South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

South Carolina Statehouse, Richland County (Main & Gervais Sts., Columbia)
S1081774000601 S1081774000602 S1081774000603 S1081774000604 S1081774000605
Facade Main Entrance Portico
Right Oblique Right Elevation
S1081774000606 S1081774000607 S1081774000608 S1081774000609 S1081774000610
Right Rear
Rear Elevation Portico
Rear Elevation
Left Rear
Left Elevation
S1081774000611 S1081774000612 S1081774000613 S1081774000614 S1081774000615
Dome Detail Window Detail
Right Elevation
Wade Hampton
History Monument

An example of Neo-Classical architecture, the South Carolina Statehouse is a three-story, domed edifice of granite, marble, brick and iron. Vienna-born architect John Niernsee began the structure in 1851, but the Civil War and post-war poverty slowed progress on the building. For unknown reasons, the building was spared in General W. T. Sherman’s 1865 burning of Columbia, though the structure did suffer damage from shelling and burning of the nearby old statehouse. Following the Civil War, between 1869 and 1874, the only state legislature in American history with an African American majority sat here. In 1876, the Democrats, lead by Wade Hampton conducted the “Red Shirt” campaign against Daniel H. Chamberlain and the Republicans. Both sides claimed victory and two speakers and two Houses began conducting deliberations in the same hall. On April 10, 1877, fulfilling part of the compromise that had allowed his inauguration, President Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew Federal troops. The following day Hampton and his supporters assumed full control of state government. From 1888 to 1891, Niernsee’s son, Frank McHenry Niernsee, served as architect and much of the interior work was completed. In 1900 Frank Milburn served briefly as architect, but was replaced in 1905 by Charles Coker Wilson who finally finished the exterior in 1907. Listed in the National Register June 5, 1970; Designated a National Historic Landmark May 11, 1976.

View the complete text of the nomination form for this National Register property.

Most National Register properties are privately owned and are not open to the public. The privacy of owners should be respected. Not all properties retain the same integrity as when originally documented and listed in the National Register due to changes and modifications over time.

Images and texts on these pages are intended for research or educational use. Please read our statement on use and reproduction for further information on how to obtain a photocopy or how to cite an item.

Images provided by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.