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South Carolina State House
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Historic Landmark
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/Founded: 1855
Architect: John R. Niernsee; Et al.
Architectural style(s): Greek Revival
Governing body: State (South Carolina General Assembly)
Added to NRHP: June 5, 1970[1]
Designated NHL: May 11, 1976[2]
NRHP Reference#: 70000598

The South Carolina State House is the state capitol building 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. 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 first designed by Vienna-born architect John Niernsee. Construction began in 1851, but the original architect was dismissed for fraud and dereliction of duty.[3] Soon thereafter, the structure was largely dismantled because of defective materials and workmanship. Work on the Niernsee redesigned structure began in 1855, slowed during the Civil War, and was suspended in 1865 as Sherman's Union Army entered Columbia on February 17. Although several public buildings were "put to the torch" when United States troops entered the city, the capitol building was not.

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

The structure was damaged by artillery and smoke from the burning of adjacent structures. Building work was finally completed in 1907. 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 took over as architect,[4] but was replaced in 1905 by Charles Coker Wilson who finally finished the exterior in 1907."[5] Additional renovations were made in 1959 and 1998.

The State House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.[2][6]


Monument to African-Americans.

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 following a controversy which arose during the 2000 U.S. presidential campaign about the Confederate flag flying over the dome of the State House.[7] The flag, originally placed over the dome in 1962,[8], 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 fallen South Carolina law enforcement officers. 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. ^ "State House History". Retrieved 2008-03-28.  
  4. ^ Bryan, John Morrill: Creating the South Carolina State House, page 116. University of South Carolina Press, 1999 ISBN 1570032912.
  5. ^ "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.  
  6. ^ Mary Jane Gregory, Ralph Christian, and George R. Adams (December, 1975). National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: South Carolina StatehousePDF (32 KB). National Park Service.   also available herePDF (32 KB) and Accompanying six photos, exterior and interior, from 1970 and 1975 (and one photo of a different building)PDF (32 KB)
  7. ^ Politics 2000 article for one preliminary reference on this topic
  8. ^ Brunner, Borgna (2000-06-30). "South Carolina's Confederate Flag Comes Down". Retrieved 2007-04-19.  

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