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.
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.
Historic Columbia’s house museums will be closed Saturday, July 4, but you can still get your fill of history this month with a moonlight stroll through Elmwood Cemetery, a dollar tour of Historic Columbia’s Robert Mills House and more.
One hundred and sixty years of history will come to life during our popular Cemetery Tours! Grab your flashlight as we tour one of Columbia’s oldest cemeteries and discover centuries of stories etched in stone on the markers and headstones preserved within Elmwood Cemetery’s acres of carefully planned grounds. The perfect after-work activity, Historic Columbia’s cemetery tours are an event the whole family will enjoy.
History will come to life through interactive activities and exploration of the gardens, grounds and houses of Historic Columbia. Children ages 8 to 12 are invited to take an adventure in time as we explore what it was like to live in the past! Each day, kids will have a mission to explore a different aspect of history including food, archaeology, music, art, storytelling and even silent film through games, crafts and play.
Registration is required. HC member youth: $160. Non-member youth: $200.
Residents of Richland and Lexington counties are invited tour one of Historic Columbia’s house museums for just $1! Each month, HC chooses one of its four properties to feature for Dollar Sunday on a rotating basis, and in July, the featured house will be the Robert Mills House.
Free for HC members. $1 for residents of Richland and Lexington counties. All others $8 adults, $5 youth. The Hampton-Preston Mansion is located at 1615 Blanding Street. Purchase admission at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills, 1616 Blanding Street.
For more information about Historic Columba and to purchase admission to these events, visit historiccolumbia.org or call 803.252.1770 x 23.
This guest blog was written by HC Director of Historic House Museums Fielding Freed.
The staff of the Cultural Resources department at Historic Columbia stays busy interacting with the public and often this means answering questions posed to us via our electronic media. Questions usually come from within South Carolina and the United States, so it was really cool to get an inquiry recently from some high school students in Belgium who asked if we had any architectural renderings of the Robert Mills House.
I was able to link them to the Historical American Buildings Survey site which contains a treasure trove of Mills’ work. I was curious to know how their project would turn out and told them so, and they promised to get back to me. Some weeks later they did, apologizing for any grammatical mistakes in their recap (I assured them that their English was much better than my French).
They explained later that:
“We are Lauren, Kiara and Samantha from Belgium, our architecture teacher gave us a list of architects and we had to pick one, we had picked out Robert Mills, the project started with finding out about everything that Robert Mills had made. In the end we also had to pick one building that we wanted to make out of cardboard. We had chosen the Robert Mills House because we all enjoyed the way it was built and the building was just beautiful in our eyes. We started with making the house, we had a few problems on the road while making it but in the end it turned out really good. We are really proud that it turned out looking really good. We hope that we can visit the Robert Mills House by ourselves one day. ”
The photograph of the trio with their project would have pleased Robert Mills, I think. To know that his work still elicits interest and an appreciation for its beauty reminds me of why our stewardship of the site is relevant and important. Thank you Lauren, Kiara and Samantha for helping keep the memory of his architecture alive and we hope to see you walk through the front door of the Mills House one day.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and learn more about the properties available for rent at historiccolumbia.org.
Scarecrows are invading the Robert Mills House! Enter your historical, ghoulish or traditional handcrafted scarecrows in Historic Columbia’s annual Scarecrows in the Garden Contest by September 29 to compete for cash, trophies and tour passes.
The contest is open to individuals, families, businesses, schools and organizations, and participants are welcome to enter more than one scarecrow. The cost to enter a scarecrow is $10 for individuals, families and school classrooms and $20 for businesses and organizations. Register for a scarecrow kit for by Wednesday, September 17 to help you get started on your scarecrow. Kits are $15 and will be available for pick up starting on September 18.
Enter your scarecrow at historiccolumbia.org, by calling 803.252.1770 x 23 or by emailing email@example.com. All scarecrows must be delivered to the Robert Mills House & Gardens, 1616 Blanding St., from 1 to 4 pm on Saturday, September 27 and Sunday, September 28 or on Monday, September 29 from 9 am to 5 pm. You may also call 803.252.1770 x 23 to schedule an appointment to drop off your scarecrow.
Not sure how to make a scarecrow? Join Historic Columbia for a workshop at 1 pm on Saturday, September 20 at the Robert Mills Carriage House, 1616 Blanding St., to learn the skills needed to create a masterpiece. For $15, participants will receive guided instructions, a scarecrow kit and inspiration from scarecrows that have visited the gardens in previous years, and participants should bring clothes and items from home to personalize their scarecrows. After the workshop, take your scarecrow home to decorate this fall or enter your scarecrow in the contest for an additional fee. Register for the workshop at historiccolumbia.org, by phone at 803.252.1770 x 23 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The free Scarecrows in the Garden exhibit will be on display on the grounds of the Robert Mills House and is open to the public during normal business hours Tuesdays through Sundays from October 1 through November 2. Visit the Gift Shop at Robert Mills or Historic Columbia’s Facebook page to vote for your favorite scarecrows throughout the month.
From Landrum to Leeds explores the various dining, cooking and storage wares common in 19th-century Columbia, South Carolina, and the exhibit features ceramics in a focus gallery, as well as displayed in period-appropriate settings throughout the house. Highlights include examples from the Landrum-Stork pottery, which was located in what is today Forest Acres, Edgefield pottery and a variety of imported English ceramics.
The exhibit is shown as part of the regularly-scheduled guided tours of the Robert Mills House. Tours run at the top of the hour Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm (last tour starts at 3 pm) and Sunday, 1 – 5 pm. (last tour starts at 4 pm), and are free for HC members, $8 for non-member adults and $5 for non-member youth. Purchase tour admission at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills, 1616 Blanding Street. For more information, please contact us at 803.252.1770 x 23 or email@example.com.
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.