1213 Blanding Street1213 Blanding Street
This Romanesque style building was built circa 1869 to house one of Columbia's volunteer firefighting associations, the Palmetto Steam Fire Engine Company, which was first organized in 1858 under Chief William B. Stanley. By 1875 the city had five such fire companies, two of which were comprised of and led by Black volunteers. Often numbering more than forty men, the fire companies conducted elaborate drills and frequent parades. Local political leaders like Stanley normally served as company presidents, although Stanley also served as the chief of the entire fire department during Reconstruction. Black and white companies conducted joint tests of local preparedness, and Black and white officers served together on the Board of Fire Masters.
In 1903, the Palmetto merged with three other fire companies to form the capital city’s first paid fire department. The company continued to operate at this site as "Engine No. 2" until 1921, when it relocated to 916 Main Street. From 1921 until 1937, the Southern Bell Telephone Company leased the building. Since 1941, it has been home to Villa Tronco Restaurant.