PRESERVING THE PALMETTO STATE: Governor awards efforts giving new life to South Carolina’s historic buildings

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Traveling across the Palmetto State, you will find remnants of South Carolina’s history even before it became a state.

Wednesday afternoon at the statehouse, the South Carolina Department of Archives and History along with Preservation South Carolina and the Office of the Governor presented awards for efforts preserving historic buildings in the state.

“We are one state that is loaded with history, including written history. I think it is important that we take the time to understand what a great place this is,” said Gov. Henry McMaster.

The 27th annual South Carolina Historic Preservation Awards recognized those keeping the state’s history alive. This included several in the Midlands.

“Those looking for an example of how to convert an old downtown structure into more contemporary uses should check out the 1639 to 1645 block on Columbia’s Main Street. It preserves three of Columbia’s oldest buildings and creates an energetic new destination in the middle of downtown Columbia,” said Bill Fitzgerald, Preservation South Carolina chariman.

The block now features the restaurant Smoked, a microbrewery and apartments.

Another preservation honor award was presented to a new business in West Columbia.

“What happens when you combine an old fire station and an abandoned jail? Let’s toss an old city hall into the mix if that helps,” Fitzgerald asked the crowd. “Still lost? You get a craft brewery. Everyone knows that.”

Those behind Savage Craft Ale Works have turned the old structures into a taproom, kitchen, beer garden and rooftop bar. 

The repurposing of old buildings is not just in Columbia. Over in Camden, a downtown building that had fallen into disrepair was given new life.

“This $2.2 million dollar project is an outstanding example of commitment not only to historic preservation but to community and economic revitalization in one of South Carolina’s most historic and beautiful downtowns,” Fitzgerald said.

The old Monarch Building in downtown Camden is now the Broad and Vine Wine Bar.

Even the governor’s mansion has undergone preservation work, as well as many other historic buildings in the state.

“I am confident that we will keep doing it,” McMaster said. “As we do and as we grow, we will be a better and better place.”

The Governor’s Award was presented to Dr. Wenonah Haire for her work on the Catawba Cultural Preservation Project. It keeps alive the history of some of the state’s first inhabitants.