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  1. Main Street South Carolina State House Main and Gervais streets
  2. Main Street Capitol Center Tower 1201 Main Street
  3. Main Street Union Bank/Columbia Building/Carolina Life Building 1200 Main Street
  4. Main Street Brennen Building 1210-1214 Main Street
  5. Main Street Main & Gervais Office Tower 1221 Main Street
  6. Main Street 1241 Main Street 1241 Main Street
  7. Main Street First Citizens Bank Building 1230 Main Street
  8. Main Street Meridian Building 1320 Main Street
  9. Main Street Equitable Arcade Building / Arcade Mall 1332 Main Street/1216 Washington Street
  10. Main Street Barringer Building 1338 Main Street
  11. Main Street First National Bank Building 1208 Washington Street
  12. Main Street 1339 Main Street 1339 Main Street
  13. Main Street Sheraton Hotel / Palmetto Building 1400 Main Street
  14. Main Street First National Bank 1401 Main Street
  15. Main Street Columbia Museum of Art Northwest corner of Main and Hampton Streets (Formerly 1501 Main Street)
  16. Main Street Sylvan Building 1500 Main Street
  17. Main Street Capitol Places / Kress Building 1508 Main Street
  18. Main Street Canal Dime Savings Bank 1530 Main Street
  19. Main Street Lorick & Lowrance Mercantile Building 1535-1537 Main Street
  20. Main Street 1556 Main Street 1556 Main Street
  21. Main Street Berry's on Main / Manson Building 1600 Main Street
  22. Main Street Mast General Store / Lofts at Lourie's / Efird's Building 1601 Main Street
  23. Main Street Nickelodeon / Fox / State Theater 1607 Main Street
  24. Main Street King's Jewelers 1611 Main Street
  25. Main Street W. T. Grant Building 1614-1616 Main Street
  26. Main Street The Lever Building 1613 Main Street
  27. Main Street Habenicht-McDougall Building 1631 Main Street
  28. Main Street Main Street Lofts / Tapp's Building 1644 Main Street
  29. Main Street Greyhound Bus Station 1200 Blanding Street
  30. Main Street Tronco's / Palmetto Fire Engine Company Station 1213 Blanding Street
  31. Main Street Boucher Building 1722-1724 Main Street
  32. Main Street Eurytania Building 1726-1728 Main Street
  33. Main Street The Brown Building 1730-1732 Main Street
  34. Main Street The Boyne Building 1736-1738 Main Street
  35. Main Street United States Courthouse and Post Office / Columbia City Hall 1737 Main Street
  36. Main Street Former site of 1301-1307 Main Street Former site of 1301-1307 Main Street
  37. Main Street The Robinson Building 1619-1621 Main Street
  38. Main Street The Phoenix Building 1625 Main Street
  39. Main Street Schulte-United Building 1620-1624 Main Street

1

Main Street

South Carolina State House

Architects: John R. Niernsee (1854-1885); Francis (Frank) McHenry Niernsee (1888-1891); Frank P. Milburn (1900-1904); Charles C. Wilson (1904-1907)

Architectural Style: Classic Revival

Built: 1854-1907; rehabilitated 1995-1998

South Carolina’s State House mimics the architecture of Greek and Roman temples, which inspired one of the most popular and pervasive styles found in 19th-century public buildings.  The symmetrical structure features a raised first floor and an imposing temple-like front comprised of a ten-columned portico with pediment.  A single piece of granite, each column stands 43 feet in height and weighs 37 tons.  They were carved on site and then erected.  With the original 1788 wood frame statehouse considered obsolete and in great disrepair, construction began on its replacement in 1851.

Due to a defective foundation, construction was halted and the initial architect, Peter Hjalmar Hammarskold, was fired.  Under the guidance of Baltimore native John Rudolph Niernsee the foundation of the current building was laid and work progressed through the efforts of between 375 and 500 men, about 60% black and many Irish immigrants, until interrupted by the Civil War in 1865.  When Union troops descended upon Columbia in February 1865 the initial state house was burned, and this building, though incomplete, nonetheless presented a target worthy of shelling.  It would not be until early the next century that the building could be considered officially completed.

Today, six bronze stars indicate impact areas on the building’s façade.  From 1995 through 1998, a $60-million renovation addressed structural, mechanical, seismic, and aesthetic issues that plagued the building.

Main Street

South Carolina State House

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2

Main Street

Capitol Center Tower

Architect: Robert Kennedy of GMK Associates, Inc

Architectural Style: High-Tech with International Style influence 

Built: 1987

At least three other buildings preceded this modern skyscraper. The most notable - Columbia's City Hall and Opera House (shown here) - was a grand Second Renaissance Revival style landmark that occupied this site from 1900 until 1938. Its replacement - the austere Wade Hampton Hotel, designed by the prestigious Chicago architectural firm of Holabird and Root - stood here from 1940 until its implosion in 1985 to make way for the Capitol Center Tower.

Main Street

Capitol Center Tower

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3

Main Street

Union Bank/Columbia Building/Carolina Life Building

Architect: William Augustus Edwards

Architectural Style: Chicago School/Tudor Gothic

Built: 1914; remodeled 1965 and circa-1980

Erected by John J. Cain, Columbia's third skyscraper is also known as "Number One Main." Like other buildings of the Chicago School, its form is derived from that of columns found in classical architecture. The bottom two stories form the base, the middle eight the shaft, and the topmost the capital. Originally, nine pairs of gothic finials, punctuated by stepped parapets, adorned the roofline. Changes to the building's exterior have obscured or removed much original detail, though the structure retains its overall basic elements. The building's composition embraced the latest in technology for its day, as steel, power elevators and high-pressure water systems allowed structures to reach unprecedented heights.

The Union Bank Building replaced a two-story masonry structure, built sometime between 1865 and 1872, which for over a generation housed grocery, provision, and liquor stores, and from 1901 until 1912, the Trolley Transfer Station for the Columbia Electric Street Railway, Light, and Power Company.

Main Street

Union Bank/Columbia Building/Carolina Life Building

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4

Main Street

Brennen Building

C. Drie, Bird’s Eye View of the City of Columbia, South Carolina, 1872, Courtesy of Library of Congress

Architectural Style: French Victorian 

Built: circa 1870

One of Main Street's oldest remaining buildings takes its name from businessman Michael Brennen, who, in December 1864, bought the land on which it rests.  Available for rent by 1870, the property experienced many uses over the next century. Architecturally, the two-story masonry structure is representative of most commercial buildings erected in Columbia immediately after the Civil War. Sometime after 1919, the building received its cast-iron balcony, which evokes a French Victorian feel. 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.

Main Street

Brennen Building

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5

Main Street

Main & Gervais Office Tower

Architects: Duda Paine Architects

Architectural Style: Modern

Built: 2009

The latest of several buildings that have stood on this site over the past 225 years, today's 18-story skyscraper opened during a decade-long period of new construction and rehabilitation aimed at revitalizing Columbia's Main Street. Visual dynamism, achieved through an angular, asymmetrical shape and a unique viod forming a fourth-story balcony, distinguishes the steel and glass structure from neighboring landmarks.

Main Street

Main & Gervais Office Tower

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6

Main Street

1241 Main Street

Architect: Lafaye, Lafaye, & Associates

Architectural Style: Modern

Built: 1970

In 1970, this International Style-inspired structure replaced one of the city’s oldest post-bellum commercial structures, built shortly after 1865. To a degree, today's modern building adheres to the earlier Chicago School of architecture. Its form, featuring a discernable base, shaft and capital, is like that found in the movement’s columnar form of design.

Main Street

1241 Main Street

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7

Main Street

First Citizens Bank Building

Architects: Stevens and Wilkinson

Architectural Style: Post-modern with Art Deco influences

Built: 2006

Visually dynamic, this nine-story bank headquarters consumes much of the eastern portion of Main Street’s 1200 block, though its front facade faces Lady Street. While shorter than some modern contemporaries, the property nonetheless conveys great presence due to the vertical emphasis of its core, which is stepped at the top for added visual interest. Deriving some inspiration from the Art Deco movement of the early 20th century, this recent addition to Main Street marks another chapter in bank-related changes along the capital city’s main commercial corridor.

Main Street

First Citizens Bank Building

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8

Main Street

Meridian Building

Architect: Stevens and Wilkinson

Architectural Style: Post Modern 

Built: 2004

Merging old and new, this 17-story recent addition to Columbia's skyline features a mixture of design influences. In a dramatic fashion the skyscraper's foundation incorporates the façade of the former Consolidated Building (shown here in 1949), a 19th-century structure redesigned in 1912 by Columbia architect J. Carroll Johnson to reflect the Spanish Gothic style. Technology-inspired elements can be found throughout the building's elevations and a pergola-like roofline sets this high-rise apart from others of its stature.

Main Street

Meridian Building

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9

Main Street

Equitable Arcade Building / Arcade Mall

Image courtesy Jeannine Callahan

Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival

Built: 1912

The Equitable Real Estate Company, a group of Columbia businessmen that included banker and developer Edwin Wales Robertson, constructed Columbia's first indoor shopping center at a reputed cost of $200,000. The L-shaped terra cotta-clad building (depicted in the 1910 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map) featured an open arcade patterned after those in Italy. From 1972 until 1974, its basement held a series of restaurants and bars called Down Under Columbia.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Columbia, South Carolina, 1910, Courtesy of South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Columbia, South Carolina, 1919, Courtesy of South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

Main Street

Equitable Arcade Building / Arcade Mall

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10

Main Street

Barringer Building

Architect: Brite & Bacon

Architectural Style: Chicago School/Georgian Revival

Built: 1903; updated 1950s; rehabilitated 2006

Celebrated as the state's first skyscraper, the National Loan and Exchange Bank, as it was originally called, has been a landmark for over one hundred years. Today, the twelve-story building is better known for the Barringer Corporation, a later owner that occupied the property from 1953 until 1974. Underneath its brick and limestone façade. the structure represents advances in building use of steel framework, high-pressure water pipes and elevators. Currently, the venerable building features unique apartments under the auspices of Capitol Places.

Main Street

Barringer Building

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11

Main Street

First National Bank Building

Image courtesy Russell Maxey Photograph Collection, Richland Library

Architectural Style: Classic Revival/Beaux Art

Built: 1924

This massive structure features stonework, columns and entablature that connote safety and security. After 70 years of service the bank made its last transaction in 1993. Suggested plans for rehabilitation involve the property serving as a well-appointed conference center featuring a grand ballroom, boardrooms and a rooftop garden and bar. Working in conjunction with the neighboring Sheraton Hotel. this revitalized structure will become a signature venue for special events.

Main Street

First National Bank Building

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12

Main Street

1339 Main Street

Architect: Perry C. Langston

Architectural Style: New Brutalism

Built: 1973

One of Main Street’s most recognizable structures was erected as home to Standard Federal Savings and Loan. Today it houses City of Columbia offices. The building’s slanted slab-faced walls pierced by random patterned, elongated windows have been likened to the appearance of computer punch cards in use during the 1960s-1970s. However, the building is essentially a local interpretation of the Brutalism school of design made famous by French architect Le Corbusier during the mid-20th century. Characterized by massive or monolithic forms, Brutalism structures typically are devoid of exterior decoration and are made of poured concrete. In this instance, an applied stone aggregate enhances the building’s façade.

Main Street

1339 Main Street

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13

Main Street

Sheraton Hotel / Palmetto Building

Architect: Julius Harderr Israels & Harder

Architectural Style: Chicago School/Gothic Revival

Built: 1913; updated 1980s; rehabilitated 2008

Columbia’s second skyscraper was designed by a New York architectural firm specializing in steel-framed construction. The former bank building’s form reflects the columnar structure characteristic of early skyscrapers. Two floors of Indiana limestone comprise the base. Ten floors are clad in glazed, cream-colored terra cotta. Meanwhile, the capital, or top five floors, features interlaced Italian Gothic arches. An ornate, over-hanging copper cornice and a stone parapet top the building. Motifs of plant life indigenous to the South embellish the property. Today a unique and thriving downtown destination, this landmark was considered for demolition in 1980.

Main Street

Sheraton Hotel / Palmetto Building

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14

Main Street

First National Bank

Architect: Lyles, Bissett, Carlisle & Wolff

Architectural Style: Modern

Built: 1976

No fewer than three other historic structures stood here prior to the current building’s construction. Columbia’s first city hall and make burned in February 1865 during Union occupation. A second, Italianate style city hall (shown here) was built in 1874. In 1899, it also burned. Shortly thereafter, South Carolina National Bank erected a Second Empire style building that was demolished in 1976 for construction of today’s building.

Main Street

First National Bank

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15

Main Street

Columbia Museum of Art

Image courtesy John Hensel Photograph Collection, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina

Architect: Stevens & Wilkinson

Architectural Style: Post-Modern

Built: 1998

For a century this site held department stores, including Mimnaugh’s from 1890 until about 1930 and its successor, Belk’s. About 1950, during a time in Main Street businesses modernized historic storefronts, the original building’s appearance was heavily altered in an effort to compete with stylish, new suburban malls. Today, the Columbia Museum of Art, with a façade featuring geometric forms, an atrium with exposed structural members and an inverted triangular roof, combines with the plaza to form one of Main Street’s more modern landmarks.

Main Street

Columbia Museum of Art

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16

Main Street

Sylvan Building

Architectural Style: Second Empire

Built: 1871; remodeled 1905

As the first large building erected on Main Street after the Civil War, the Central National Bank became an instant landmark. Details such as a mansard roof, heavy quoins and window drip courses set it apart from neighboring buildings. In 1905, Swedish immigrant brothers Gustav and Johannes Sylvan rehabilitated the property into their jewelry store. Changes included removing the structure’s front corner staircase and adding bay windows for displaying merchandise.

Columbia features two Seth Thomas-made street clocks that are replicas of a clock adorning the town square of Bern, Switzerland. The older of the two timepieces made by the famous clockmaker, stands in front of the Sylvan Building; the other stands on the southwest corner of Main and Washington streets.

Main Street

Sylvan Building

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17

Main Street

Capitol Places / Kress Building

Image courtesy John Hensel Photograph Collection, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina

Architect: Edward F. Silbert

Architectural Style: Art Deco

Built: 1934; rehabilitated 1999

Featuring orange, green and blue glazed terra cotta tile cast in lotus petals and papyrus reeds, Columbia’s latest dime store embraced the Depression era’s international fascination with Egyptian themes. A generation later, during the Civil Rights movement, this site gained historic importance as black and white college students rallied against segregation by holding sit-ins at the store’s whites-only lunch counter. Their efforts proved successful when Columbia’s downtown stores integrated peacefully and opened their lunch counters to African-American customers in 1962.

Main Street

Capitol Places / Kress Building

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18

Main Street

Canal Dime Savings Bank

Image courtesy South Carolina State Museum

Architects: W. B. Smith Whaley and Gadsden Shand

Architectural Style: Richardsonian Romanesque

Built: 1895; rehabilitated 1999

This rustic-looking structure replaced an earlier one-story commercial building erected following the Civil War. After the Canal Dime Savings Bank closed in 1898, three other banks owned and operated this building until 1936. From then until the mid-1990s it housed Eckerd’s Drug Store. One of Main Street’s first properties to benefit from Columbia’s urban renaissance, this landmark is placed to both residential and commercial uses. Its neighbor at 1534 Main Street is an architecturally sympathetic replacement for an earlier, original Romanesque Revival structure.

Main Street

Canal Dime Savings Bank

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19

Main Street

Lorick & Lowrance Mercantile Building

Image courtesy the John Hensel Photograph Collection, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina

Architect: J. Carroll Johnson 

Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival

Built: 1913; rehabilitated 2011

Today, only half of the highly ornate structure known as the Lorick & Lawrence Mercantile Building remains. With its multiple storefronts, this property housed many retail shops, as shown in this 1949 photograph. The two sections to the south at 1531 and 1533 Main Street were demolished around 1970 for a new Davison’s Department Store, which later became Macy’s.

Main Street

Lorick & Lowrance Mercantile Building

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20

Main Street

1556 Main Street

Image courtesy South Carolina State Museum

Architectural Style: Commercial; International

Built: 1876; modified circa 1950; rehabilitated 2012

Today reflecting mid-20th century interests in minimalist approaches to architecture, this former McCrory’s dime store has far earlier history on Main Street. Within its core lies a Reconstruction-era building erected as a hotel and store (shown here). Architect Hayward S. Singley oversaw the property’s transformation in the 1950s through the enclosure of windows, the removal of 19th-century details and the addition of modern signage during a time in which many buildings experienced radical façade changes.

Main Street

1556 Main Street

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21

Main Street

Berry's on Main / Manson Building

Image courtesy John Hensel Photograph Collection, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina

Builder: James B. Urquhart

Architectural Style: Classic Revival

Built: 1911; modified 1940s, 1960s; rehabilitated 2001

During much of its time as a popular clothing store this property’s original red brick and Indiana limestone façade lay obscured behind a mid-20th-century façade consisting of pebbled stucco and an enormous business sign. Under the stewardship of its current owner, Capitol Places, which rehabilitated the historic building for commercial and residential use, the landmark more closely resembles its former self.

Main Street

Berry's on Main / Manson Building

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22

Main Street

Mast General Store / Lofts at Lourie's / Efird's Building

Image courtesy John Hensel Photograph Collection, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina

Architectural Style: Commercial Vernacular

Built: 1870s; modified circa 1919; rehabilitated 2011

This property’s recent rehabilitation marks the latest chapter in Main Street’s renaissance. Through sensitive restoration of key features, Mast General Store re-established the essence of the building’s early 20th-century appearance as Efird’s department store. Notable aspects of the work included awning and window restoration, facets of the structure that were modified during the property’s time as Lourie’s, an upscale clothing store that operated here from 1960 until 2008. Inside, restoration work revealed the building’s original pressed-tin ceilings and wood floors, which were integrated into the décor of both Mast’s store and the apartments above it.

Main Street

Mast General Store / Lofts at Lourie's / Efird's Building

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23

Main Street

Nickelodeon / Fox / State Theater

Image courtesy John Hensel Photograph Collection, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina

Architectural Style: Original Unknown; remodeled in Art Deco

Built: 1870s; modified circa 1936; rehabilitated 2012

Like most structures within the Main Street 1600 block, 1607 Main replaced buildings burned in 1865. In 1936, the structure was modified to house The State theater, which became the fifth motion picture house on Main Street. Later known as The Fox, the theater was closed to African-American patrons until 1963. Unable to compete with suburban theaters, The Fox closed its doors in October 1987. Bought by the Nickelodeon Theatre in 2007, this rehabilitated historic structure returns vitality to Main Street through the allure of motion pictures.

Main Street

Nickelodeon / Fox / State Theater

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24

Main Street

King's Jewelers

Architectural Style: Visual Front/Open Front Commercial

Built: circa 1872; modified early 20th century and 1970s

Among the best examples of mid-20th century façade modification that swept Main Street in the late 1960s and 1970s, King’s Jewelers features a dynamic pierced gold metal front with oversized, striking signage. Beneath this modern addition lies a Reconstruction era building that once housed a bakery and jewelry shop. Preserving notable examples of architectural styles, such as that embodied in this store, is important for conveying the evolution of historic downtowns.

Main Street

King's Jewelers

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25

Main Street

W. T. Grant Building

Reprinted from South Carolina Magazine, 1945

In 1931, R.B. Zageir leased 1614 Main Street to the W.T. Grant Junior Department Store. The company tore down the extant building and replaced it with a more modern Art Deco building. The store opened January 9, 1932 and heavily advertised its low prices and the company’s commitment to hiring local saleswomen. W. T. Grant closed its Main Street location in 1959 and went bankrupt in 1979. This structure survives as a rare example of a building constructed by the company. The building is currently owned by LTC Health Solutions and was rehabilitated and reopened in 2014 as Good Life Café. 

Main Street

W. T. Grant Building

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26

Main Street

The Lever Building

Image courtesy South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina

Architectural Style: Classic Revival

Built: 1903

While its original storefront has been altered, this visually dynamic structure retains the vast majority of features that defined it when built by Walter D. Lever as a shoe store and office in the early 20th-century. Like most other large structures on Main Street, this property also housed other businesses, including Rawls Brothers photo studio and Draughon’s Practical Business College.

Main Street

The Lever Building

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27

Main Street

Habenicht-McDougall Building

Image courtesy City of Columbia Planning Department

Architectural Style: Original Unknown; remodeled in Art Moderne

Built: 1870s; modified circa 1937

Main Street’s 1600 block retains the highest concentration of structures erected in the years immediately following the Civil War. During the mid-20th-century many buildings’ original façades were obscured or removed to reflect changing tastes in architecture. Some of these modifications resulted in aesthetically appealing new façade, such as that rendered for this former sporting goods store in the 1940s.

Main Street

Habenicht-McDougall Building

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28

Main Street

Main Street Lofts / Tapp's Building

Image courtesy John Hensel Photograph Collection, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina

Architectural Style: Art Moderne

Built: 1880s; modified 1939 and 1952; rehabilitated 2003

One of Columbia’s most successful businesses, Tapp’s Department Store operated here for 92 years. The company’s original two-story building was renovated in 1939 to reflect contemporary tastes. Further modification a decade later involved an addition of extra stories, though the 1939-1940-era roofline remains evident under the 1950s-era stucco. After its success flagged with the exodus of retail and commercial services to the suburbs, Tapp’s closed its Main Street doors in 1995. Today an art colony and apartments occupy the landmark property.

Main Street

Main Street Lofts / Tapp's Building

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29

Main Street

Greyhound Bus Station

Image courtesy John Hensel Photograph Collection, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina

Architect: George D. Brown

Architectural Style: Streamline Moderne

Built: 1939

The building is Columbia’s finest example of Streamline Moderne, an architectural style that served during the Great Depression as a significant symbol of hope through modernity. Materials, such as glass block, mirrored panels, aluminum and stainless steel, evoked a streamline design equated with speed, efficiency and industrial prosperity - characteristics all befitting a modern bus station. In 1995, the National Trust for Historic Preservation acknowledged the property’s architectural significance by including the site in its official preservation month poster.

Main Street

Greyhound Bus Station

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30

Main Street

Tronco's / Palmetto Fire Engine Company Station

Image courtesy Columbia Fire Department Museum

Architect: Unidentified

Architectural Style: Italianate

Built: circa 1869

Home to Villa Tronco Restaurant since 1941, this structure’s original occupant was the Palmetto Fire Engine Company, one of the oldest all-volunteer companies in the capital city. In 1903, Palmetto volunteers merged with three other fire companies to form Columbia’s first paid fire department. The company operated from this site until 1921 when it relocated to 916 Main Street. From then until 1937, the former firehouse was leased to the Southern Bell Telephone Company.

Main Street

Tronco's / Palmetto Fire Engine Company Station

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31

Main Street

Boucher Building

Architectural Style: Second Renaissance Revival

Built: between 1910-1919

Like the design of many buildings erected or modified in the early 20th century, this property (at right) follows the tenets of the revival movement popular during that period. Over the last century the structure housed many different businesses, including Sears, Roebuck and Company’s toy department. This three-story masonry commercial building features a façade of strong, repetitive balustrades and garland motifs of fruits and foliage, all achieved in off-white terra cotta.

Main Street

Boucher Building

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32

Main Street

Eurytania Building

Architectural Style: Original Unknown; remodeled in Art Deco

Built: between 1865-1872; remodeled circa 1940

Named for a mountainous area of central Greece, this building (at left) is another example of a Reconstruction-era commercial building clad in an early 20th-entry façade. It has been the location of a multitude of businesses during its history including paint, hardware and fruit stores, a restaurant and a Chinese laundry.

Main Street

Eurytania Building

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33

Main Street

The Brown Building

Image courtesy John Hensel Photograph Collection, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina

Architect: Sams & Carter

Architectural Style: Classic Revival

Built: 1901

Erected for Charles O. Brown and Brothers Company for a hardware store, this three-story masonry structure (at right), like many of its 19th-century counterparts, simultaneously contained multiple enterprises. Other early businesses included drug, grocery and furniture stores. By incorporating classical design elements such as pediments, pilasters and a bracketed cornice, the building conveys a sense of distinction among its neighbors.

Main Street

The Brown Building

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34

Main Street

The Boyne Building

Image courtesy John Hensel Photograph Collection, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina

Architect: Sams & Carter

Architectural Style: Italianate

Built: 1901

Inspired by building design popular in the 19th century, this structure (at left) historically housed multiple tenants, including drug, grocery, candy and shoe stores on its ground floor and a boarding house and hotel within its second and third stories. For generations of Columbians, however, this building became synonymous with one of the city’s leading restaurants, the Elite Epicurean.

Main Street

The Boyne Building

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35

Main Street

United States Courthouse and Post Office / Columbia City Hall

Architect: Alfred B. Mullet

Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival

Built: 1874-1876

Federal Supervising Architect Alfred B. Mullet (1834-1890) designed this building as a United States Post Office and Courthouse in 1870. The $400,000 structure features styling based on the palazzo, or palace, architecture of Renaissance Italy. When the post office relocated in 1921, the federal judiciary expanded into the vacated space. By the late 1920s, it had outgrown the building and a new courthouse was planned for this site. In 1932, Mayor L. B. Owens and City Council negotiated a swap with the federal government acquiring the city-owned corner of Assembly and Laurel streets for the new building and the city acquiring the courthouse and land at Main and Laurel streets for its City Hall.

Main Street

United States Courthouse and Post Office / Columbia City Hall

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36

Main Street

Former site of 1301-1307 Main Street

Architect: Charles C. Wilson

Architectural Style: Second Renaissance Revival

Built: 1901; demolished circa 1961

On the northwest corner of Main and Lady streets once stood the Hotel Jerome, one of many historic hotels that graced this major commercial district.  Reminiscent of Italian architecture, this former landmark structure like other properties on Main Street, succumbed to mid-20th century redevelopment that demolished or heavily altered decades-old buildings.

Main Street

Former site of 1301-1307 Main Street

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37

Main Street

The Robinson Building

Constructed circa 1866 on land owned by John Rawls, 1619-1621 Main Street is one of several structures on Main Street built during the Reconstruction era. English immigrants, William and Selina Robinson, owned the property as early as 1879, and it passed down to their daughters following Selina's death in 1922. The Robinsons were active members of the Jewish community in Columbia; William served as a founding officer of the Hebrew Cemetery Society, a “free cemetery or burial ground for Hebrews,” today known as the Beth Shalom Cemetery at 1300 Whaley Street. By 1898, The State newspaper referred to the building as the "Robinson building."

The original footprint of the Robinson Building, seen here in the 1904 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map. The Chinese laundry was owned by Yee Ching and the "fruit" was a fruit and confectionery store run by GK Xepapas. Image courtesy of South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia

The expanded footprint of the Robinson Building, seen here in the 1910 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map. Image courtesy of South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia

Between 1904-1909, the Robinson Building expanded to include a large theater at the rear. On April 26, 1909, the Grand Theatre opened as a vaudeville house that offered both live performances as well as motion pictures. In operation from 1909 until 1914, the theatre changed ownership frequently. It also underwent extensive renovations circa 1910, which included the addition of “Robinson” to the façade.

Montgomery, the Moving Picture Man was one of the many owners of the Grand Theatre. Reprinted from the 1912 Garnet and Black yearbook

In 1936, the Allan Shop, owned by the Picow family, opened in the 1619 address of the Robinson building. It later became Allan’s Clothiers, which expanded to include the entire building in 1948. In 1951, Allan’s made modifications to the façade, adding pink marble, metal window jalousies, and a new paint scheme done with “harmonizing paint.” This is also when the oversized, neon Allan’s sign was placed on the front of the building. Allan’s would remain at 1619-1621 Main Street until it closed its doors in 1971.

 Reprinted from The State newspaper, October 26, 1952.

The Robinson Building briefly housed a wax museum in 1979 and 1980, as seen in this photograph by Russell Maxey. Image courtesy of the Russell Maxey Collection, Richland Library

In 1983, Andy Zalkin’s Army Navy Store relocated to a portion of the Robinson building, where it operated until 2016. In 2016, the building was bought by LTC Health Solutions, which oversaw a major rehabilitation of the property began. The original core of the 1866 building remains intact, as does one of the building’s original windows that was obscured during the 1910 renovation. Intricate tile work and a steel beam that extended the façade from the 1910 renovation were found. Informed by the building's history and the rediscovery of the original sign from The Grand Theatre, the new restaurant and bowling alley was named The Grand on Main, which opened in late 2017.

Historic Columbia staff with the recovered sign in 2017. Historic Columbia collection 

Main Street

The Robinson Building

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38

Main Street

The Phoenix Building

Built by Julian Selby in 1866 to house the offices of the triweekly newspaper The Daily Phoenix, this three-story structure is perhaps the oldest remaining Main Street building.  

Early Occupants 

Advertisement from the 1875 Columbia City Directory for  The Phoenix depicted the structure at 1623-1625 Main Street.  Image courtesy South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina 

The Daily Phoenix served as Columbia’s newspaper following the burning of Columbia. Although Selby initially struggled to acquire staff and supplies, he managed to secure Southern literary writer William Gilmore Simms as editor. The newspaper changed names several times before being bought out by C. P. Pelham in 1875. Pelham continued to operate the newspaper until 1878. 

Following the newspaper's departure, the Phoenix Building housed a variety of tenants, including the Commercial Bank, which "handsomely fitted up" the structure by 1886. 

  

The façade for the Commercial Bank, 1886. Historic Columbia collection 

Additional occupants included Ella Frick’s millinery, William Earle’s dental practice, and a Capital Lodge for the Knights of Pythias. Sargeant Studios, a photography business run by John A. Sargeant, operated from the first floor of the building from 1921 until 1928. 

From 1912 until the building's sale in 2016, Jewish merchants operated businesses at the Phoenix Building. 

I. Cassel Cigar Factory (1623 Main Street, 1912 – 1952) 

Isidor Cassel (1872 – 1954) operated his cigar manufacturing business at 1623 Main Street for more than 40 years. Cassel immigrated from Ritschenwalde, Germany, to the United States in 1884. He joined the United States Marine Corps when he was 15 and served more than three years. He arrived in Columbia in 1892 to work for Henry Bamberg (1857 – 1919), a highly regarded cigar manufacturer and who served as the first treasurer of the Tree of Life Congregation. In 1896, Cassel married Bamberg’s sister-in-law, Estelle “Essie” Epstin Cassel (1877 – 1948). 

In 1901, Cassel opened his own cigar manufacturing business in the 1400 block of Main Street. In 1912, he relocated I. Cassel Cigar Factory to the Phoenix Building, where it remained until 1952. His nephew, Jacob Solomon Bamberg (1889 - 1953), was a World War I veteran who worked for him for 28 years beginning in 1916. 

 

Advertisement for I. Cassel Cigar Factory. Reprinted from The State, May 5, 1925 

Cassel was a member of the House of Peace Synagogue and joined the Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1899. He served as its secretary-treasurer from 1915 until 1954. At the time of his death he was the oldest member of the Freemasons organization Richland Lodge No. 39, having joined in 1896.  Reprinted from The Tree of Life: Fifty Years of Congregational Life at the Tree of Life Synagogue, Columbia, S.C by Helen Kohn Hennig 

King’s Jewelers (1946 – 1964) 

In 1946, Nathan Picow (b. 1924) opened King’s Jewelers at 1625 Main Street. In addition to jewelry, he sold appliances, furniture and television sets. In 1962, Picow opened a second location down the block at 1611 Main Street, which his sons, Ian and Jeffrey, continue to operate. 

Mark’s Mens Wear (1981 – 2016) 

Arnold Rivkin (1922 – 2008), the son of Raphael (1899 – 1987) and Rachel Winter Rivkin (1902 – 1984), purchased the building in 1977. In 1981, Rivkin moved his business, Mark’s Mens Wear, from 1338 Assembly Street to the first floor, where it remained in operation until the building was sold in 2016.

Today, the building is owned by LTC Health Solutions. A major rehabilitation beginning in 2016 connected the first story of the Phoenix Building with the first story of the adjacent Robinson Building, and the second and third stories have been turned into privately owned apartments.  

Main Street

The Phoenix Building

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Main Street

Schulte-United Building

Photograph showing the Schulte-United Department Store and its neighbors, circa 1950. Image courtesy of the John Hensel Photograph Collection, South Carolinana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia 

Built in 1928 in the Neoclassical-Modern style, the Schulte-United Building was originally home to the Schulte-United Department Store. The Schulte-United Company, a national enterprise born of a merger between Schulte Retail Stores Corporation and the United Cigar Store Corporation, went bankrupt in 1931, although the Main Street storefront continued to operate under the Schulte-United name until 1955. The H.L. Green Department or Variety Store occupied the building from 1955 until 1973. Various retailers occupied the space in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Following a period of vacancy, the building was purchased and rehabilitated by LTC Health Solutions, which opened Michael’s Café and Catering in 2014. 

Main Street

Schulte-United Building

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