1012 Sumter Street1012 Sumter Street
In 1920, the Columbia Stage Society rehabilitated the previous eight-room, two-story home of R. Beverly Sloan to function as the Town Theatre's first building. By 1924, the city building inspector advised and recommended the theatre's closure because the building was not fit for a public playhouse and did not meet fire codes. The original theatre was demolished, and a campaign to raise funds for a new building resulted in the dedication of the current structure by the end of 1924.
Plans for the new building were drawn by Arthur W. Hamby and the façade was designed by Harry Dodge Jenkins, an architectural artist from Chicago. When the theatre hosted its first play, a May 5, 1925 article in The State described the architectural details of the building. Some of those details, such as 'the wooden frames of the imposing front door and the windows are painted vivid blue' and 'two bill board spaces are framed in blue and the lights over them have beaten iron shades in sycamore leaf design,' remain visible. Today, the building continues to feature excellent examples of the Art Deco architectural style with its rounded forms and low relief designs, and the theatre remains a cultural mainstay of Columbia.