1737 Main Street
Columbia City Hall
Since 1932, Columbians have known this building as their City Hall. But, from 1874 until that time the stone structure served as both a federal courthouse and as a post office, uses that signified the federal government’s investment in South Carolina during the Reconstruction era that followed the Civil War. Federal Supervising Architect Alfred B. Mullet (1834-1890) mimicked the palazzo, or palace, architecture of Renaissance-era Italy in designing the $400,000 building.
When the post office relocated in 1921, the federal judiciary expanded into the vacated space. By the late 1920s, it had outgrown the building and a new courthouse was planned for this site. Finding value in the decades-old building, Mayor L. B. Owens and City Council negotiated a swap with the federal government. In exchange for the then-obsolete courthouse, the federal government would receive the city-owned corner of Assembly and Laurel streets for the construction of its new courthouse, a building that today serves as the bankruptcy courthouse.