1001-1003 Washington Street
North Carolina Mutual Building
The life insurance company North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association, founded in 1898 by seven African American businessmen, ordered the construction of this building in 1909 as part of its expansion into Columbia. Its initial design was two stories featuring two large storefronts on the ground floor and nine offices spaces upstairs.
Early office tenants included attorney Nathaniel J. Frederick and the Colored State Fair Association (it later relocated to Harden Street). The first two storefront tenants were a confectionery business and the black undertaking firm Hardy, Pinckney, and Biggs. The Palmetto Grand Lodge Freemasons purchased the building in 1927 and added a third story in 1929, although North Carolina Mutual remained in residence until 1936. It is one of the few remaining structures in the black business district.