Columbia’s Historic Resources Survey + Recommendations

Post office | Photo via @aperfectdayforbananafish

In May 2019, the City of Columbia city’s planning division got the ball rolling on the process of completing a city-wide historical resources survey by applying for a federal historic preservation grant

The City of Columbia Planning Department is responsible for all historic preservation activities and conducting the survey is a part of the city’s effort to keep an up-to-date record of its historical resources. This survey will provide more data to help the city to make decisions that may affect its significant historical resources. Currently, the City of Columbia has over 180 individual landmarks.

When we think about historic resources this usually includes things like buildings, any physical aspect of the landscape, or infrastructure such as bridges or public art. 

The last time the city had an updated city-wide survey was the Bryan Survey in 1993. A lot has changed since this survey – for one thing, buildings have gotten older (reaching their 50-year mark) + interests and priorities have changed

Fast forward to 2020, when funding was secured from the National Park Service + matching funds from the City of Columbia moved the project forward . In May, the Access Preservation team, hired to complete the survey, released important details and goals for what to expect.

The survey would work to fully document + recommend protection of older, intact, historic resources + provide a better understanding for the undocumented mid-century resources in Columbia. The purpose of the survey is not to research every single building but to look at what survives of Columbia’s historic environment.

The survey process begins by focusing on the post-war period, especially resources dating before 1975. After taking an inventory, there will be recommendations made on how historical the resources are. For example, asking questions such as, “How intact are the resources?” + “Can you tell what it looked like when it was first built?” 

Survey area | Photo via City of Columbia 

The area for the survey includes everything from the river to the West, Elmwood Avenue to the North, Harden Street to the East and Blossom Street to the South. The estimated 750 potential resources are in this area, which includes other previously determined historical resources.

Last week, the team gave their final presentation to the City of Columbia’s Design/ Development Review Commission and here are their findings.

During the final presentation on Thurs., Oct. 8 the team released the survey inventory and some of the recommendations. The team announced that they inventoried 721 items that will go through the state historic preservation office for approval, including 424 mid-century period resources that were built between 1945 and 1975. This is the list of recommendations to be considered for the National Register of Historic Places.  

Survey recommendations

Items include all the resources that were highlighted in the virtual meeting on Oct. 8 which you can see here


○ Smith’s Service Station, 2032 Sumter St. 

○ Leevy’s Funeral Home, 1801 Taylor St. 

○ Richtex Shale Products Company, 2000 Taylor St. 

○ M. H. Baxley’s Groceries, 1309 Gregg St. 

○ W. M. Kirby Grocery, 1518 Taylor St. 

○ Richland Tire Auto Sales, 1514 Taylor St. 

○ Star Music, 1320 Assembly St. 

○ People’s Pawn Shop, 1326 Assembly St. 

○ Seastruck Electric Company, 1801 Gervais St. 

○ Standard Old Company Headquarters, 300 Gervais St. 


○ Post Office, 1601 Assembly St. 

○ SC State Archives Building, 8301 Parklane Rd.

Parking and Transportation:

○ Parking Garage – 1st Municipal Garage, 1301 Taylor St. 


○ 1426 Hampton St

○ 1208 Blanding St

○ 1416 Park St


○ YMCA Downtown Location, 1447 Hampton St. 

Historic Districts – 

1800-2000 block Hampton St. – Medical Corridor 

1500 block Harden St. – Black Commercial District 

○ UofSCs New campus + East campus 

Apartment buildings: 

○ Gracelynn Apartments

Beverly Apartments

○ Hyland Apartments

Claire Towers 

Mid-Century office building

901 Elmwood 

Jefferson Square

○ South Bell Building 

Modern Exterminating