1700 Block of Main Street
Site of Marks' Porter and Relish House
In 1828, shortly after moving to Columbia, wealthy Charleston native Alexander Marks (1788-1861) established a boarding house across from the original Masonic lodge. Advertisements in the South Carolina Gazette and Columbia Advertiser claimed it served the 'best Wines and Liquors.' The establishment also boasted a reading room 'containing papers from different parts of the Union,' for patrons who paid a two-dollar annual fee. In 1833, Marks was arrested for violating a religious statute that banned the sale of goods on the Christian Sabbath. A founder of the Hebrew Benevolent Society, Marks argued the ordinance violated his constitutional religious liberties, as practicing Jews observed Saturdays as their Sabbath. Marks relocated his family to New Orleans shortly after the South Carolina Supreme Court dismissed his challenge and upheld the law.
Construction of the Richland County Courthouse in the 1980s irrevocably altered the west side of Main Street's 1700 block. The modern, Brutalist style muncipal structure replaced virtually an entire block's worth of 19th- and early 20th-century commercial buildings of various styles, as the camera lens of photographer Russell Maxey captured in 1978.