A new historic Columbia project has taken root

One of Colombia’s historic missions is to interpret the local history, and the latest project is to get things started.

The Boyd Foundation Horticulture Center is in the northwest of Hampton Preston Mency and on the streets of Peking and Laurel. The Lambert Architecture + Construction Service is a general contractor with Con Construction Services, and the project provides a modern greenhouse with 1818 replicas of the house. The center offers translation programs and serves as a basis for horticultural research.

Keith Mernes, director of the historic Columbia Campus, said: “Before this project, the back of Hampton-Preston property was really empty. There was nothing there and it was really like a wasteland. And in addition to the building, the project is actually about to complete the site.

The Horticulture Center also tells visitors its story of its inhabitants, who grew up to be Colombia’s largest mansion under the wealthy Hampton and Preston families, and for their time in the home and on the grounds. Hampton Preston’s home was the home of several different owners following the civil war before it was renovated in 1970 as a historic site.

“At the Hampton-Preston site, although they covered a lot of time inside, most of the discussion focused on Hampton and Preston themselves, who lived in the house until the Civil War,” Myers said. “The gardens of the site reflect what we believe to be the height of the garden under their control. That represents the period between 1840 and 1860.

“Hampsens and Preston were among the richest families in the country. They had many farms, all of them slaves. This special property, which was owned by slaves, had nothing to do with production. We understand very well that there may not be a garden or anything else. This unique property was completely visible. So the gardens and plants reflect the great wealth and influence of the family.

Inspired by family travel in European design and featuring stunning plants such as the fragrant geranium, the ancestor of bananas, plantains, peas, and citronella, Hampton-Preston gardens provide exterior glimpses behind the dormitory columns behind the porch. .

“We know that (the gardens) are full of specimens, both of which are rare and perhaps the most difficult to survive on the site,” Mernes said. “So when people can come in and see that, before they go into that house and see all the beautiful things in there, it immediately becomes clear what these people are about.”

John Sherrer, director of cultural Columbia’s cultural resources, added: “From 1850 to the 1860s and early 1870s, they were looking at a site that wrote travel notes about people coming to Colombia and various visitors. Sites. They often comment on the beauty of horticulture here at the Hampton-Preston site.

“One aspect of the property that you often comment on is the family’s greenhouse.”

The Greenhouse and Auxiliary Project, a gateway to rebuilding the property’s first summer home, was made possible by Darn WW and Susan F. The Boyd Foundation is a $ 2.5 million grant from the Midlands Charity and a long-time partner of Columbia.

“The Boyd Horticulture Center is a huge success for the Robert Mills Historical Garden District. It is part of the master plan for the cultural landscape of historic Columbia, which was well established 15 years ago, ”Sherrer said. “The idea behind it was to use every property in historic Columbia care – the Robert Mills House, the Hampton-Preston site, the Sibles House, the Woodrow Wilson Family Rebuilding Museum, the Modjesca Simkins station and the Man-Simon station – all reflect some of our heritage. And if you walk through the district to establish a pedestrian crossing system that connects all assets in the process, an integrated experience.

“Susan Boyd was a member of the Gardening Steering Committee and the Garden Rehabilitation Committee and was responsible for anticipating what the traditional landscape master plan could do for the city of Columbia.”

To complement the greenhouse, historic Columbia produced historical records, including inscriptions of plants that adorned the courtyard in the 1800s. The greenhouse is home to some of the most endangered species, including the influential Antebel Pomaria kindergarten in Newbury County.

We do not always limit ourselves to the historical record, but we do start there and try to find the right species, collect the right species, or, in some cases, the living plants of the period from the state. Said Mernes. “Some of those plants are still alive. For those wealthy families, they are at least a direct descendant.

“We have very limited personal information about the courtyard and garden at Hampton Preston. We brought a lot of those to the campus, and we expanded it using other people’s personal accounts that may not be very scientific. They may not know much about plants but they do give you a good idea of ​​what it looks like and how it feels here.

As long as the greenhouse is the right design, there is even less material to keep going.

“We know from a historical photograph that there is still a greenhouse still standing around 1890,” Sherrer said. “The structure we have now is, as you can imagine, much larger and more modern than it once was here, but this place holds one or two family greenhouses. In 1942 we had a sketch of a soldier stationed at Fort Jackson. He visited the Hampton-Preston site and made extensive drawings to map the property.

Unsurprisingly, historic Columbia has worked with the Colombian-based Lambert Architects, which is both practical and eye-catching.

“Working with their team, we have a plan for Historic Columbia to have more under one roof,” Sherrer said. “When you come to this greenhouse, you see plants growing. You see the definition and storage of plants, but you see other activities. There will be programs here. We have our cultural or campus offices here, and we have storage. This is the center of our fruit and vegetable efforts.

The 4,000-square-foot north-facing support structure includes details such as glass-block windows, which include Wilson Motors, a modern automotive distributor who owned the property from 1949 until the 1960s. That building collapsed in 1969, Sherrer said.

The 3,000-square-foot greenhouse, with clear glass and aluminum frames, is being assembled by a Wisconsin greenhouse company. By the end of November, construction workers had closed the air vents to control the weather and humidity and were working to complete the difficult outdoor conditions.

The Horticulture Center is expected to open next spring.

“With each passing season, the yard grows more mature,” Sherrer said. “I hope they grow in balance, and the number of people we see going around and visiting the site, visiting, is increasing and I look forward to it. This was just an amazing curiosity for a lot of people coming to the area, and historically you can have it here, a place where beautiful and interesting plants are seen.

Contact Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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