Nov 27 - South Carolina State House

A few years ago, during one of our prior visits, Cousin Deb gave us a driving tour of Columbia South Carolina. One of the spots we stopped was the Capitol Building, here referred to as the State House. Unfortunately, it was a Saturday and the building wasn't open. Left to walk the grounds and view the exterior... both of which are impressive, we knew we'd have to return another time to do the interior. So today we took care of that unfinished business.

Most of this building, the exterior walls anyway, pre-date the Civil War. Construction was started in 1855, slowed considerably during the war, and stopped altogether when Sherman marched through Columbia, burning some government buildings and shelling the walls of the unfinished State House. (There are six remaining scars from that action, marked by six bronze stars.) After the war, it took until 1907 to finish the building, although parts of it were put into use during the process.

We found it to be a typical capitol building in the traditional style... central rotunda, dome, legislative branches on either end, etc. Design features make it appear larger on the outside than it is inside. For the most part, it's a two story building -- with the Governor and Lt. Governor's offices in the lowest level and the legislative chambers on the main level. There is a third level that is mostly for the public galleries in the senate and house chambers.

Between 1995 and 1998 the building was renovated and returned to it's original grandeur.

While not the most impressive State Capitol we've visited, it is respectable and holds its own among the 25 others we've visited over the years.

Main rotunda and statue of John C. Calhoun

interior shot

During Civil War, General Sherman's gunners hit the unfinished building a few times.
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