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History

Holiday mantel

Decorating for the holidays, 19th-century style

By: Rachel Gregor

Monday, December 4th 2023

When it comes to holiday home decor, a lot has changed . When you visit the Robert Mills House and the Hampton-Preston Mansion during our Holiday House Tours , don't expect to find glitz and glam. Compared to our modern displays with bright lights and colored plastic baubles, early 1800s...

CatalogIt

Explore the Collection: Historic Columbia launches online collection

By: Rachel Gregor

Monday, October 30th 2023

Historic Columbia (HC) recently launched a selection of 40 objects for online viewing. More objects will be added over the coming months to allow visitors from around the city, state, country, and globe to “Explore the Collection,” cared for and researched by members of HC’s curatorial team. Launching the collection...

Jennie Dreher

Columbia’s Preservation Visionaries: Mabel Payne and Jennie Dreher

Friday, May 24th 2019

There’s no better way to finish Preservation Month than learning about two of Columbia’s key preservation advocates—Mabel Payne and Jennie Dreher—who were responsible for saving the Robert Mills House over 50 years ago. Mabel Bradley Payne was born in Abbeville, SC, and lived in New York and Williamsburg before coming...

Elmwood Cemetery

Our Popular Cemetery Tours Return April 11

Friday, April 5th 2019

In honor of one of Historic Columbia’s most popular tours returning next week, here are some highlights of just a few of the countless interesting stories hidden in the historic Elmwood Cemetery.  James Henley Thornwell was a professor at South Carolina College who joined the faculty in 1837 and replaced William Campbell Preston as the institution’s president.  Thornwell’s term...

1970s Columbia

Found Footage Project Provides Glimpse Into 1970s Columbia

Friday, March 22nd 2019

Discovered by an intern at the University of South Carolina Libraries’ Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC), ‘Hip Tags’ is an intriguing orphan film mystery with 1970s Columbia, SC as its main character. Without any provenance and defying description, this hypnotic film was passed from MIRC to Historic Columbia where staff...

Motel Simbeth postcard

#TBT: Motel Simbeth + Cornwell Tourist Home

By: Lois Carlisle, Consulting Historian

Thursday, February 21st 2019

We’ve talked about the Green Book before in this series , but here’s a refresher: As automobile travel grew increasingly popular from the 1930s through the 1960s , African Americans found themselves faced with what historian Gretchen Sorin called “an uncertain landscape,” much of which was “composed of white spaces...

Modjeska Simkins on her porch

#TBT: Who is Modjeska Monteith Simkins?

By: Lois Carlisle, Consulting Historian

Thursday, February 8th 2018

For more than sixty years, Modjeska Monteith Simkins used the wooden cottage at the corner of Elmwood and Marion St. as both a home and a headquarters. One of the greatest human rights advocates in South Carolina's history, Modjeska Monteith Simkins led the charge for equality tirelessly her entire adult...

Motel Simbeth matchbooks

Searching for Motel Simbeth

By: Katharine Allen, Director of Research

Friday, February 22nd 2019

On 20 October 1955, Jet , a national weekly digest with a primarily black audience, published the expose “ SOUTH CAROLINA’S PLOT TO STARVE NEGROES .” The six-page piece described efforts by White Citizens Councils in Clarendon and Orangeburg counties to create an “economic squeeze” on black community members. The...

Trivia

From Hamilton to Hampton Street: HC Tackles Musical Trivia

By: Lois Carlisle, Consulting Historian

Friday, January 18th 2019

True or false: On January 25th, the award-winning smash musical Hamilton is coming to Columbia. We wish it were true. But on January 25th, Historic Columbia brings you the next best thing— Historic Happy Hour ! And this month, we’re tackling the Tony award-winning giant, Hamilton: An American Musical. What...

Claussen's Bakery

Claussen's Bakery: A Landmark of Industrial Columbia

Friday, January 4th 2019

On Thursday, January 17, we will take guests on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Claussen’s Bakery , a historic Five Points landmark that originated as Claussen’s Bakery in 1928. The building was built by George Frederick Claussen, the grandson of a German immigrant who had previously established a steam bakery...