Preservation Districts

Information regarding each of the City's Preservation Districts is provided below in alphabetical order by district.  This listing includes the 15 Historic Districts and the five Community Character Districts.  

A map of the Urban Design and Historic Preservation districts is available here. In addition to those districts listed below, there are individual buildings and sites which have been locally-designated as landmarks, and these individual landmarks are reviewed here



Cottontown/Bellevue Architectural Conservation District

Map of the Cottontown/Bellevue Architectural Conservation DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Image of house in Cottontown/BellevueNamed for the many cotton warehouses that once stood here, Cottontown/Bellevue is an early twentieth-century downtown suburb developed just north of the original city boundaries. Today, it remains as a relatively intact example of one of Columbia's earliest planned, suburban residential neighborhoods. The neighborhood was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, and it was designated a local Architectural Conservation District in 2009. The bulk of its historic structures were built between the early 1900s and 1945.  For a brief history of the area, check out this video.



Earlewood Protection Area A & B 

Map of Earlewood Protection Area Districts A&BMap of Districts (click to enlarge)Photo of homes in EarlewoodThe Earlewood Neighborhood is the sum of several subdivisions that developed after 1900, and over time, grew together to achieve one identity. The neighborhood illustrates the development of an early Columbia neighborhood from the time of great suburban expansion in the early twentieth century through the housing boom of the post-World War II period. In area A, many of the historic structures were built between approximately 1910 and 1945; while in Area B, the development occurred between 1940 and 1955. Earlewood was designated a local Protection Area in 2005.



Elmwood Park Architectural Conservation District 

Map of Elmwood Park Architectural Conservation DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Picture of homes in Elmwood ParkElmwood Park retains its historic character as a turn-of-the-century neighborhood developed during a period of major suburban growth in Columbia.  There was scattered development in the area starting around 1872, but the bulk of what would become the neighborhood was used as fairgrounds until 1903. The architecture of the district includes Queen Anne, Four-Square, Colonial Revival, and Craftsman influenced bungalows etc., and many of the houses were built between 1900 and 1940. The neighborhood was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1991, and was designated a local Architectural Conservation District in 1988.  For a brief history of the area, check out this video.



Governor's Mansion Protection Area

Map of the Governor's Mansion Protection AreaMap of District (click to enlarge)Image of homes in the Governor's Mansion Protection AreaA section of the larger Arsenal Hill neighborhood, the Governor's Mansion area was established as a local historic district surrounding the Governor's Mansion and grounds.  Along the streets surrounding the Governor's complex is a mix of commercial buildings and houses that serve as offices. The 30-block Arsenal Hill area was named for the military academy that was established there in 1842, and the area later became a desirable place to live.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, and the Governor's Mansion area was designated a local Protection Area in 1964. The historic structures in the district date from approximately circa 1830-1920.



Granby Architectural Conservation District 

Map of the Granby Architectural Conservation DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Image of homes in the Granby Architectural Conservation DistrictThe Granby Mill Village is quite possibly the best collection of mill housing remaining in the state today. Its compact and visually striking appearances making it a fine example of late nineteenth century mill village design and its association with the prominent W.B. Smith Whaley lends great historical importance to its level of significance. The predominant "saltbox" style houses were built 1897-1899. The neighborhood was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1993 and was designated a local Architectural Conservation District in 2010.  For a brief history of the area, check out this video.



Heathwood Community Character Area 

map of the Heathwood Community Character DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Community character overlays are intended to minimize the possibility that demolition and construction activity within a residential community would drastically negatively affect the existing character of that community. Neighborhoods which have elected to have this overlay have a review for demolition and new construction on newly subdivided lots.



Hollywood-Rose Hill Community Character Area

Map of the Hollywood-Rose Hill Community Character DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Community character overlays are intended to minimize the possibility that demolition and construction activity within a residential community would drastically negatively affect the existing character of that community. Neighborhoods which have elected to have this overlay have a review for demolition and new construction on newly subdivided lots.



Landmark District

Map of Landmark DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Image of buildings in the Landmark DistrictThe Landmark District is a collection of houses once owned by prominent Columbia citizens. Many of the structures in this neighborhood are antebellum residences that survived the Civil War and reflect the prosperity of Columbia before the war, while several impressive early 1900s examples reflect popular revival styles of architecture. The Landmark District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places as Columbia Historic District II in 1971 and was designated a local Landmark District in 1964.  For a brief history of the area, check out this video.



Melrose Heights/Oak Lawn Architectural Conservation District 

Map of Melrose Heights/Oak Lawn Architectural Conservation DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Image of homes in the Melrose Heights/Oak Lawn Architectural Conservation DistrictThe historic suburb of Melrose Heights/Oak Lawn developed in the early twentieth century. While most houses date to the 1920s and 1930s, many houses in the neighborhood reflect the building boom that occurred in Columbia just after World War II. The neighborhood was recently named one of the best places in the country to buy an old house by This Old House magazine. It was designated a local Architectural Conservation District in 2003.  For a brief history of the area, check out this video.



Oakwood Court Architectural Conservation District

Map of Oakwood Court Architectural Conservation DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Image of homes in the Oakwood Court Architectural Conservation DistrictOakwood Court has had an enduring presence in Columbia, and its excellent architecture has been preserved throughout the years. The neighborhood represents the suburban development during the city's earliest period of suburban expansion, with many houses being constructed during the Great Depression era. It was designated a local Architectural Conservation District in 2006.  For a brief history of the area, check out this video.



Old Shandon/Lower Waverly Protection Area A & B

Map of Old Shandon/Lower Waverly Protection Area Districts A&BMap of Districts (click to enlarge)Image of homes in the Old Shandon/Lower Waverly Protection Area DistrictsThe Old Shandon/Lower Waverly Neighborhood also developed as an early suburb of Columbia, and was considered by some to be the city's first real suburb when it was created in the 1890s.  Development was slow at first, but spurred by the city's new electric streetcar lines, construction increased considerably in the early 1900s. The neighborhood contains a variety of architectural styles. Old Shandon Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and was designated a local Protection Area in 2001.  For a brief history of the area, check out this video.



Seminary Ridge Protection Area 

Map of Seminary Ridge Protection Area DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Image of a home in the Seminary Ridge Protection AreaNamed for the Lutheran Seminary adjacent to it, this historic district was originally platted in 1910 by the Monticello Home Company.  Development was slow with houses built mostly between 1910 and the early 1960s.  Several of the unique buildings within the district include the Ensor-Keenan house, an all-steel house and the former Eau Claire Town Hall, which show that this neighborhood was once the epicenter of the town once known as Eau Claire.



Shandon Community Character Area 

Map of Shandon Community Character DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Community character overlays are intended to minimize the possibility that demolition and construction activity within a residential community would drastically negatively affect the existing character of that community. Neighborhoods which have elected to have this overlay have a review for demolition and new construction on newly subdivided lots.



Sherwood Forest Community Character Area 

Map of Sherwood Forest Community Character DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Community character overlays are intended to minimize the possibility that demolition and construction activity within a residential community would drastically negatively affect the existing character of that community. Neighborhoods which have elected to have this overlay have a review for demolition and new construction on newly subdivided lots.



University Architectural Conservation District 

Map of University Architectural Conservation DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Image of homes in University Architectural Conservation DistrictThe University neighborhood is a late-nineteenth/early-twentieth century residential neighborhood that developed within the vicinity of the University of South Carolina, which is within the original boundaries of the city. The neighborhood has always been home to many USC faculty members and students, and it also contains some of the earliest apartment buildings within the city. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places 2004 and was designated a local Architectural Conservation District in 1964.  For a brief history of the area, check out this video.



Wales Garden Architectural Conservation District

Map of Wales Garden Architectural Conservation DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Image of homes in Wales Garden Architectural Conservation DistrictDue to its location, Wales Garden has long been a popular neighborhood in Columbia. Developed between approximately 1915 and the early 1940s, the neighborhood's creation can be attributed to Edwin Wales Robertson who was a respected businessman and president of the Columbia Electric Street Railway, Light & Power Company. This connection helped ensure that Wales Garden had excellent public transportation. The neighborhood was designated a local Architectural Conservation District in 2008.  For a brief history of the area, check out this video.



Waverly Protection Area  

Map of Waverly Protection Area DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Image of homes in Waverly Protection Area DistrictWaverly was originally an early subdivision of an antebellum plantation by the same name located on the outskirts of Columbia, with the earliest homes constructed by the 1870s and 1880s. By the early twentieth century, it had evolved into a community of African-American artisans, professionals and social reformers, many of whom made significant contributions to the social and political advancement of blacks in Columbia and South Carolina. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 and was designated a local Protection Area in 2005.  The Waverly Historic District was added to the National Park Service African American Civil Rights Network in 2021. Revisions to the Waverly Protection Area Guidelines were adopted by Council December 6, 2016 after a series of community meetings. 



West Gervais Street Historic Commercial District 

Map of West Gervais Street Historic Commercial DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Image of buildings in West Gervais Street Historic Commercial DistrictThe West Gervais Street Historic Commercial District is an area of Columbia containing commercial and industrial buildings from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, many of which relied on, and were sometimes shaped by, the multiple railroad lines nearby. The district is reflective of Columbia's importance as a manufacturing and transportation center for the state. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and was designated a local Historic Commercial District in 1994.



West Gervais Street Protection Area 

Map of District (click to enlarge)Image of buildings in the West Gervais Street Protection Area DistrictThe West Gervais Street Protection Area District is a buffer district located west of the West Gervais Historic Commercial District.  It has a number of new buildings and altered older buildings, with a few historic structures generally located near the Huger Street corridor.  It was established at the same time as the West Gervais Street Historic Commercial District.



Whaley Street Community Character Area

Map of Whaley Street Community Character DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Community character overlays are intended to minimize the possibility that demolition and construction activity within a residential community would drastically negatively affect the existing character of that community. Neighborhoods which have elected to have this overlay have a review for demolition and new construction on newly subdivided lots.



Whaley Protection Area 

Map of Whaley Protection Area DistrictMap of District (click to enlarge)Image of houses in Whaley Protection AreaWhaley and its perimeters were once the central location of the Whaley Mills village. Textile workers of adjacent mills lived in this tight-knit community and remained loyal to their lifestyle and neighborhood for many decades. To this day, the area is reminiscent of its past with its extant grid layout, railroad tracks, and mill structures. The neighborhood was designated a local Protection Area in 2010, and most of the buildings date from the 1910s and 1920s.  For a brief history of the area, check out this video.