1515 Main Street
Columbia Museum of Art
For a century this site held department stores, including Mimnaugh’s from 1890 until about 1930 and its successor, Belk’s, which became a mainstay of downtown commerce with its motto “We Sell It for Less.” To compete with stylish, new suburban malls, Main Street businesses, like Belk’s, modernized their historic storefronts. Between 1959 and 1960, the architectural firm of Lafaye, Lafaye & Fair, turned the original revival style building into a huge retail landmark by doubling its size and decorating its exterior with large plate glass windows, extensive tile work and oversized signage. After Belk’s closed its Main Street facility, this site became the location for the Columbia Museum of Art, which the architectural firm of Stevens & Wilkinson designed in the Post-Modern style to incorporate a portion of the old department store’s steel framework into its footprint in 1998. A newly designed Main Street entrance, enhanced plaza, and interior improvements debuted in 2019.