South Carolina State Capitol

Completed: 1907
Architect: Various

Stock Photo

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.  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.  Howeer, the structure was damaged by artillery and smoke from the burning of adjacent structures.

The reconstruction era poverty slowed progress  and the building's main structure was not completed until 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, but was replaced in 1905 by Charles Coker Wilson who finally finished the exterior in 1907.  Renovations were completed in 1959 and 1998.


ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Taken from "Carolus," the Latin word for Charles and named after England's King Charles I


STATE MOTTO:  Dum spiro spero  (While I breathe, I hope) and Animis opibusque parati (Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places)

1778 PREAMBLE: We, the people of he State of South Carolina grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

ADDRESS: 1100 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201

Cheryl & Robert Deering
Checking Out a Historical Sign

Photo: Ferdie Deering 1953