1209-1211 Main Street
Site of Parker’s Block/Hall
One of the more enduring and hotly debated Reconstruction-era additions to Columbia’s skyline stood here from 1873 until 1956. The three-story Italianate building bore the name “Parker Block/1873,” for its owner, Niles G. Parker, the state’s former treasurer maligned for renting rooms out to state legislators for committee meetings and for drawing rent from its commercial spaces. For this graft, detractors nicknamed the building “Parker’s Haul" and "Parker’s Stumbling Block.” The state seized the property when Parker was forced from office after the fall of Reconstruction in 1876. Under this new ownership, the structure housed the Department of Agriculture from the late 1870s until, under the governorship of "Pitchfork" Ben Tillman, the property was used by the South Carolina Dispensary System as its headquarters. After 1892, the building held a vaudeville theater and then the Hotel Albemarle. While in use as Kimbrell's Furniture, the building suffered an extensive fire in March 1956 which resulted in it being demolished the following July.