Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis




College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Lydia Brandt


This thesis analyzes the research from a project on the builders who helped build Columbia, South Carolina from 1890 to 1940, a dynamic time of growth as the city moved from post-Civil War recovery through industrialization and into modernization.1 Previous research of Columbia’s architectural history often focuses on the few architects with national recognition, like Robert Mills, the architect of the Washington Monument. Frequently omitted from the city’s architectural story are the lesser-known developers, builders, contractors, brick masons, and other tradesmen from inside and outside of Columbia who contributed to the shaping of the city by helping build vernacular architecture in response to the city’s needs. From the well-known architect to the unnamed brick mason, this thesis argues all of these builders contributed significantly to the shaping of Columbia while adding to a greater narrative of American architecture. The project resulted in new Columbia-specific architectural resources including a searchable database of builders and their works; a collection of short biographies on select builders; and a list of milestones contrasting architectural developments in Columbia to national trends. As updatable resources, the project can continue to improve with more information collected through further research. Researchers of other cities may also use this project’s research method to create similar resources that reveal their city’s unique story of architectural development.