South Carolina State House

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South Carolina State House
SC State House at evening.jpg
The South Carolina State House
Location Columbia, South Carolina
Coordinates 34°0′1.56″N 81°1′59.33″W / 34.0004333°N 81.0331472°W / 34.0004333; -81.0331472Coordinates: 34°0′1.56″N 81°1′59.33″W / 34.0004333°N 81.0331472°W / 34.0004333; -81.0331472
Built 1855
Architect John R. Niernsee; Et al.
Architectural style Greek Revival
Governing body State of South Carolina
NRHP Reference # 70000598
Significant dates
Added to NRHP June 5, 1970[1]
Designated NHL May 11, 1976[2]

The South Carolina State House is the building housing the government of the U.S. state of South Carolina. The building houses the South Carolina General Assembly and the offices of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina. Until 1971, it also housed the Supreme Court.[3] It is located in the capital city of Columbia near the corner of Gervais and Assembly Streets.

The State House is in the Greek Revival style; it is approximately 180 feet (55 m) tall, 300 feet (91 m) long, 100 feet (30 m) wide. It weighs more than 70,000 short tons (64,000 t) and has 130,673 square feet (12,140 m2) of space.


The South Carolina State House was designed first by architect P. H. Hammarskold.[4] Construction began in 1851, but the original architect was dismissed for fraud and dereliction of duty.[5] Soon thereafter, the structure was largely dismantled because of defective materials and workmanship.[6] John Niernsee redesigned the structure and work began on it in 1855, slowed during the Civil War, and was suspended in 1865 as General Sherman's Union Army entered Columbia on February 17. Several public buildings were "put to the torch" when United States troops entered the city.

Example of one of the six bronze stars, marking the spots hit by Sherman's cannons

The capitol building was damaged by artillery shells and set afire by Sherman's troops.[7]

South Carolina State House from the 15th floor of the Main and Gervais Tower.

Building work was finally completed in 1907. The reconstruction era poverty slowed progress. The building's main structure was finally completed in 1875. From 1888 to 1891, Niernsee’s son, Frank McHenry Niernsee, served as architect and much of the interior work was completed. In 1900 Frank Pierce Milburn began as architect,[8] but was replaced in 1905 by Charles Coker Wilson who finally finished the exterior in 1907.[9] Additional renovations were made in 1959 and 1998.

The State House in 1969

The State House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.[2][10]


The building's grounds are home to several monuments. On the north side is a monument to South Carolina's Confederate dead, a monument that includes a flagpole flying a traditional version of the Confederate battle flag. The monument was established after a controversy during the U.S. presidential campaign of 2000 about the Confederate flag flying over the dome of the State House.[11] The flag, originally placed over the dome in 1962,[12] was moved to its present location on July 1, 2000.

The grounds are also home to a monument dedicated to the contributions and history of African-Americans, as well as one on the southwest of the South Portico that is dedicated to South Carolina law enforcement officers killed while on duty. The grounds also feature statues of Senators Strom Thurmond and Benjamin Tillman.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b "South Carolina State House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  3. ^ "Supreme Court History". South Carolina Judicial Department. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  4. ^ Lynn Sims Salsi (2003). Columbia -- History of a Southern Capital. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing. p. 50. ISBN 0-7385-2411-5. 
  5. ^ "SC Statehouse". South Carolina State Parks. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  6. ^ "The State House History". South Carolina State House Student Connection. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  7. ^ "The State House History". South Carolina State House Student Connection. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  8. ^ Bryan, John Morrill: Creating the South Carolina State House, page 116. University of South Carolina Press, 1999 ISBN 1-57003-291-2.
  9. ^ "South Carolina Statehouse, Richland County (Main & Gervais Sts., Columbia)". National Register Properties in South Carolina listing. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  10. ^ Mary Jane Gregory, Ralph Christian, and George R. Adams (December 1975). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: South Carolina Statehouse" (PDF). National Park Service.  and Accompanying six photos, exterior and interior, from 1970 and 1975 PDF (32 KB)
  11. ^ Jake Tapper (18 April 2000). "John McCain to condemn Confederate flag". Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  12. ^ Brunner, Borgna (30 June 2000). "South Carolina's Confederate Flag Comes Down". Retrieved 2007-04-19. 

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