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Columbia Introduction Walk (Self Guided), Columbia

Columbia is a beautiful city, the largest one in South Carolina, with a great history and beautiful landmarks. It has a large number of old houses that are now museums and that represent a whole part of the history. All these houses have been named after famous personalities and families from years ago. Take this tour and discover the beauty of downtown attractions.
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Columbia Introduction Walk Map

Guide Name: Columbia Introduction Walk
Guide Location: USA » Columbia (See other walking tours in Columbia)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 Km or 3.5 Miles
Author: Caroline
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • South Carolina State House
  • Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
  • University of South Carolina
  • First Presbyterian Church
  • Woodrow Wilson Family Home
  • Robert Mills House
  • Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens
  • Columbia Museum of Art
  • Memorial Park
  • EdVenture
  • South Carolina State Museum
1
South Carolina State House

1) South Carolina State House (must see)

The South Carolina State House is the building housing the government of the U.S. state of South Carolina. The building houses the South Carolina General Assembly and the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina. Until 1971, it also housed the Supreme Court. It is located in the capital city of Columbia near the corner of Gervais and Assembly Streets.

The State House is in the Greek Revival style; it is approximately 180 feet (55 m) tall, 300 feet (91 m) long, 100 feet (30 m) wide. It has 130,673 square feet (12,140 m2) of space. The South Carolina State House was designed first by architect P. H. Hammarskold. Construction began in 1851, but the original architect was dismissed for fraud and dereliction of duty. Soon thereafter, the structure was largely dismantled because of defective materials and workmanship. John Niernsee redesigned the structure and work began on it in 1855, slowed during the Civil War, and was suspended in 1865 as Sherman's Union Army entered Columbia on February 17. Although several public buildings were "put to the torch" when United States troops entered the city, the capitol building was not.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

2) Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (must see)

Trinity Episcopal Church, now known as Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, is the first Episcopal and the oldest surviving sanctuary in Columbia. It is a Gothic Revival church that is modeled after York Minster in York, England. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places on February 24, 1971. Trinity Church is on east side of Sumter Street between Gervais and Senate Streets. It is directly east of the South Carolina State House.

The Gothic Revival church was designed by Edward Brickell White to resemble medieval York Minster. The cornerstone was laid on November 26, 1845, by the rector, Peter Shand. Although the church had a cruciform design, only the nave and the twin towers were constructed. Each tower had eight pinnacles topped with a fleur de lis. The brick structure was plastered with buff stucco. The towers and walls have shouldered buttresses. The nave has a clerestory, which is the only one in a Columbia church. The roof is supported on exposed wooden beams. Bishop Gadsden consecrated the church on February 14, 1857.

At various times in the history of the Parish, three live oak trees were planted in the churchyard. The Sire Oak was planted in 1814 after the first church was built. The second was planted in 1900 after finishing the church. The third tree was planted in 1925 when the Parish House was finished. There is a wrought iron fence around the churchyard.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
University of South Carolina

3) University of South Carolina (must see)

The University of South Carolina (also referred to as USC, SC, South Carolina, or simply Carolina) is a public, co-educational research university in Columbia. Its campus covers over 359 acres (145 ha) in downtown Columbia not far from the South Carolina State House. The U-shape quadrangle of eleven buildings open to Sumter Street, became known as the Horseshoe. During the 20th century the campus began to spread out dramatically from the Horseshoe. Today it includes the student union, 24 residence halls, numerous academic buildings, Longstreet Theatre, the Koger Center for the Arts, the Carolina Coliseum, the Colonial Life Arena, Carolina Stadium, and various facilities for Olympic sports. The University is categorized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as having "highest research activity.

The College of Art and Science of University of South Carolina houses the McKissick Museum. It exposes natural sciences, history and art materials related to mineral collections - different types of minerals, silver from the 18th century, gemstones and other types of stones that were found in the southwest part of the USA.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
First Presbyterian Church

4) First Presbyterian Church

The First Presbyterian Church is a historic church building in Columbia. Although the first meetings of what would become the First Presbyterian Church were held in 1795, the congregation did not have a building of its own until 1813. In 1813, the South Carolina Legislature incorporated the church as the "First Presbyterian Church of the Town of Columbia".

The current site of the church was a shared cemetery with the local Episcopal congregation from 1794 to 1813. The legislature gave the cemetery and other lands to be shared between the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians. A local legend says that First Presbyterian and the now-nearby Trinity Episcopal Cathedral drew lots to determine which congregation would get what lot, with First Presbyterian receiving the cemetery, located at the corner of Lady and Marion Streets.

The 1813 building still exists, and is now known as Jackson Hall. A new, larger English Gothic structure was built in 1854. Though spared the torch during Sherman's march to the sea, the building's original 180-foot spire was destroyed in an 1875 hurricane, and rebuilt in 1888. The spire was again damaged in a 1910 fire, and rebuilt to be eight feet taller. A remodeling in 1925 increased the capacity of the building to 1,250 from 800, increasing the length of the building by 40 feet. At the same time, classrooms were built at the sides, a choir loft added in the rear, and the organ loft rebuilt.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Woodrow Wilson Family Home

5) Woodrow Wilson Family Home

The Woodrow Wilson Family Home is a home that dates back to the Victorian era. It was the house of the 28th President of the United States. It was the house of his parents, Dr. Joseph Ruggles Wilson and his wife Jeannie Woodrow Wilson. It houses pieces of art, furniture, pictures and other elements that date from the 1850s and 1870s. The surrounding land around the house was divided into a back garden used for growing fruits and vegetables and a front yard for flowers. The design of the garden was established by Jeannie Woodrow Wilson.
6
Robert Mills House

6) Robert Mills House (must see)

The Robert Mills House, also known as Robert Mills Historic House and Park or the Ainsley Hall House, is a house in Columbia, that was designed by Robert Mills (architect). The Historic Columbia Foundation owns and operates the home as a historic house museum which has been furnished with decorative arts of the early 19th century, including American Federal, English Regency, and French Empire pieces. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973.



Operation Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 10 am - 4 pm; Sunday: 1 pm - 5 pm;
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens

7) Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens (must see)

Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens is another old house that was used by two important families in the town for 150 years. These two families Hampton-Preston were occupied with plantations. In the period of Wade Hampton I, the house style was changed from Federal to Greek Revival style. The Preston family moved in after the death of Hampton and his daughter married a Preston who enlarged the house. The house is surrounded by a beautiful 4-acre garden known and admired in the region. Now it is a museum that exhibits photos of how the house was over the years with all its changes, different objects, photos and pieces of furniture that belonged to the two families.

Operation Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 10 am - 4 pm; Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm;
8
Columbia Museum of Art

8) Columbia Museum of Art (must see)

The Columbia Museum of Art has a collection of European and American fine and decorative art that spans several centuries. The museum building was transformed from an urban department store into a light-filled space with 25 galleries. The museum has a Renaissance and Baroque collection – a gift from the Samuel Kress Foundation, which features Old Master paintings, many of which were commissioned by churches in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries. Nativity scenes, Madonna and Child paintings, and scenes from the Old and New Testaments are featured in the museum's upstairs galleries. The museum also has a large and rare Nativity fresco transferred to canvas by Sandro Botticelli, a pre-eminent Florentine Renaissance artist.

Also in the museum’s permanent collection are Claude Monet's The Seine at Giverny and art glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The decorative arts holdings at the museum number around 3,000 objects, ranging in date primarily between the 17th and 20th centuries. Some Asian objects in the Turner Collection date back to the T'ang Dynasty. Holdings include silver, Chinese export porcelain, contemporary art glass, American furniture, textiles and sculpture.

Opening hours: Monday-Closed; Tuesday- Sunday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Memorial Park

9) Memorial Park

Memorial Park is a 4-acre (16,000 m2) tract of land in the Congaree Vista between Main Street and the river. The park was dedicated in November 1986 along with the unveiling of the South Carolina Vietnam Monument. In June 2000, the Korean War Memorial was dedicated at Memorial Park. In November 2014, Columbia native and resident of Boston, Henry Crede, gave a bronze statue and plaza in the park dedicated to his WWII comrades who served in the Navy from South Carolina. Therewithal to the monument, this park has a water fountain, mature shade trees, grassy areas, walkways, stairs, even a creek with a small bridge. It sounds like a very peaceful place and you could definitely see why Veterans and others might be drawn to this beautiful space.
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
EdVenture

10) EdVenture (must see)

EdVenture is the largest children's museum in the Southeast, located in Columbia. It opened to the public in 2003 and has 8 galleries covering 67,000 square feet (6,200 m2), plus hands-on exhibits, 2 resource centers, and a 200-seat theater. 40,000 square feet (4,000 m2) of the total 67,000 square feet (6,200 m2) is devoted to exhibit galleries, laboratories and visitor amenities. An additional 7,000 square feet (700 m2) of outdoor gallery space is located just outside the museum's front door. Within the total 74,000 square feet (6,900 m2) there are approximately 350 individual hands-on exhibits. There is also a statue of 'Eddie' on the first floor of the museum which children can climb into and learn about the insides of people. It is located at 211 Gervais Street in midtown Columbia, next to the South Carolina State Museum.

Operation hours: Monday – Sunday: 9 a.m.– 5 p.m.
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
South Carolina State Museum

11) South Carolina State Museum (must see)

The South Carolina State Museum, located in Columbia is the largest museum in the Southeastern United States. Positioned on an old shipping canal on the Congaree River that dates back to pre-Civil War times, the museum is widely recognized as a resource for South Carolina history and lifestyle. The museum opened October 29, 1988 and is housed in what it calls its largest artifact, the former Columbia Mills Building. When the mill opened in 1894, manufacturing cotton duck cloth (a canvas-like material), it was the first totally-electric textile mill in the world. It was also the first major industrial installation for the General Electric corporation. On certain levels of the museum, the original flooring has been kept intact, distinguishable by hundreds of textile brads and rings that became embedded in the floor while it was still being used as a mill.

The museum represents four disciplines: art, cultural history, science and technology, and natural history. Exhibits include life-size replicas of the Best Friend of Charleston, the first American-built locomotive, and the H.L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink an enemy ship in combat. The second floor is notable for its recreation of a Megalodon suspended mid-air just around a corner, which has scared countless groups of young children. The museum has an "Official" Story Chair (named Sammy) designed and donated by Storyteller Mike Miller for the benefit of children and storytellers.

Operation hours: Mon., Wed.-Fri: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Tues: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Sat: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sun: 12 - 5 p.m.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Columbia, South Carolina

Create Your Own Walk in Columbia

Create Your Own Walk in Columbia

Creating your own self-guided walk in Columbia is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Top Religious Buildings

Top Religious Buildings

Columbia has a variety of religious buildings, new and old that have an important cultural, historical and religious value in the entire South Carolina district. Most of them were renovated due to wars and natural causes but almost all of them tried to preserve the initial style elements that make them unique and attractive to tourists. This tour will guide you to some of the most famous churches...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Columbia Museums and Galleries Tour

Columbia Museums and Galleries Tour

Columbia is a city that has a great number of tourist attractions. You can learn about the culture, history, and economy of this city through museums that convey information through their materials, collections and exhibitions. Take this tour and explore the best museums in Columbia, South Carolina.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.1 Km or 3.8 Miles