When you pass by the one-story house at 1811 Gervais St. — better known as the Alston House— you may not know that there are 150+ years of history behind the door.
The house was built in 1872 for Caroline Alston, who was a prominent Black businesswoman at the time, and her husband, John E. Alston.
The Alston House | Photo via Richland Library from the State Newspaper Archives
The structure is a one-story clapboard Greek Revival cottage that features a gable roof with two interior chimneys, and early nineteenth-century ironwork on the front of the building.
The cottage also included an addition on the front that served as Caroline’s home and a retail grocery store until 1906. She solddry goods to both Black + white customers and her store was a well-known establishment for over 20 years.
She was a successful businesswoman and was one of just 25 Black business owners operating in the Columbia area in the late 1800s.
The Alston Housewas added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The property was later home to McDuffie’s Antiques for many years.
Today,Jennifer Clyburn Reed, daughter of longtime US Rep. Jim Clyburn, owns the property and has plans to renovate the current structure. She hopes to continue the spirit of entrepreneurship in the next phase of the building and pay tribute to Caroline Alston.
Clyburn Reed expects that restorations will be completed by next year. She might house her nonprofit, Magnolia Blossom SC, in the building upon completion but is open to other ideas on how to utilize the property. Do you have other ideas for this property? Let us know here.
ComingSoon ○ Calling all cookie monsters — this one is for you. Mingo Cookies Co. is coming soon to Lexington (5580 Sunset Blvd., Suite D). The cookie company is expecting to host a grand opening on Sat., March 6. Follow along on the Instagram page + take a bite out of this birthday cake cookie. 🍪 ○ Cod Tail Seafood and Chickenwill open in a former Rush’s fast food location(2540 Decker Blvd.) that closed in 2019. Cod Tail is a seafood restaurant chain with locations currently in Charleston and Greenwood. (The State)
Cause ○ Aflac awarded a $10,000 grant to supportMIRCI’s Youth Drop-in Center to offer more life skills lessons to homeless or at-risk of homelessness youth. The center will help to provide basic necessities,such as meals, showers, and internet access, to help the residents thrive.
UofSC ○ UofSChonored members of the new program The Luminary Leaders in Medicine and Science Recognition for its inaugural seven-member class during a virtual ceremony on Feb. 18. The program was designed to provide recognition to medical + science community leaders. (CRBR)
Holiday ○ Purim, the Jewish holiday which commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman,begins at sunset on Thurs., Feb. 25, and ends at nightfall on Fri., Feb. 26. Purim is celebrated by enjoying a feast, exchanging gifts of food and drink + reciting the Scroll of Esther. Celebrate locally at the Purim Fireshow and Megillah.
WaterCooler ○ South Carolina Baseball returned over the weekend with opening day last Friday. The Gamecocks defeated Dayton in a three-game sweep on Sunday, 5-1. View the 2021 baseball schedule here. ⚾ (WACH Fox)
Civic ○ According to GasBuddy, the national average price of gas per gallon,currently at $2.54, could rise 10-20 cents due to extreme cold weather recently faced across the country. Areas close to Texas + Kansas, including the Carolinas, are likely to see a higher increase due to the shutdown of 11 major refineries. ⛽(WIS)
Ranked ○ 99. Columbia’s ranking in a recent WalletHub study of the 2021 hardest working cities. The study compared 116 of the largest cities and examined 11 key metrics, including the employment rate, average weekly work hours + workers with multiple jobs. Anchorage, AK ranked first and Detroit, MI came up last.(WalletHub)
Digs ○ Know someone moving to Cola this spring? 5000 Forestis open for tours — call 803-790-9880 to schedule yours. Ⓟ
Wellness ○ Fall asleep faster, sleep longer + wake up refreshed (yes, please). PhD-formulated and non-habit-forming, Proper’s natural ingredients are clinically-proven to be effective but won’t knock you out or make you groggy. Try the Discovery Trial Pack to sample five unique formulas, and get 10% off with code TODAY. 💤 Ⓟ
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Painting With A Twist is hosting a reallywhale-some event. Make a slash for a cause with Riverbanks Zoo and Garden on March 4 from 6:30-9 p.m. to support the Pacific Whale Foundation. Save your spot here to paint this whale tail pictured above.
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Drink ○February 2021 After Hours | Tues., Feb. 23 | 5-7 p.m. | Craft And Draft Irmo | Free | Network with members of the Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce. 🍻
TryThis ○Bingo Night | Tues., Feb. 23 | 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Krafty Draft Brew Pub | Free | Prizes will be awarded to winners at the end of the night. 🥇
Cause ○ Bikes & Blankets Drive | Tues., Feb. 23 | 8 a.m.-6 p.m. | Scoopy Doo Gelato Shop | Free | COR will be accepting donations of blankets for Transitions Homeless Center + bikes or gently used bike parts for Cola Town Bike Collective. 🚲
ForKids ○Our Voices Poetry Slam| Tues., Feb. 23 | 6-8 p.m. | Virtual | Free | Young poets, aged 12-19, are invited to join the Soda City Youth Slam for the chance to win prizes. Register on Facebook. 🎤
Disclaimer: It is up to readers’ discretion to determine whether they feel comfortable participating in any mentioned events based on COVID-19 protocols and precautions. If you have questions, please contact the event’s organizers directly.