History Lesson in Four Factoids: Cottontown

07/17/2014 12:00 AM

07/17/2014 12:00 AM

Drawing its name from South Carolina’s most famous cash crop, Columbia’s Cottontown neighborhood is among a handful of early suburbs established more than a century ago. Today, the district is bounded by North Main Street, Grace Avenue, Bull Street, and Elmwood Avenue. In its earliest years, this area lay immediately outside the original city limits.

Spawning 19 other Columbia-area Church of God congregations, the Elmwood Avenue Church of God sanctuary at 1427 Elmwood Ave. traces its roots back to the city’s first Pentecostal church, established in 1920 within a Granby Village residence. Arriving in Cottontown in 1951, its membership met in a tent during construction of the current sanctuary.

Masonry warehouses designed to minimize fire hazards formerly stood within Cottontown, mostly fronting today’s Main Street. Horse-drawn wagons were the primary means for transporting cotton, though work performed in 1892 unearthed remnants of rails from an earlier mule-drawn car system that connected the district to the Congaree River.

Designed by noted South Carolina architect Heyward S. Singley, North Columbia Fire Station No. 7 has been an integral part of Cottontown since 1948. Completed for approximately $62,000, the station featured a 12-bed dormitory, supply room, alarm room, recreation room, bathing and sanitation room and kitchen facilities that could accommodate three fire companies.

On Thursday, July 17, Historic Columbia’s Palladian Society will hold a Renovation Rodeo at The Vino Garage, a beer and wine shop housed in a former Cottontown transmission shop.

The tour showcases owner Doug Aylard’s renovation and restoration of the building, which focused on maintaining its structural and stylistic integrity. Thursday’s event is sold out, but for more information on future rodeos, visit historiccolumbia.org

Katie McElveen, Special to The State

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