City of Columbia, SC, to Buy Post Office; Historians Hope Building Will Be Preserved


Free Times: For years, the City of Columbia, SC, has talked about a revitalization of battered Finlay Park, the 18-acre downtown expanse that was once known as the “crown jewel” of the city’s parks system, but has long since suffered from structural disrepair and indifference from the public.

It now appears that, if the park is revamped, the adjacent 9.5-acre U.S. post office property at 1601 Assembly St. will likely be a part of the mix.

On May 7, Columbia City Council passed a resolution to enter into a purchase agreement for the post office property….

The post office building on Assembly was built in 1966. According to at-large Councilman Howard Duvall, if the purchase is completed, the city would have to honor the U.S. Postal Service’s lease of the building for another 17 years….

Historic Columbia Executive Director Robin Waites says she would love to see the building preserved.  “I would be happy for the city to buy it as long as they retain it and reuse it,” Waites tells Free Times. “It is potentially the finest example of a mid-century modern [architectural style] building that we have in Columbia. It was designed by Lyles, Bissett, Carlisle & Wolff, who were the preeminent mid-century architects in Columbia. … That’s an architecture firm that has really made an impact in Columbia, and that’s a really fine example of their work.

“Potentially, for Columbia, I think when people are looking at mid-century modern, that’s one they would point to as an excellent example, nationally, as well as local.”

Waites says Historic Columbia was working on a nomination to place the Assembly Street post office on the National Register of Historic Places when it learned that the property was on the market.

“I think it has the potential to be reused as something really cool, and perhaps spur some development,” Waites says. She says Historic Columbia would welcome the opportunity to be a part of the city’s discussions about how the post office property would be used in the future.  Read more.