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Viewed as a whole, the Mann-Simons family's property historically was composed of several landscapes, where over time multiple generations of family members worked, played and conducted business. Further landscapes, literal and figurative, have been established since 1970, when the family sold the property. Transformed into a cultural heritage destination in 1978, the Mann-Simons site today physically and philosophically reflects the perspectives of those persons and entities that have researched it, preserved it, fashioned its history and have visited it.
The urban landscape passersby would have encountered at the time this photograph (below) was taken in 1969 was very different from what is encountered today. For some, this area of Columbia was a longtime home; for others, it was a target for urban renewal and change.
Every landscape is composed of not just what lies before our eyes but also what lies within our heads. For some this property represented home, for others blight. For some it represented one history, for others multiple meanings. As with other sites, this property’s significance will continue to evolve over time, reflecting the various perspectives of future generations.
Prior to its rehabilitation 1403 Richland Street bore significant signs of physical deterioration. Between 1970 and 1978, preservation efforts resulted in the site’s transformation as an historic landmark destination.
The Mann-Simons property experienced considerable physical change since its time under family ownership. In 1967, the main house, stood between the family’s second house, to the left, and the grocery store to the right. By the early 1970s, the main house stood alone and empty. In 1978, the renovated building opened to the public as an historic site.
During the rehabilitation of the site aspects of the building were changed to affect what some preservationists felt the structure should have looked like in earlier days.
Interpretation of the site’s past through archaeological research conducted since 2005 has resulted in looking at the property and its owners and users in new ways.
For a more thorough exploration of this topic, click here.
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