Columbia has seen a lot - from the earliest days of the United States to the present day. It's been on the cutting edge and just behind the leaders in a number of instances.
Take a look at Columbia's wide thoroughfares. Contrary to what you might think, they are not a recent development but were actually planned for in the 1700s. That's right! Columbia is the nation's second planned city, right behind New Haven, CT, and was established as the state's new capital in 1786. In a vote of 11-7, the name Columbia, the United States' female personage, was chosen over Washington.
The grid for the city was set up with 400 blocks in a two-mile square near the river. The perimeter streets were 150 feet wide and the remaining streets were 100 feet wide. Those are not arbitrary numbers, but were based upon the belief that mosquitos could not travel more than 60 feet without having a little snack.
Columbia is the site of the world's first fully-electrified textile mill. Cotton made the South the natural location for textile mills, and the Columbia Mills Building, which opened in 1894 and now houses the South Carolina State Museum, was fully powered by electricity from day one. That makes the building itself the Museum's largest artifact.
Few of the city's buildings date back before 1865. Much of the city was burned by General Sherman during the Civil War, except, ironically, the First Baptist Church where the State's Order of Secession was drafted and approved.
The building that now houses the Mast Store was constructed in the 1870s during the Reconstruction Era. It's housed many different businesses over the course of time – including an undertaker's parlor, a bar, and two City of Columbia retail destinations – Efird's and Lourie's. Each served the people of the Midlands for over 40 years each.
Planting by the Moon and by the Signs
Whether or not you believe that your destiny is governed by the stars, you probably know which astrological sign you were born under, right? Astrology is just an amusement to most of us these days, but to our ancestors, natural astrology was important in predicting seasonal events and weather. Well-informed planters used the position of the sun, moon and the constellations to manage their livestock and crops.Read More
Not Goodbye, but So Long to Waynesville's General Manager
In a time when careers are measured in single-digit years, it’s truly something to celebrate when a manager of a retail store started on Day One and is leaving 27 years later. Days spent folding hundreds of sweaters are transcending to days gazing at high peaks in Montana and other places across the globe. No matter where Melanee ends up, it’s going to be just another day in paradise.Read More
5 Ways to Escape the Winter Blues
By now you’ve heard the news – the official weather prognosticating groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, emerged from his burrow and saw his shadow, thus, we’ll have six more weeks of winter. That could be the most depressing news you’ve heard in a while, especially if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. Longer nights, cold temperatures, and gray days all figure into a general feeling of sadness and depression. But, there are steps you can take to reduce its effects. Here are five ways to escape the winter blues.Read More
The location of the Mast Store in Columbia has a long retail history to live up to! The building itself is a product of the Reconstruction era...we bet you know why. In the early days, it housed several different businesses for various lengths of time; however, the majority of the building's history beginning in the early 1900s is shared by two businesses that called it home for over 40 years each.
*Photo courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.