John Sherrer

Director of Cultural Resources
Palmetto Wildlife Habitat

Transforming Spaces

By: John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources

History is neither stagnant nor fixed. No, the study and interpretation of past events is a creative, dynamic, and transformational process that shapes both how we know previous people, places, and events and how we view our ourselves. This process lies at the heart of Historic Columbia, where recent capital...

Gross family Christmas tree

A Historic Holiday Snapshot

By: John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources

On December 22, 1955, readers of The Columbia Record newspaper met a full-page chronicle of Columbia’s Gross family preparing to ring in the holidays. With husband Albert M. Gross ill and states away in Florida, wife Miriam wrangled her six children, ages 18 months through ten years, as the annual...

Total Eclipse

In the Path of Totality

By: John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources

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...

Carillon Parade

A Holiday Parade to Remember

By: John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources

With the holiday season picking up pace, it seems a natural thing this time of year to recall people, places, and (in this case) parades that have shaped our memory of Holidays past. Much has been written about Main Street over the years—this corridor has hosted citizens who worked, lived,...

HP Turns 200

Preservation Matters

By: John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources

Much-anticipated capital improvements to the Hampton-Preston site during work this winter and spring have yielded exciting finds—both inside and outside the building. In December, paint analyst Betty Prime with Meadors Construction of Charleston, spent two days pulling samples to determine how occupants changed the house over time to better suit...

HP Turns 200

Evolution of Landmark Property

By: John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources

Like most older buildings, the Hampton-Preston Mansion has evolved over time. Today, it stands as an amalgamation of changes, some large, some small, all interesting in their own right. Each change offers clues about the people who designed, built and subsequently modified the former residence so that it could perform...

HP Turns 200

Welcome to Columbia: Wish You Were Here?

By: John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources

In November 1943, local real estate developer and lawyer Thomas Hair bought the former Hampton-Preston estate, which had been placed to many uses since Chicora College left Columbia nearly 15 years earlier. Banking on the property’s widely known association with members of Columbia’s and South Carolina’s most elite families, Hair...

HP Turns 200

Another Perspective in Matriarch Mary Cantey Hampton

By: John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources

For the past eighteen years, this ca.-1836 portrait of Mary Cantey Hampton has provided visitors to the Hampton-Preston Mansion with an impression of what the family matron looked like shortly after her husband died. Historic Columbia collection, HCF 1999.1.1 In 1970, following months of rehabilitation and restoration work, the circa-1818...

Hampton Family Domestic Servants

Including Voices Long-Unheard

By: John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources

Imagine having a story to share with others but being unable to do so. Perhaps, no one wanted to hear what you had to say—even if your contribution would make everyone’s experience more meaningful. Maybe your voice was muted intentionally; maybe it was quieted, or silenced altogether, through circumstances, including...