1901 Harden Street1901 Harden Street
Harden Street Substation
The City of Columbia built this fire station, designed by architect Heyward S. Singley, in 1953 after the SC NAACP threatened to file suit on behalf of Clarence B. Mitchell, the first black man to pass the civil service exam and apply for employment as a fireman. The city ultimately hired Mitchell and seven other African American men, who all passed the probationary period despite repeated harassment and ridicule from other firemen.
Although considered a segregated facility, the Harden Street Substation also employed four white officers who shared some living and recreational spaces with their black subordinates, a strategy that the all-white Columbia Firemen’s Union strongly opposed. The city’s fire department did not officially integrate until 1969.