Lunch & Learn : Hampton-Preston Mansion

Saturday, March 5, 2016

On Wednesday, I attended the Lunch & Learn at Historic Columbia.  The topic of the Lunch & Learn was Hampton-Preston as a Tourist Home.  The speaker was John Sherrer, the Director of Cultural Resources with Historic Columbia.  I admit that I wasn't sure what the term 'tourist home' meant but this event had me at Hampton-Preston (one of my all time favorite historic houses).

The Hampton-Preston Mansion is packed full of history beginning 1818 through present day (yes you are able to tour this on the above Historic Columbia link to find out about tour days/times). 

During the hour long lunch & learn, information on Columbia during the 1900s was given along with photographs shown.  Columbia during the early 1900s was a place with beautiful buildings!  I mean, the Jefferson Hotel, the Colonia Hotel, and the Berkeley-Gresham Hotel....amazingly beautiful structures!  However, many of the buildings during this time period would not survive after WWII when the motto became newer is better.  However, during this time period Hampton-Preston Mansion did survive but saw many many changes.  Hampton-Preston, or HP if you will, had not been a family dwelling for many years but a women's college.  By the 1930s, Chicora College had left HP (they merged with Queens College in Charlotte, NC) and HP was now occupied by individuals, businesses, and different government groups.  In March of 1944, HP opens as a tourist home.  A tourist home seems to be a step (or 2) below a B&B.  Advertisements for HP as a tourist home states that they have 25 rooms in 'excellent condition'.  Having been in HP it was hard for me to wrap my mind around 25 rooms but have no fear we were shown a floor plan which helped me visualize the HP I know today to HP the tourist home.  By the 1950s, HP is considered a boarding house and a majority of Mary Canty Hampton's breathtaking gardens are destroyed to make way for buildings (businesses).  Also, it is interesting to note that during the time that HP was a boarding house (the 1950s), the neighborhood was considered the second worse in downtown Columbia.  Good News Good News!!!!  urban renewal makes its way in Columbia in the late 1950s!!!!!

The Lunch & Learn ended with exciting news that a room in HP will hopefully be interpreted as a post WWII to mid 20th century.  Guest of HP will be able to see and learn the history of HP as a tourist home and boarding house.  Exciting!!!

Upcoming events :

Wednesday, March 9th :  Lunch & Learn : Robert Mills House as a Seminary

Sunday, March 13th : Second Sunday Stroll : University Hill

Wednesday, March 16th : Lunch & Learn : Arthur & Moore's 1850 Map of Columbia

Friday, March 18th : Historic Happy Hour

Happy Travels,

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