1215 Pine Street
Modjeska Monteith Simkins Birthplace
Built in 1899 by skilled brick mason Henry Clarence Monteith, this one-story brick cottage is unique for both its craftsmanship and its significance as the first home of Monteith’s daughter, Modjeska Monteith Simkins (1899-1992). The house features a unique, economical yet structural, brick bond, defined by seven rows of stretchers locked into a row of alternating headers and stretchers. Monteith embellished the structure’s pediment with a brick bond laid in a side-turned herringbone pattern, surrounding a brick rosette attic vent.
The Monteith family lived here off and on during the first decade of the twentieth century. In May 1909, Henry C. Monteith sold the Pine Street brick house property to John P. Lakin (1852-1917) for $1,800 and shortly thereafter moved his family from the Waverly neighborhood to a farm on Mason Road, just north of Columbia. Descendants of John P. Lakin owned the property until the late 1930s. In 1982, squatters led by housing rights’ activist Margaret Gunter, in a move to show Columbia city council the need for housing during a period of high inflation and interest rates, temporarily adopted the brick house as their own. Roosevelt Cummings, then and current owner of the property, repaired the historic house in the late 1980s at a cost of $3,000, ensuring its place on Pine Street for decades to come.