Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis




Public History

First Advisor

Robert R. Weyeneth


In 1965 the built environment of the city of Columbia, South Carolina, was in a state of flux. An active urban renewal campaign existed in the city for nearly a decade prompting a reactionary historic preservation movement. Upon a collaborative recommendation from the Historic and Cultural Buildings Commission and the Historic Columbia Foundation, City Council hired architectural historian Dr. Harold N. Cooledge to conduct an architectural and feasibility survey. In his report, Cooledge identified the Columbia Cottage, a vernacular form widespread throughout the historic neighborhoods of South Carolina’s capital city. His use of the term “Columbia Cottage” to label the many iterations of the form was an expression of what Cooledge understood as Columbia’s architectural character. Cooledge’s detailed description of the “Columbia Cottage Family” contributed to the popularity of the term, the preservation of the form, and the formation of an architectural identity for Columbia. In defining this local vernacular form, Cooledge gave Columbia preservationists a platform for conserving the city’s architectural heritage. Ultimately, however, decisions about preservation were influenced by location, adaptability, designation, historical association, and aesthetic appeal. This thesis will discuss how these motivations were instrumental in the adaptive use, relocation, or preservation of the Columbia Cottage. It will also argue that preservation through documentation and new construction have contributed to the preservation and legacy of Columbia’s architectural identity.


© 2015, Kayla Boyer Halberg