930 Laurel Street
This 12-acre green space, first created in the late 1840s, reopened in 1991 as Sidney Park. The following year it was renamed Finlay Park for Mayor Kirkman Finlay, who had sought to restore the then-delapidated space in the late 1980s as part of an initiative to beautify downtown Columbia.The park featured a man-made waterfall and cascading stream that fed into a lake.
Site of Sidney Park
Algernon Sidney Johnson’s vision for the beautification of Columbia in the late 1840s was the impetus for a park on the twelve acres of land stretching from Laurel to Blanding streets and from Assembly to Gadsden streets. Trees and shrubbery were planted, and paths and roads were laid. For the next fifty years, the park, named Sidney Park in Johnson’s honor, was “a place of pleasant and healthful resort.”
Site of Seaboard Park
Throughout much of the late nineteenth century, railroads dictated the prosperity of towns across the United States. In 1899, the Columbia City Council agreed to sell the park to the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. It wanted the land for terminal facilities and threatened to move the rail line to Swansea if the city did not comply. For the next ninety years, the Seaboard Park was a municipal eyesore. The entire green space of Sidney Park was destroyed to make way for rail lines and warehouses.