Historic Columbia — a private nonprofit founded in 1961 — aims to connect locals with the history of our city through preservation advocacy, educational programs, and local partnerships. It endorses inclusivity, responsibility, and community outreach by offering knowledge on how present-day properties connect us with our past.
The organization also conducts research on residential or commercial properties using maps, property ownership, occupancy information, and property evolution to determine whether or not a property is eligible for national or local recognition because of its historic nature. If it is, owners have many resources and incentives available to them.
Over 440 properties in Richland County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If you think you or your businesses may be sitting on a historic property, here’s what Historic Columbia offers in its toolbox of preservation resources.
- Commercial property owners could receive a federal tax credit of 20% if listed on the National Register.
- If you are renovating a historic home, you could be eligible for the Bailey Bill which allows a 20-year tax break on your property.
- Property owners may have access to easements — fancy word for entering a legal agreement to maintain the historic integrity of your property while promoting the rehabilitation of it for financial benefits. Historic Columbia currently maintains 14 easements.
- Though design, demolition, and the provisions for historic districts or landmarks are managed by the City of Columbia’s Design/Development Review Commission, Historic Columbia stands as a resource when looking to apply for incentives or revolving funds. It serves as an advocate when historic districts are presented to the DDRC. See the Historic District and Historic Landmark Designation guide.
Where to start
The process, though highly rewarding, takes dedication. Historic Columbia will help research, assist in drafting submissions, walk you through the processes of preservation, give you access to available resources, and more. If you are interested, contact John Sherrer — the Director of Cultural Resources.
If you don’t have a historic property in Cola, that’s ok too. There are a number of ways to get involved with the organization through donations or becoming a Historic Columbia member.