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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Columbia in Richland County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Arsenal Hill

 
 
Arsenal Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 2011
1. Arsenal Hill Marker
Inscription. Occupying the highest point in downtown Columbia, Arsenal Hill is named for the military academy established here in 1842 as a companion to The Citadel in Charleston. Since the late 1700s, this 30 block neighborhood has been home to black and white, elite and laborer, old and young. Within this once largely residential district stand enduring landmarks of the past and new additions to the capital city's skyline that are prized for thier proximity to downtown businesses and services.

Arsenal Hill is recognized by many Columbians as the home of the South Carolina Governor's Mansion and as the former location of the Palmetto Armory, which produced weaponry before and during the Civil War. Some identify the neighborhood as home for generations of their family, living and departed. Others know the district for the changes it has experienced over time. Diverse in its past and present, Arsenal Hill today is an historic neighborhood featuring an eclectic mix of residential, commercial, religious, industrial, educational, and governmental buildings.


 
Erected by Historic Columbia Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, City of Columbia.
 
Location. 34° 0.479′ N, 81° 2.477′ 
Arsenal Hill Marker, reverse side image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, April 3, 2011
2. Arsenal Hill Marker, reverse side
4 Photos featured on the front side of marker
W. Marker is in Columbia, South Carolina, in Richland County. Marker is on Laurel Street near Lincoln Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Columbia SC 29201, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Palmetto Arsenal / Iron Works (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of Palmetto Iron Works (about 500 feet away); Philip Simmons (about 600 feet away); The Gonzales Fountain (about 700 feet away); Lord John Berkeley (about 700 feet away); Lord Ashley (about 700 feet away); Sir John Colleton (about 700 feet away); Boylston House & Boxwood Gardens (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbia.
 
Categories. Notable Places
 
Upper left picture image. Click for full size.
By Arsenal Hill Marker
3. Upper left picture
Finley Park is one of Arsenal Hills most recognized features. Inspired by a park established by publisher/councilman Algernon Sidney Johnston in the 1840s, this contemporary green space adds vitality to Columbia's downtown. This 1859 panoramic drawing captured the earlier park's pastoral setting in vivid detail as well as a number of city landmarks still present. Construction in 1899 of an industrial/commercial district by Seaboard Airline Railroad demolished the decades old attraction. However, 90 years later this area became a park again under the guidence of Mayor Kirkman Finley for whom the park was renamed. Panaramic View of Columbia South Carolina, 1859, by Augustus Grinevald. Image courtesy South Caroliniana Library,University of South Carolina.
Middle left picture image. Click for full size.
By Arsenal Hill Marker
4. Middle left picture
For almost 25 years the United Services Organization (USO) [Picture included] ran a club overlooking what is today Finlay Park. Established in 1942 at the intersection of Laurel and Assembly streets, the modern facility offered impressive views of the city for thousands of guests who visited it during World War II and thereafter. Construction of the city's main U.S. Post Office in 1966 resulted in the demolition of this popular attraction. John Heusel Photograph Collection Historic Columbia Foundation.
Lower left picture image. Click for full size.
By Arsenal Hill Marker
5. Lower left picture
Today a City of Columbia recreation facility, this neighborhood landmark originally was part of the Palmetto Armory and Ironworks, which produced cannons, shells, solid shot, and Minnie balls during the Civil War. Though opened in 1852 as the largest armament foundry south of Harpers Ferry, Virginia, the factory produced castings, railings, steam boilers, and engines from 1854 until war broke out in 1861. During the Union occupation of the city in February 1865 the structure lost its third story in an explosion. After the war, the factory was rebuilt And continued producing non-military items until it closed in 1927. Image courtesy South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina.
** See nearby markers
Lower picture image. Click for full size.
By Arsenal Hill Marker
6. Lower picture
With its storied past, the South Carolina Governor's Mansion has long been a popular subject for postcards, including this example from 1915. Constructed in 1855 as an officers "tenement" for Arsenal Academy, the building miraculously survived the burning of Columbia unlike the rest of the institution's campus. Following the war, in 1869, the State rehabilitated the former quarters for the use as the Governor's Mansion. Today's Governor's Mansion complex includes two additional antebellum structures, the circa- 1855 Lace House and the circa- 1825 Caldwell-Bolyston House. Historic Columbia Foundation collection
** See nearby markers
Upper right picture image. Click for full size.
By Arsenal Hill Marker
7. Upper right picture
From 1920 through 1936, self-taught photographer Richard Samuel Roberts recorded an important chapter in Columbia history - African-American life during the era of Jim Crow. Through his masterful cameraskills this Florida native documented the lives of both ordinary and influential black Columbians with an eye for detail and humanity. Roberts worked out of a shed behind his family's Wayne Street home before opening a studio on Washington Street. in the heart of the capital city's African-American commercial district. Image courtasy South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina. From A True Likeness, The Black South of Richard Samuel Roberts: 1920-1936. The Estate of Richard Samuel Roberts, by permission of Bruccali Clark Layman, Inc.

Lower right picture image. Click for full size.
By Arsenal Hill Marker
8. Lower right picture
The Tomlinson Engineering Company's Map of 1928 illustrates the impact decisions made by city leaders had on Arsenal Hill. For some the introduction of railways in 1899 that transformed Sidney Park into Seaboard Park meant progress. Other Columbians viewed the light industrial/commercial district as an eyesore. Detail from map of Columbia, SC and Vicinity, 1928 by Tomlinson Engineering Company; Image courtasy South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina.
Arsenal Hill Marker (r) seen along Laurel Street image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, April 3, 2011
9. Arsenal Hill Marker (r) seen along Laurel Street
Arsenal Hill Marker, Finley Park below and Post Office mentioned, at left background image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, April 3, 2011
10. Arsenal Hill Marker, Finley Park below and Post Office mentioned, at left background
Arsenal Hill "Columbia's Oldest Neighborhood" image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, February 21, 2010
11. Arsenal Hill "Columbia's Oldest Neighborhood"
Arsenal Hill - a Palmetto Armory / Palmetto Ironworks building image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, April 3, 2011
12. Arsenal Hill - a Palmetto Armory / Palmetto Ironworks building
** See nearby markers
Arsenal Hill , Palmetto Armory / Palmetto Ironworks , as mentioned image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, April 3, 2011
13. Arsenal Hill , Palmetto Armory / Palmetto Ironworks , as mentioned
National Register of Historic Place Medallion
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 12, 2011, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 591 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. submitted on April 12, 2011, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.
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