HP Turns 200

HP's Newest Installation

By: Fielding Freed, Director of Historic House Museums

Good things come to those who wait. That’s a great saying, if in the end you do indeed get what you waited for. The forthcoming installation of an historically correct floor covering in the entry hall of the Hampton-Preston Mansion is eighteen years in the making for HC’s Director of...

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

Monkey Puzzle: The "Living Fossil" of Hampton-Preston

By: Keith Mearns, Horticulturist

The gardens of the Hampton-Preston Mansion were one of the most celebrated in the antebellum south. With so much space to fill, we have relied on several sources to narrow our focus for plant material. While no explicit records of the content of the gardens exists from the Hamptons or...

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...

melrose heights

Historic Districts are Working for You

There has been recent concern over local historic district regulations in certain Columbia neighborhoods. Specifically, some Columbia citizens are concerned over the process owners must follow to renovate or make changes to their historic properties. Historic Columbia understands how certain regulations might be seen as challenging in the short term,...

Babcock postcard

Preservation Matters: SC Department of Mental Health's BullStreet District

Awesome, expansive and intriguing are but a few of the adjectives that spring to mind upon touring the South Carolina Department of Mental Health’s BullStreet facility. Bustling with activity for generations, the sprawling 178-acre tract of land today is best characterized largely by silence punctuated by sounds beyond its walls...


In Defense of Mid-Century Modern

By: Lois Carlisle, Executive Assistant

At the corner of Pickens and Gervais streets in downtown Columbia, there stands a Queen Anne mansion. The home is uniquely Victorian with a high turret and cedar-shingled roofline. There are few people in Columbia who, today, would say the house is anything short of beautiful. If you traveled back...