steve” scarecrow.
Scarecrows in the Garden Contest. Registration ends Sept. 27. Enter your ghoulish, traditional or historical scarecrows in our contest; prizes include cash, awards and tour passes. The cost is $10 for families, individuals and classrooms and $20 for businesses and organizations.
Sculpting Scarecrows Weekend Workshop: Sunday, Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. Take a lesson in scarecrow creation and take your scarecrow home or enter it in the contest. For $15, participants receive helpful instructions, assistance and a scarecrow kit.
Scarecrows in the Garden Opening Reception and Awards: Sunday, Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. The exhibit debuts as local celebrities and community leaders judge the best scarecrows. Admission for HCF members is $5 for adults and free for children and for non-members, $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 6 – 12, and free for kids 5 and under.
Scarecrows in the Garden Family Day: Saturday, Oct. 26 at 12 p.m. “People’s Choice Award” and “Best Class Crow” winning scarecrows will be announced as children enjoy a variety of activities and games that highlight the importance of the fall harvest and Halloween’s history. The event is $6 for the first child and $3 for each additional child or free for HCF members.
A House in Mourning
From Sept. 27 until Halloween, A House in Mourning at the Hampton-Preston Mansion will introduce visitors to 19th century mourning traditions and compare them to ones we observe today. Strict social customs required Victorian Americans to publicly demonstrate their sadness in specific ways, including stages of mourning clothing. Today, mourning the loss of a loved one is thought to be much more private than in the past- but is it really? The exhibit will show that our modern forms of public mourning, including Facebook pages, roadside memorials and tattoos are not so different than those of our Victorian ancestors. The exhibit will be incorporated into regularly scheduled tours of Hampton-Preston Mansion, and admission is $6 for adults, $3 for youth and free for Historic Columbia members.
Historic Columbia is inviting the public to contribute to A House in Mourning by collecting current pictures and stories of public mourning. Use the hashtag #HouseInMourning on Twitter and Facebook throughout the month to share photos and experiences with HCF. (Not all submissions will be used in the exhibit.)
For the last five years, Historic Columbia Foundation has offered a FREE Scarecrows in the Garden Exhibit. This year the Hampton-Preston Mansion hosts more than 30 uniquely-crafted scarecrows from area businesses, schools, families and organizations. The family-friendly exhibit has been getting some attention from our local media partners.
On Tuesday, October 2, WIS TV hosted their live 5 -7 am broadcast from the Hampton-Preston Mansion gardens. They highlighted the Hampton-Preston Mansion Garden Rehabilitation project and the free Scarecrows in the Garden Exhibit. Check out the accompanying online article here.
WACH Fox highlighted some of the Foundation’s fall programs also. Check out the online article here.
About the Exhibit:
The FREE Scarecrows in the Garden Exhibit is open during touring hours, Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 4 pm and Sunday 1 – 5 pm. Take a stroll through our historic Hampton-Preston grounds and garden to view dozens of uniquely-crafted scarecrows from area businesses, schools, families, and organizations. The exhibit showcases ghoulish, historical, and colorful scarecrows for all to enjoy. Find our “Sneaky Steve” scarecrow who is hiding somewhere on the grounds but moves to a new location each week. Also, enjoy a scavenger hunt and select your favorite scarecrow.