2018-10-12 / On Second Thought

Get to know Historic Cottontown

Contributed by Historic Columbia


2830 North Main 2830 North Main Explore the many sites and stories of Cottontown with Historic Columbia Sunday, October 14 during their Weekend Strolls and Rolls program presented by Seed Architecture.

Established in the late 1890s, Cottontown is listed as part of the “Bellevue Historic District” in the National Register of Historic Places and is protected as an architectural conservation district by the City of Columbia.

Bounded by Grace Avenue, Bull Street, Elmwood Avenue, and Main Street, the neighborhood is remarkable as an intact example of one of Columbia’s earliest planned suburbs. On this walking tour, you will visit and learn the story of many familiar sites, such as the former home of Mayor Lester Bates and North Columbia Fire Station No. 7.

Another one of these iconic landmarks is Elmwood Avenue Church of God, Columbia’s only downtown Pentecostal church. Arriving in Cottontown in 1951, its membership met in a tent during construction of the current sanctuary built from plans drawn by its pastor, Reverend O. B. Graham, who also served as architect, contractor, and superintendent of the building program.

On the opposite end of Cottontown is the former Coca-Cola Bottling Company. Forty years worth of the world’s most popular beverage was processed and delivered to stores and restaurants from one of Cottontown’s more conspicuous structures (that bright red and white building on North Main Street). For plant assistant manager Patrick Henry Corley Jr., whose relatives lived just blocks away, the trademarked “Delicious and Refreshing” beverage was said to have offered vitality to his 102-year life.

This tour also takes a glimpse into the ethnic and spiritual diversity of the neighborhood, which offered new housing opportunities to both established Columbians and newcomers to the capital city.


1427 Elmwood 1427 Elmwood Among those who came to call the neighborhood home were citizens of Greek, Lebanese, Italian, Sicilian, and Russian descent. Residents would often connect through places of worship—some of which are still standing today—such as St. Peter’s, Trinity Episcopal, and Tree of Life synagogue.

October’s 2nd Sunday Stroll will meet and begin at the North Columbia Fire Station No. 7 located at 2622 North Main Street. Space is limited.

To purchase tickets, visit HistoricColumbia.org, call (803) 252-1770 ext. 23, or email reservations@historiccolumbia.org.

Historic Columbia’s monthly Weekend Strolls & Rolls explore Columbia’s historic districts and neighborhoods by foot (strolls) or by bus (rolls). Historic Columbia also offers thematic tours, including African American Historic Sites and Civil War Sites tours.

Visit HistoricColumbia.org/Events for a full list of upcoming Stroll and Rolls. Learn more about Cottontown and other historic neighborhoods by exploring HC’s online tours.

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