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  1. Vista Gateway to the Vista Intersection of Gervais & Assembly Streets
  2. Vista Former South Carolina State Armory Building 1219 Assembly Street
  3. Vista Site of Columbia City Market Assembly Street
  4. Vista Former Columbia Electric Street Railway, Light & Power Company Building 1337 Assembly Street
  5. Vista St. Peter’s Catholic Church/Site of Ursuline Convent 1529 Assembly Street
  6. Vista Big Apple 1000 Hampton Street, Original site: 1300 Block of Park Street
  7. Vista Nathaniel Jerome Frederick House 1416 Park Street
  8. Vista North Carolina Mutual Building 1001 Washington Street
  9. Vista Site of Pearson’s Funeral Home 1325 Park Street
  10. Vista Site of Richland County Jail Southwest corner of Lincoln & Hampton Streets
  11. Vista Police Headquarters and City Jail 1415 Lincoln Street
  12. Vista Zion Baptist Church 801 Washington Street
  13. Vista Reeder House 1328 Gadsden Street
  14. Vista Former R.L. Bryan Warehouse 1310 Gadsden Street
  15. Vista Former Industries 800 Block of Lady Street
  16. Vista Luther Lee Building 1314 Lincoln Street
  17. Vista Attention to Details 911 Lady Street
  18. Vista A Talented Transformation 912 Lady & 1224 Lincoln Streets
  19. Vista Reclaiming Historic Facades 1001 Gervais Street
  20. Vista Changing Owners, Needs, & Buildings 1007-1015 Gervais Street
  21. Vista Detailed & Distinguished 1008-1010 Gervais Street
  22. Vista Former Columbia Central Fire Station 1001 Senate Street
  23. Vista Hilton Columbia Center 924 Senate Street
  24. Vista Setting the Stage for Revitalization 936 Gervais Street
  25. Vista Changes Over Time 919-921 Gervais Street
  26. Vista Motor Supply Company 922-924 Gervais Street
  27. Vista Site of the Seaboard Café 911 Gervais Street
  28. Vista Former Seaboard Freight Depot 902 Gervais Street
  29. Vista Former Seaboard Air Line Railroad Passenger Depot 1200 Lincoln Street
  30. Vista Remembering the Ward One Community Roughly bounded by Blossom, Assembly, Huger, & Senate Streets
  31. Vista Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center 1101 Lincoln Street
  32. Vista Tapping into History 828 Gervais Street
  33. Vista The Perks of Good Design 827 – 831 Gervais Street
  34. Vista Adluh Flour 804 – 804 ½ Gervais Street
  35. Vista Columbia Supply Company Building 823 Gervais Street
  36. Vista Former South Carolina Railroad Depot 800 Gervais Street
  37. Vista DuPre Building 807 Gervais Street
  38. Vista Site of Cotton Merchants 700 & 800 Blocks of Gervais Street
  39. Vista Vista Lofts 701 Gervais Street
  40. Vista Former Businesses 600 Block of Gervais Street
  41. Vista Modern & Meaningful 601 Gervais Street/1218 Pulaski Street
  42. Vista Site of Dispensary Office Building 1205 Pulaski Street
  43. Vista Former Confederate Printing Plant/South Carolina State Dispensary Warehouse 501 Gervais Street
  44. Vista Middleton Building 300 Gervais Street
  45. Vista Former Columbia Mills Building 301 Gervais Street
  46. Vista Site of South Carolina State Penitentiary 1515 Gist Street
  47. Vista Columbia Canal/ City Waterworks/Irwin & Riverfront Parks Columbia Canal/ City Waterworks/Irwin & Riverfront Parks
  48. Vista Veterans Memorial Park Bordered by Hampton, Gadsden, Washington & Wayne Streets
  49. Vista Gervais Street Bridge Gervais Street Bridge

1

Vista

Gateway to the Vista

The eastern gateway into today’s Vista district has experienced its share of change since Columbia’s founding. This aerial image from the early 1940s reveals many landmarks now gone – three gas stations, a portion of the farmers market, and the popular Market Restaurant. These once busy parcels today feature surface parking lots.

Vista

Gateway to the Vista

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2

Vista

Former South Carolina State Armory Building

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Columbia, South Carolina, Courtesy of South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

Following the federalization of state militias in 1903, South Carolina established its first National Guard Armory in 1905. Designed by architect William Augustus Edwards, the Vista’s only military-related structure reflects a change from the medieval fortress-like style of armories built during the 1870s through 1890s to a form conveying friendly order and authority. Originally supporting the 118th Infantry, the 263rd Coast Artillery, and a medical attachment, the armory closed in 1964 following the completion of a more modern facility.

Vista

Former South Carolina State Armory Building

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3

Vista

Site of Columbia City Market

Image courtesy South Carolina State Museum

From 1869 until 1951, Assembly Street teemed with farmers selling produce curbside and from an ever-evolving series of buildings and stalls that ultimately stretched for ten blocks. The proximity of this facility to the State House only emphasized the importance of agriculture to South Carolina’s economy. Removal of the market to Bluff Road at mid-century met with mixed emotions from citizens interested in retaining a convenient location while faced with meeting the need for modern facilities.

Vista

Site of Columbia City Market

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4

Vista

Former Columbia Electric Street Railway, Light & Power Company Building

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Columbia, South Carolina, Courtesy of South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

When built about 1901, this Richardsonian Romanesque style building was a hallmark of modernity for Columbia. Through two state-of-the-art rotary converters, designed by Charles Steinmetz, this transformer station switched alternating current to direct current for use by businesses, homes and trolleys. Rehabilitated, the structure remains an architecturally notable property today used as an office.

Vista

Former Columbia Electric Street Railway, Light & Power Company Building

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5

Vista

St. Peter’s Catholic Church/Site of Ursuline Convent

Image courtesy South Carolina State Museum

Designed by Robert Mills, the congregation’s first church (shown here) was erected on this site in 1824 to accommodate Irish workers building the Columbia Canal. It was joined in 1889 by the Ursuline Convent and Academy. St. Peter’s Parochial School opened in 1919 and continues to offer elementary and secondary education. Charlotte architect Frank Milburn designed today’s Gothic style church, dedicated in 1909, as a replacement for the early 19th-century sanctuary.

Vista

St. Peter’s Catholic Church/Site of Ursuline Convent

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6

Vista

Big Apple

Built as the House of Peace synagogue in 1915, this structure became a popular African-American nightclub operated by “Fat” Sam and “Big” Elliot Wright from 1936 until 1938. Here Columbia’s black youth created the internationally famous “Big Apple” dance, named after the local hotspot in which it was born. Today, the property is available for special rental events through Historic Columbia Foundation.

Vista

Big Apple

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7

Vista

Nathaniel Jerome Frederick House

The only practicing African-American attorney in Columbia for many years, Nathaniel Jerome Frederick (1877-1938) lived here and maintained his law office in the North Carolina Mutual Building. Prior to being admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 1913, Frederick was an educator and principal of the Howard School, then located at Hampton and Lincoln streets. In 1925, Frederick founded The Palmetto Leader, a black newspaper for which he was editor. Frederick also was integral in establishing Columbia’s Victory Savings Bank.

Vista

Nathaniel Jerome Frederick House

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8

Vista

North Carolina Mutual Building

The North Carolina Mutual Building stands in the background of this circa-1929/30 photograph of Robert Simons’ blacksmith/wheelwright/body shop, formerly located on the southwest corner of Gates (Park) and Washington streets.

Image courtesy South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina

From A True Likeness, The Black South of Richard Samuel Roberts: 1920-1936; © The Estate of Richard Samuel Roberts, by permission of Bruccoli Clark Layman, Inc.

The North Carolina Mutual building was built in 1909 by the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association, an insurance company headquartered in Durham, North Carolina. Founded in 1898 by seven African-American businessmen, it became the largest black-owned life insurance company in the United States. The office building also housed many other professional African-American businesses, including the first law office for Nathaniel Jerome Frederick.

Vista

North Carolina Mutual Building

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9

Vista

Site of Pearson’s Funeral Home

Image courtesy Richard Samuel Roberts Collection, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia

During the Jim Crow era Columbia developed a thriving African-American community north of Gervais Street within the Vista district. Featuring many commercial enterprises, offices, and attractions, this area often was referred to as the city’s Black Downtown. Pearson’s Funeral Home, shown here in the 1930s, was one of the district’s highly successful businesses for five decades.

Vista

Site of Pearson’s Funeral Home

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10

Vista

Site of Richland County Jail

In 1868, Richland County established a jail within this block on land formerly belonging to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. That structure was replaced in 1915 by a cast concrete, L-shaped facility notable for its fortress-like, Gothic façade. Closed in 1994, this unique Vista landmark was demolished in 2003 for residential development.

Vista

Site of Richland County Jail

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11

Vista

Police Headquarters and City Jail

Image courtesy South Carolina State Museum

When designed by architect George Lafaye and constructed in 1913 for $65,000, Columbia’s Police Headquarters was said to rival Atlanta’s municipal facilities. At that time the Georgian Revival structure separated men from women and blacks from whites while featuring a courtroom, offices, cells, apartments for jailers, a gymnasium and hospital, and stables for horses. Rehabilitation in 1997 into a modern headquarters complex retained the character of the early 20th-century historic building. 

Vista

Police Headquarters and City Jail

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12

Vista

Zion Baptist Church

Members of Zion gather on November 10, 1929 during Reverend J.C. White’s farewell sermon.

Image courtesy Zion Baptist Church

Affectionately known as “Big Zion,” this circa-1916 landmark church replaced its congregation’s first, circa-1870 sanctuary, built only four years after members first assembled. Big Zion has been the host site for Civil Rights rallies during the course of the past 50 years, including gatherings during the tumultuous 1960s and more recently during efforts to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House dome.

Vista

Zion Baptist Church

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13

Vista

Reeder House

C. Drie’s 1872 Birdseye Map offers the earliest visual reference to the site.

C. Drie, Bird’s Eye View of the City of Columbia, South Carolina, 1872, Courtesy of Library of Congress

Built in the early 1860s, this single-story, wood frame residence exemplifies the Columbia Cottage style. Featuring a symmetrical façade, prominent porch with pedimented gable, and double-pile, central hall plan, such houses enjoyed popularity from the 1840s through the 1880s. In 1950, James P. Reeder, pastor of the neighboring Zion Baptist Church from 1929 to 1961, purchased the antebellum structure. Exemplifying the former residential character of portions of the Vista, this rare survivor awaits rehabilitation. 

Vista

Reeder House

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14

Vista

Former R.L. Bryan Warehouse

Well-built structures often lend themselves to creative reuse. From its completion in 1913 until 1973, this landmark served as a textbook depository and warehouse. Its rehabilitation in 1976 for use as a restaurant distinguished it as one of the Vista’s early examples of historic preservation. Converted again, the property currently functions as an office building with a rich past.

Vista

Former R.L. Bryan Warehouse

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15

Vista

Former Industries

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Columbia, South Carolina, 1888, Courtesy of South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

The Sanborn Fire Insurance Company’s map of 1888 clearly illustrates the mixture of commercial and residential uses that historically characterized many sections of the Vista district. Within the northern half of this block alone stood a cotton gin, a saw mill, a paint and carpentry supply building, and a sprawling gasworks, in addition to three residences. 

Vista

Former Industries

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16

Vista

Luther Lee Building

Image courtesy Laura Guobaitis

The Murray Drug Company built this imposing three-story building around 1912. A spice mill was established within the structure’s ground floor. One story above, employees manufactured medicines; meanwhile, the property’s third level was devoted to drug storage.

Vista

Luther Lee Building

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17

Vista

Attention to Details

Image courtesy Laura Guobaitis

Decorative elements evoking the Art Deco movement, popular among many architects during the 1920s through 1940, offer this rehabilitated circa-1930 structure a distinctive flair. Four detailed pilasters grant this former warehouse a sense of vertical thrust suggesting a building of a grander scale. Panels featuring stylized animals and an entrance surround cast in lightly-colored cement contrast sharply with the façade’s red brick.

Vista

Attention to Details

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18

Vista

A Talented Transformation

These former warehouses were constructed around 1916 for the B.B. Kirkland Distributing Company, which sold flour, grain, and hay, and 1918 for the Columbia Paper Company, respectively. Architecturally distinct, the buildings are sited in an advantageous location. Today, the prominent structures house a number of offices and an art supply store and gallery.

Vista

A Talented Transformation

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19

Vista

Reclaiming Historic Facades

Image courtesy City of Columbia Planning Department; E. Grenville Seibels, II, Photographer

For some historic properties, preservation efforts over the past three decades have reversed or obscured major changes made to them during the mid-20th century. Nowhere is this perhaps more true than with this circa-1900 commercial structure once heavily modified for use as an automobile tire store through the creation of bays along its west side and an imposing tile sign that covered a large portion of its historic façade. Sensitive exterior restoration work has since reversed those dramatic changes.

Vista

Reclaiming Historic Facades

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20

Vista

Changing Owners, Needs, & Buildings

By 1900, Gervais Street’s 1000 block was predominantly residential interspersed with various businesses, including black- and white-owned barbershops, a watchmaker, and the Congaree Hotel (shown here), which dominated the north side of the street. Change came in 1920 with the construction of the current two-part, two-story building, erected as a dry goods retail and wholesale store.

Vista

Changing Owners, Needs, & Buildings

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21

Vista

Detailed & Distinguished

Image courtesy Laura Guobaitis

Built in 1910 as an International Harvester Company warehouse, this historic structure was recognized in 2004 by Historic Columbia for its excellence in adaptive use. Like other similarly distinguished properties within the district, this Vista landmark illustrates the benefits of preserving elegant architectural details in buildings that have stood the test of time.

Vista

Detailed & Distinguished

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22

Vista

Former Columbia Central Fire Station

Image courtesy City of Columbia Fire Department; Walter B. Busby, Photographer

From its completion in 1951 until its closing in 1994, this former fire-fighting facility boasted the latest in technology while being strategically situated to respond to downtown fires. Architecturally, the headquarters and its neighboring circa-1953 fire tower (shown here during a training exercise) incorporate tenets of both the Art Deco and International styles, resulting in a unique municipal facility.

Vista

Former Columbia Central Fire Station

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23

Vista

Hilton Columbia Center

Image courtesy Laura Guobaitis

Offering luxurious accommodations for visitors to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and other downtown destinations, the Hilton is a relatively recent addition to the Vista’s skyline. When erected in 2006, the modern hotel blended aesthetically with historic buildings throughout the district, thanks to its composition of red brick and concrete detailing.

Vista

Hilton Columbia Center

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24

Vista

Setting the Stage for Revitalization

Image courtesy City of Columbia Planning Department; E. Grenville Seibels, II, Photographer

Architecturally compelling buildings like this circa-1898 former grocery store offer unique settings for entertainment within an historic context. Sensitive rehabilitation here and throughout the district has resulted in higher property values and increased income from prosperous businesses such as restaurants, boutiques, and galleries.

Vista

Setting the Stage for Revitalization

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25

Vista

Changes Over Time

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Columbia, South Carolina, 1919, Courtesy of South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

Constructed between 1904 and 1910, this building originally was home to the Murray Drug Company. Before it, on this site stood a two-story frame residence whose neighbors included restaurants, barbershops, and groceries in keeping with the early mixed use character of the district. Like other commercial structures throughout the district, this property originally featured multiple storefronts later altered through the installation of plate-glass windows and a central doorway.

Vista

Changes Over Time

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26

Vista

Motor Supply Company

Image courtesy City of Columbia Planning Department; E. Grenville Seibels, II, Photographer

Constructed around 1902 as a grocery and hardware store, this building later housed an engine supply company. When new owners transformed the historic property into a restaurant in 1989, they drew upon their predecessor’s neon business sign, designed by Colite in the 1930s, to name their establishment.

Vista

Motor Supply Company

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27

Vista

Site of the Seaboard Café

Miriam Joseph (far left) gathers with unidentified employees and patrons, circa 1941.

Image courtesy Mike Genova

When built in 1904, this two-story masonry structure served as an alcohol dispensary for Richland County. After the collapse of the state-sponsored system, a wholesale paper supplier occupied the site. Later generations of Columbians and visitors to the capital city associated this address with the Seaboard Café, a former Vista landmark run by the Joseph family.

Vista

Site of the Seaboard Café

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28

Vista

Former Seaboard Freight Depot

Image courtesy Columbia Development Corporation

Built in 1903, this building embodies the Richardsonian Romanesque style of architecture, whose defining characteristics include arches and a gabled roof that reveal the eclecticism popular in the early 20th century. Rehabilitated, this property complements other purpose-built structures formerly associated with the district’s railways that defined this area of Columbia for generations.

Vista

Former Seaboard Freight Depot

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29

Vista

Former Seaboard Air Line Railroad Passenger Depot

Image courtesy South Carolina State Museum

Today a venue for fine dining, this distinctive circa-1912 building was known for decades as a hub for transportation into and out of the capital city. Its adjacent loading platform and the Seaboard Air Line Railroad baggage room, a smaller, circa-1905 building to the north, reveal the property’s original function. Both buildings benefited from adaptive efforts that transformed the Vista into a vibrant commercial and residential district.

Vista

Former Seaboard Air Line Railroad Passenger Depot

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30

Vista

Remembering the Ward One Community

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Columbia, South Carolina, 1919, Courtesy of South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

Today, college educational facilities, sports arenas, and parking lots stand where once the African-American neighborhood known as Ward One existed. The Sanborn Fire Insurance Company map of 1919 illustrates the former density of the area’s frame houses, schools, stores, and churches. Fueled by eminent domain measures and federal dollars, the University of South Carolina expanded into this area during Urban Renewal efforts of the 1960s.

Vista

Remembering the Ward One Community

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31

Vista

Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center

Image courtesy Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau

Since opening in 2004, this 142,500-square foot facility has capitalized on its ideal location within the Vista and proximity to other downtown Columbia attractions. This example of new construction in an historic context successfully incorporates building materials reminiscent of earlier structures within the district in a distinctly modern fashion.

Vista

Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center

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32

Vista

Tapping into History

This two-story masonry building with its one-story warehouse extension was constructed for E.A. Beall Wholesale Groceries in 1900. Several architectural elements from that time, including a large, semi-circular sign projecting from the roof, a corner entrance, and chimneys no longer remain. Rehabilitated in 2003, this landmark property follows the trend of adaptive reuse of historic structures that has revitalized the district.

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Tapping into History

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33

Vista

The Perks of Good Design

Image courtesy Laura Guobaitis

In 1907, J.E. Young and Wholesale Fruit and Produce Company constructed this building, purportedly the first to have a cold storage unit installed. Between 1911 and 1917, many African-American companies operated here, joining other black-owned or run businesses, such as barbershops, grocery stores, and a pool hall, in the district. Throughout the building’s various uses, it housed apartments within its third story. Its exterior restored and interior rehabilitated, this landmark proves as popular with contemporary patrons as it did with others over a century ago.

Vista

The Perks of Good Design

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34

Vista

Adluh Flour

Image courtesy Laura Guobaitis

With its three 101-feet-high reinforced concrete grain elevators and red neon sign, Allen Brothers’ Adluh Flour Mill is for many the Vista’s most enduring and endearing landmark. Originally established by the Crooner family about 1900, this facility has been run by the Allen family since 1926. During World War II, the company won government awards for its efficiency and massive production of “Table-Tested” flour, cornmeal, feeds and mixes. Today, the company is the last of 42 similar mills that once operated in South Carolina. 

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Adluh Flour

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35

Vista

Columbia Supply Company Building

Image reprinted from John A. Montgomery’s Columbia, South Carolina: History of a City

The beneficiary of recent rehabilitation work, this historic structure originally was home to the Columbia Supply Company, one of the city’s oldest continuous businesses. Established in 1902 as the Columbia Mill Supply Company, the firm specialized in mine, mill, engineering, and railroad supplies. During the 1940s, the business enhanced its Gervais Street facility through the addition of an Art Deco style façade.

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Columbia Supply Company Building

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36

Vista

Former South Carolina Railroad Depot

Image courtesy C. Drie, Bird’s Eye View of the City of Columbia, South Carolina, 1872, Library of Congress

Featuring a decorative façade, this Greek Revival and Italianate style building was built about 1850 as the South Carolina Railroad Depot. In 1865, Union forces burned the property. Rebuilt by 1870, the structure continued to serve in its original transportation capacity for decades. Although rehabilitated for contemporary use, this landmark remains a tangible link to the city’s early transportation and Civil War history.

Vista

Former South Carolina Railroad Depot

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37

Vista

DuPre Building

Image courtesy of the Russell Maxey Collection, Richland Library

This landmark property was built in 1919 for the DuPre Motor Company, a Ford dealership, as part of Columbia’s “Automobile Row.” Other businesses occupied this Vista icon in later years including auto dealers Milling-Nelson Motors in 1940. At that time the second floor held the Columbia Textile Engraving Company and the third floor was home to the Columbia Burlap Bag Manufacturers. By 1960, the Tidewater industrial supply company operated here, and in 1980, National Distributors, a wholesale furniture company, maintained this address. Today, the structure is a distinct venue for creative commercial tenants.

Vista

DuPre Building

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38

Vista

Site of Cotton Merchants

Before and after the Civil War cotton was central to South Carolina’s economy. Within the Vista many buildings of differing sizes were dedicated to its storage, transportation, and processing. The evolution of such structures followed the overall trend within the commercial district in which more fire-resistant and durable masonry buildings replaced earlier wood frame facilities. By the mid-1880s Gervais Street’s 700 and 800 blocks featured numerous warehouses including that of Crawford and Sons, shown here circa 1890.

Vista

Site of Cotton Merchants

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39

Vista

Vista Lofts

Image courtesy Laura Guobaitis

The return of residential life has been instrumental in transforming the Vista into a multi-dimensional district. In 2003, Watson Tate Savory Architects and Ben Arnold Properties produced this award-winning, mixed-use commercial-residential building. Drawing on elements from surrounding historic properties, this early 21st-century landmark is celebrated for its architectural styling.

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Vista Lofts

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40

Vista

Former Businesses

Image courtesy Gilbert C. DuPre, Jr.

Today’s Vista district is a blend of three centuries’ worth of commercial, industrial, residential, and spiritual architecture. Many examples of important historic buildings remain. Others, such as the former DuPre fruit and produce business (shown here in 1900), have been lost over time. Where once the family’s masonry warehouse stood now rests a railway cut that diverts trains from crossing Gervais Street.

Vista

Former Businesses

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41

Vista

Modern & Meaningful

Drawing from the Vista’s industrial roots, this distinctly modern structure features massing, materials, and a design that complements the historic district’s character while offering a fashionable modern office space. Though physically very different from the earlier building that lies at its core, this complex reveals the possibilities that existing structures offer as the basis for architecturally compelling additions to the neighborhood.

Vista

Modern & Meaningful

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42

Vista

Site of Dispensary Office Building

In 1901, prominent North Carolina architect Frank P. Milburn designed a two-story Italian Classic Revival office building for Governor Ben Tillman’s State Dispensary System, which supplied South Carolinians with their only legal source of alcohol from 1895 until 1907.  Tillman’s monopoly spurred illicit saloons, violence, and corruption, but was profitable, providing almost half of the state’s tax revenues in 1899. Hurricane Hugo destroyed this architecturally significant building in 1989, ten years after its listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Vista

Site of Dispensary Office Building

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43

Vista

Former Confederate Printing Plant/South Carolina State Dispensary Warehouse

Evans and Cogswell, the Charleston-based printer of bonds and currency for the Confederacy, relocated to Columbia in April 1864 and operated within this building until February 1865, when Union troops burned the then-one story structure. Rebuilt after the war and later enlarged, the property became a warehouse for carriage, seed, and cotton companies. Rebuilt after a fire in 1898, it warehoused liquor for the South Carolina State Dispensary system until 1907. In 2004, a rehabilitation project transformed the vacant building into a thriving grocery. Seven fashionable townhouses known as Estates on Gervais debuted in 2010.

Vista

Former Confederate Printing Plant/South Carolina State Dispensary Warehouse

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44

Vista

Middleton Building

Image courtesy Kaeli Nieves-Whitmore

Built in 1930 as the district headquarters for the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, this Georgian Revival style building featured all the modern conveniences of the time, including an automatically controlled boiler that used “Standard” heating oil. Named for Arthur Middleton, one of South Carolina’s four signers of the Declaration of Independence, this repurposed building today is the cornerstone of City Club, a townhouse/condominium development established in 2008.

Vista

Middleton Building

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45

Vista

Former Columbia Mills Building

When this massive mill opened in 1894, it was the first textile plant built in the United States fully powered by electricity. After the facility closed in 1981, it became one of the largest adaptive use projects in South Carolina. Today, the 280,000-square-foot property houses the State Museum, the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, and state offices.

Vista

Former Columbia Mills Building

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46

Vista

Site of South Carolina State Penitentiary

Image courtesy David and Marty Sennema

Having established its penal system in 1866, South Carolina opened a penitentiary on the Congaree River’s east bank the following year. During the course of 127 years, this facility, later known as Central Correctional Institution (CCI), grew to accommodate increasing numbers of inmates and changes in reform methods. The prison closed in 1994 and the City of Columbia bought the 25-acre site in 1995. Despite attempts to preserve the prison’s historic buildings, all were demolished to make way for new development. Today, the CanalSide neighborhood belies the once-infamous character of the site.

Vista

Site of South Carolina State Penitentiary

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47

Vista

Columbia Canal/ City Waterworks/Irwin & Riverfront Parks

Built in 1824 by Irish immigrants, the Columbia Canal was designed to move waterborne transportation beyond the rocks and rapids of the Congaree and Broad rivers. The city established its third waterworks on the east bank in 1906, replacing earlier facilities situated farther east. Closed during World War I, Irwin Park delighted visitors with its zoo. Today, Riverfront Park provides outdoor recreation and history lessons of these municipal landmarks.

Vista

Columbia Canal/ City Waterworks/Irwin & Riverfront Parks

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48

Vista

Veterans Memorial Park

Dedication of this four acre-park on November 11, 1986 coincided with the unveiling of the South Carolina Vietnam Memorial, one of the country’s largest besides the national monument in Washington, D.C. Between 1990 and 2002, further monuments were erected, including those for World War I; Pearl Harbor; the China-Burma-India campaign; the USS Columbia; the Holocaust; and the Korean War.

Vista

Veterans Memorial Park

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49

Vista

Gervais Street Bridge

Columbia’s most iconic bridge funnels traffic into the Vista from the west. Constructed between 1926 and 1928, this 1415-foot, reinforced concrete span once bore the distinction of being the only way within the city to cross the Congaree River. Numerous postcards, such as this circa-1940 example, attest to the attractive structure’s popularity.

Vista

Gervais Street Bridge

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