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

Harriet M. Cornwell Tourist Home, Richland County (1713 Wayne St., Columbia)
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Facade Left Oblique Left Elevation
Two Story Bay
Right Oblique Front Porch
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Front Porch
Granite Pier
with Half
Column Detail
Main Entrance Main Entrance
Stained Glass
Window Detail
Window Detail Right Elevation
Polygonal Bay
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Eave Detail Right Oblique

The Harriet M. Cornwell Tourist Home’s significance is based upon its role in the practice of segregation in Columbia from ca. 1940 to ca. 1960. During the era of segregation, blacks carefully planned their travel to coordinate overnight accommodations, or they arranged their travel so that they reached their destination during the daytime. While most large cities were known to have at least one hotel opened to blacks, other accommodations were frequently used. Travelers could find alternative accommodations with extended family members or friends who lived in the city. They could also find accommodations with local families who operated their homes as a “tourist home.” Such places, termed alternative spaces, offered multiple options for African Americans looking to minimize the indignities of racism; alternative spaces are considered "the most elaborate architectural response" to segregation. The Harriet M. Cornwell Tourist Home served as an alternative space where African Americans could find a room to sleep in and one meal a day. The home has remained in the family over the years. Mrs. Cornwell began operating her house as a tourist home during the 1940s. Her motivation for opening her home to guests stemmed from her active involvement within the community. Each month several guests arrived at the house, and they were only required to pay what they were able. During segregation the Cornwell home looked like every other house on the block. No sign hung out front advertising the house as a tourist home for blacks. The house and its address were advertised nationally in publications from New York titled, The Negro Travelers' Green Book and the International Travelers' Green Book. However, many of the guests who stayed in the home heard about it through word of mouth. Listed in the National Register October 5, 2007.

View the complete text of the nomination form for this National Register property. In addition, the Historic Resources of Segregation in Columbia, South Carolina, 1880-1960 includes historical background information for this and other related National Register properties.

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.

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