Downtown Columbia Historic Resources Survey

The City of Columbia Planning Division is excited to announce the start of the Downtown Columbia Historic Resources Survey conducted by Access Preservation. This architectural survey will focus on Columbia’s historic downtown area and will document the buildings not previously recorded in past architectural surveys. This survey is part of the City of Columbia’s ongoing effort to keep an up to date city-wide survey. Survey work will be ongoing starting in April and will conclude in September 2020. More information related to the survey will be included here soon.

           map of survey area, which is the historic core of downtown, bounded by the river, elmwood, harden, and blossom.Map of the Survey Area      

The area to be surveyed represents a large portion of the 1787 original planned city when the state capitol was relocated from Charleston. While the current City limits have extended far beyond the original plan of the City, the original City grid is still in place today. As part of the original planned city, the city center/downtown area represents the oldest portion of the City with tangible connections to Columbia’s history and development, including an incredibly diverse collection of building types and uses that demonstrate the amount of change Columbia has experienced over the last 230 years.

The “Bryan Survey” in 1993 documented buildings in downtown Columbia considered to be historically significant at the time. Since this survey is over 25 years old, many resources have since gained historic significance (reached their 50-year mark) while other resources may have been altered or demolished if local protections were never adopted. While this survey provides the opportunity to fully document and potentially protect older intact historic resources that have survived a century of development pressures, this survey also provides a great opportunity for an in depth understanding of the largely undocumented mid-century resources that Columbia has to offer.

We need your input!

If you would like to contribute to this project with any information or historic photographs, please connect with the survey team at [email protected]. For general questions and concerns please contact Rachel Walling, City Preservation Planner, at [email protected] or by phone at (803) 545-3151.

Learn More

View an informational video about the project (below) and review Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Columbia Compass: Envision 2036

Columbia Compass is the comprehensive plan – or “blueprint” – for how Columbia, South Carolina will grow and develop over the next ten years.  

The City of Columbia has conducted research on the community's population, natural resources, land use, transportation, housing, community facilities, cultural resources and economy.  This planning process, and the plan itself, is being referred to as Columbia Compass: Envision 2036.  The plan, adopted August 4, 2020 by City Council, is now a guiding policy document for the City.  

 You can also learn more, and sign up for email updates, at

  • Stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter @ColaCompass
  • Visit our website and sign up for our email list
  • Join us for events  and share your thoughts!
  • Tell your family, friends, & neighbors!

The Amplify planning process is a partnership between One Columbia and the City, and helped provide content for the Columbia Compass Cultural Resources Element.

    Image is the text and logomark for Columbia Compass.  The logomark consists of a blue circle and triangular marks which represent a compass, with an inset blue C.  A red compass dial is at an angle, and the dial and the C are overlaid on top of an illustrative street grid with a blue river and green squares representative of city blocks.  The text reads “Columbia Compass: Envision 2036.”Text reads Amplify Columbia with a multicolored frequency wave to the lower right of the text

Celebrate in May!

Each May the City celebrates National Bike Month & National Preservation Month.

While May is still Bike Month & Preservation Month in the City of Columbia, we have postponed all in-person events this year for public safety. Instead, we will be celebrating through social media and online. Please check back on the website and follow @ColaCompass on Facebook or Twitter so that you can join us as we celebrate Preservation Month and Bike Month virtually.  

A two-toned red graphic in the shape of an upside-down teardrop which reads, in white, "THIS PLACE MATTERS" - the logo belonging to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.#thisplacemattersIllustration which reads “May is Still Bike Month: With so many reasons to ride, what’s yours?”  Cyclists are shown in a variety of situations with thought bubbles, which read: “I ride for cleaner air.  I ride to save money on gas.  I ride to enjoy a lifelong sport.  I bike to the bus to get places faster.  I ride for less traffic.  I ride to feel the wind on my face.”  A footer reads: “#BIKEMONTH BIKELEAGUE.ORG/BIKEMONTH”

If you have further questions, or would like to more information about the above, please contact us.