1210-1214 Main Street
This two-story masonry structure, erected by carriage maker and businessman Michael Brennen and advertised for rent in 1870, is representative of most commercial buildings erected in Columbia immediately after the Civil War, with the ground floor containing two storefronts and the upstairs being used for either residential or further commercial use. After its completion, Brennen briefly leased the building to black grocer Joseph Taylor. The lease was taken over in October 1871 by William M. Fine, who operated a restaurant, saloon, and billiard hall that remained in business through the end of Reconstruction in 1877.
The Capitol Café, a popular restaurant for legislators, prominent citizens, and every-day diners, operated from the building’s 1210 address between 1911 and 2002, making that establishment the property’s longest-serving business. Tuesday nights were especially lively at the café, with “hootenannies,” a spontaneous dance party with live musicians providing entertainment. Sanborn Fire Insurance Company maps show that the building’s cast-iron balcony, which evokes a French Victorian feel, was added sometime after 1919. Today, following award-winning rehabilitation work by owner First Citizens Bank, Blue Flour Bakery and Bourbon operate out of the Brennen building's two storefronts.