Each May, in observance of National Historic Preservation Month, Historic Columbia Foundation recognizes local projects that epitomize efforts to maintain and add to the historically, architecturally and culturally significant buildings, neighborhoods, and landscapes within the capital city and Richland County. This year the Foundation joins the National Trust for Historic Preservation in its theme of "Celebrating America's Treasures." A bumper crop of applications yielded recognition for eight local projects.
Preservation/Restoration & Preservation Leadership
Trinity Cathedral, 1100 Sumter Street
In anticipation of its 200th anniversary, Trinity Parish embarked on what appeared to be a $2 million capital improvement of Trinity Cathedral and Parish House. When completed in 2010, the resultant work far exceeded initial estimates in extent and cost. However, the end result, made possible through the dedication of skilled South Carolina craftsmen, led to a state-of-the-art restoration of this circa-1846 National Register of Historic Places-listed site.
A no-stone unturned mentality at one of the capital city’s most endearing religious landmarks was taken by parishioners after realizing the magnitude of need at the Upper Diocese of South Carolina’s cathedral. Complete removal of all inappropriate Portland cement and damaged historic stucco; complete removal of all interior plaster; and extensive decorative and structural woodwork – each a project within a project – were met with a detailed eye for preservation. These and other aspects of a multi-year rehabilitation and restoration project ultimately cost the congregation $8 million, much of which was the result of addressing water infiltration issues and termite damage, two key enemies of all buildings – old and new, and stabilizing the church’s Sumter Street façade, which suffered from potentially fatal structural cracks.
Having successfully weathered this financially and physically challenging project, Trinity’s congregation and visitors to the cathedral are now met with a sound building stunning in appearance and sustained for future generations to appreciate for its spiritual, historical and cultural importance to Columbia and South Carolina.
Goodwill Plantation, Eastover
Since purchasing this Lower Richland County property in 1995, J. Larry Faulkenberry has totally emerged himself in its history while restoring key elements of its historic character, addressing wildlife needs, and opening the site for public tours.
The work of Faulkenberry illustrates the power that the love of history can have on certain people. For over the past 15 years, the latest owner of this Lower Richland County plantation has worked to rehabilitate this plantation by restoring those historic elements that remained and reconstructing aspects of the farm that had fallen to the ravages of time. Of particular importance was Faulkenberry’s decision to repair the property’s surviving housing for former enslaved workers so that current and future generations of visitors can see first-hand the conditions that so many South Carolinians experienced before emancipation and the end of the Civil War. Another highly notable accomplishment has been the reconstruction of a mill house with its working water wheel and the restoration of an original overseer’s house on the property. All of these historic aspects blend well with the attention to detail that Faulkenberry has leveled at maintaining and improving the landscape in order to better accommodate visitors and wildlife.
Pine Grove Rosenwald School, St. Andrews
As the last remaining school of the 15 built in Richland County, this circa-1923 facility was saved from destruction by the Richland County Recreation Commission (RCCC), which saved the property, recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places, for use as a field study site for Richland District One students.
Harnessing the power of a number of grants from such sources as the Richland County Conservation Commission; the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Lowe’s Rosenwald fund; and the South Carolina Budget and Control Board, the RCCC, working in conjunction with architect John Clayton, performed extensive rehabilitation of this structure that educated African-American students from 1923 until 1954. Work involved asbestos removal and lead abatement; foundation repair; demolition of a non-contributing addition; installation of a new roof; interior and exterior woodwork repairs; and a new paint job.
Ultimately, this rehabilitated cultural asset will feature period-appropriate furnishings and an historic marker that will enhance its future education use for further generations of students.
Wesley United Methodist Church
1725 Gervais Street
Faced with potential demolition, the circa-1910 Columbia landmark fortunately was saved by parishioners whose efforts have resulted in extensive exterior restoration work within the structure’s masonry and stained glass windows.
Retention of this landmark African-American church, which stands along one of Columbia’s busiest corridors, is a success story in preservation. Committed to its downtown heritage, the congregation engaged the services of The Boudreaux Group to oversee the completion of Phase I of a detailed preservation project that involved the installation of a new roof and flashing masonry cleaning and repair; window refurbishing and partial replacement; as well as stucco repair. The highlight of this $300,000 project, which will be followed by interior work later, is the structure’s beautifully restored signature stained glass windows, whose future has been ensured thanks to meticulous restoration efforts.
Adaptive Use/New Construction in an Historic Context
601 Gervais Street/1218 Pulaski Street Complex
Inspired by the Vista’s industrial roots, Studio 2LR created a distinctly modern structure whose massing, materials, and design complement this historic district’s character while offering a fashionable modern office space through the adaptive reuse of an historic structure formerly used as an antique mall.
Dynamic is perhaps one of the best words to describe Studio 2LR’s achievement of pairing the old with the new. The complex’s Gervais Street component, which was the remaining southern half of the former mall, achieves a successful balance of both vertical thrust and horizontal fluidity through its asymmetrical façade that is enhanced at night by strategically placed accent lighting. On the street and courtyard levels, and situated within a roof-top patio, are landscaping elements that soften the austerity of the building’s cubist lines. Among other notable design decisions is the choice of complex parking, situated to the north of both buildings in a fashion that emphasizes the buildings’ human scale and pedestrian-friendly orientation to both Gervais and Pulaski streets.
New Construction in an Historic Context
Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections, USC Library
Concern of respect for Edward Durell Stone’s Cooper Library and the challenge to meet the demands of security and environmental controls resulted in this striking facility that preserves the University of South Carolina’s renowned rare book collection.
This recently completed $18,000, 50,000-square-foot addition exudes smart design. The project’s success begins at the macro level, with the decision to physically separate the new construction from the 1960s-era historic library, which is by construction a stand-alone structure, connected to its predecessor by way of a sky bridge. Once inside the new facility, which features common spaces, seminar rooms, offices, and large galleries, collections are stored according to light sensitivity that is regulated on each story. Also, found within the special collections wing is a digitization lab that features a large-format Zeutschel scanner that will aid in the preservation of and access to delicate materials.
Compounding the building’s successful aesthetic design is its many environmentally sustainable features. Heat gain has been reduced through the use of fritted glass and sunshades that simultaneous allow natural light into occupied areas of the building. Filtered storm water, and the fact builders recycled 94% of the building’s construction waste, reduce the structure’s environmental impact tremendously. Moreover, materials used in construction were predominantly of recycled goods. These, and other steps taken, such as the use of native plants in landscape design, have resulted in an overall project that is expected to achieve a LEED Gold Certification.
1703 Taylor Street
This circa-1930 National Register of Historic Places-listed landmark was transformed into a modern-era facility through a $12 million rehabilitation that involved extensive infrastructure work and the dismantling and repositioning of its façade to accommodate an enlarged lobby, bathrooms, and other amenities.
Balancing a respect for the venerable Depression-era structure and accommodating the venue’s upgrade to a first-class entertainment venue led Richland County to look back to the building’s intended, though never realized, appearance for guidance. This step led to the project’s most dynamic visual transformation, the relocation of the auditorium’s south façade 20 feet toward Taylor Street. Aspects of the original façade, namely cast stone elements and railings were carefully integrated into the rehabilitated interior thus offering contemporary patrons a feel for the structure’s older appearance.
Further rehabilitation work involved reconfiguring the building’s stage house with state-of-the-art sound and lighting technology meanwhile addressing rigging, loading, and storage needs. Dressing rooms were renovated and, in another example of using architectural salvage to provide instant patina to a newly designed space, architects incorporated recycled stage decking into the flooring of the building’s boardroom. Overall, the rehabilitation of the venerable auditorium and the completion of its 19,000-square-foot addition by the architectural firms of Stevens and Wilkinson and Craig Gaulden Davis have provided the residents of Richland County with a 21st-century facility guaranteed to attract top-billing acts from across the country.
Historic Columbia Foundation is a recipient of a 2008 Save America’s Treasures grant from the National Park Service for the rehabilitation of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home. The $335,000 grant will be used to stabilize the building and restore the historic property’s exterior elements.
In partnership with the City of Columbia and the South Carolina Department of Transportation, Historic Columbia Foundation is working to erect thirty historic markers at locations significant to the city’s African-American history. The installation of a marker at the former site of the Celia Saxon School at the corner of Park and Assembly streets was the third unveiling of 2008, with other sites including Randolph Cemetery and the Modjeska Monteith Simkins House.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Museums for America program awarded Historic Columbia Foundation $107,000 to research and document six historic residential neighborhoods within the city center. The following neighborhoods are part of the two-year project: Arsenal Hill, Cottontown, Heathwood, Hollywood/Rose Hill, Lower Waverly, and Old Shandon.
Given annually, Historic Columbia Foundation’s historic preservation awards highlight recent preservation initiatives by individuals, businesses, and neighborhoods that value the importance of retaining our built culture through restoration, adaptive reuse, and sensitive new construction in historic districts. 2008 recipients include: Restoration/Preservation 1830 Henderson Street: the Friday House 1217 Hampton Street: the Kress Building (Quackenbush Architects) Adaptive Reuse 831 Gervais Street: Gervais Place (Starbucks/Garvin Design Group) 300 Gervais Street: the Middleton Building (the City Club) 705 Maple Street: Schneider School (GranDevine) New Construction in a Historic Context 1516 Calhoun Street: Columbia Foot Clinic 1807-1813 Greene Street: Ayrsely Place.
As part of the ongoing project to restore Randolph Cemetery, the Committee for the Beautification and Restoration of Randolph Cemetery, the Downtown Columbia Cemetery Task Force, the City of Columbia and the State of South Carolina unveiled a historic marker at the entrance to the site. Founded in 1871, Randolph Cemetery is the only site in the country where more than ten Reconstruction-era African-American legislators are interred.
Historic Columbia Foundation developed a list of buildings that meet the requirements for designation as local landmarks in the City of Columbia. The Landmark List is used to identify buildings that are not currently protected and could be in danger of demolition or changes that alter the historic fabric of the structure. Each year, working with building owners, Historic Columbia Foundation works to move these buildings from the proposed list to a city landmark.