Wade Hampton State Office Building
1015 Sumter Street
Designed by Lafaye, Lafaye and Fair with Hopkins & Baker
Built by John C. Heslep Construction Company
This structure was built using funds from the federal Public Works Administration to alleviate the state’s constant need for office space. Its Stripped Classical exterior and Art Deco interiors are typical of other buildings constructed under the New Deal and compliment the State House and the John C. Calhoun State Office Building next door. Built with separate bathrooms for African American citizens, the building housed the State Department for Education throughout the state government’s stalwart defense of racial segregation in public schools.
It is named for Wade Hampton III, a celebrated Confederate general who became South Carolina’s primary “redeemer” upon his election as South Carolina’s governor in 1876. Hampton’s governorship, won by intimidation and fraud, was confirmed by the Compromise of 1877 that saw the U.S. Government withdraw federal troops from the South. This “redemption” from Reconstruction, a period in which democracy and civil rights expanded to include African Americans, is a common theme for several monuments on the grounds, including the equestrian statue memorializing Hampton to the north of this building’s entrance (moved there in 1969).