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Hospitality and Tourism

New Columbia tourism experience highlights Reconstruction landmarks, figures

Hospitality and Tourism
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The S.C. Statehouse is one of eight pivotal locations from the Reconstruction era featured in a new history-centered tour launched by Experience Columbia SC and Historic Columbia. (Photo/Melinda Waldrop)

Experience Columbia SC and Historic Columbia have launched a history-centered tourism trail featuring eight pivotal locations and 10 trailblazers of the Reconstruction era.

Reconstructed: A Journey Through the Reconstruction Era in Columbia includes Historic Columbia’s Museum of the Reconstruction Era at the Woodrow Wilson Family Home as well as Reconstruction-era churches and Benedict College. The experience also highlights notable historical figures from the post-Civil War period such as Clarissa Minnie Thompson Allen, an educator and author, and Robert Brown Elliott, a newspaperman, lawyer and state congressman.

“The period of Reconstruction was pivotal in our city and the nation’s history, yet myths surrounding this time remain prevalent today,” Robin Waites, Historic Columbia executive director, said in a news release. “We found it critical in this moment to partner with Experience Columbia SC on Reconstructed to showcase Columbia’s historic sites essential to the Reconstruction Era. Through this tour, visitors will explore the history of the places and people significant to Reconstruction, while also becoming familiar with the advancements made by Black citizens prior to their rights being revoked under Jim Crow.

“It’s our hope that everyone who takes the tour comes away with an appreciation for the Black men and women who were trailblazers for freedom and equality. Their stories deserve to be heard.”

A copy of the trail guide is available at the Columbia SC Visitors Center on Lincoln Street in the Vista or Historic Columbia’s gift shop at The Robert Mills House and Gardens. A new website, reconstructedcolumbiasc.com, has been created to accompany the experience, and the trail can be accessed digitally by scanning the QR code found on Reconstruction Trail booklets.

“Many people don’t know how important the Reconstruction Era was to our nation, let alone that many of the most iconic buildings are still standing today in South Carolina’s capital,” Charlene Slaughter, Experience Columbia SC director of communications, said. “We’re proud to partner with Historic Columbia to bring this time period to life in an authentic and meaningful way to residents and visitors.”

The tour also includes the Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens, the S.C. State House, the University of South Carolina and Randolph Cemetery.

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