History

Jennie Dreher

Columbia’s Preservation Visionaries: Mabel Payne and Jennie Dreher

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 Payne, ca. 1961. Image courtesy of City of Columbia Planning Office Mabel Bradley Payne was born...

Elmwood Cemetery

Our Popular Cemetery Tours Return April 11

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

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

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

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. Known as the “matriarch of Civil Rights activists” in S.C., Modjeska Monteith Simkins led the charge for equality tirelessly her entire adult life...

Motel Simbeth matchbooks

Searching for Motel Simbeth

By: Katharine Allen, Research & Archives Manager

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

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

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...

Modjeska Monteith Simkins

Help Tell Modjeska Simkins' Story

By: Megan Plott, Director of Development

Each year, Historic Columbia’s Annual Fund program supports a meaningful project that will have lasting impact on our community. This year’s annual fund is focused on the Modjeska Monteith Simkins House . Built between 1890 and 1895, this one-story cottage was home to Modjeska Monteith Simkins (pictured above)—considered "the matriarch of...

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...