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.
Grandma's Must Have Beauty Products
Do you remember visiting your grandma's house and getting a cut or a scrape? She knew just what to do to help. If you looked in grandma's pocketbook, we bet you'd find a whole arsenal of beauty and health supplies to keep her looking great from sun up to sundown. And they had other uses above and beyond outward health and beauty. It just so happens that many of grandma's go-tos are popular today, too!Read More
Be a Sweetheart at Mast Store February 8 & 9
This year’s Be a Sweetheart campaign runs February 8th and 9th. For 17 years, sweethearts have doubled their gift giving by embracing the greater community in their expression of love. For each pound of candy purchased on these two days, Mast Store will donate $1 to a food security partner.Read More
9 Valentine's Day Gifts They'll Love
Warning, warning … Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. Now’s the time to make your gift selections to surprise your Valentine. We’ve scoured our stores to come up with nine gifts – some traditional and some you may never have considered for Valentine’s Day. We think they’ll connect with what’s important to your loved one and, by extension, to you, too. Let’s get started.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.