The Five Points Association is pleased to announce that Five Points is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Developed between 1919 and 1967, Five Points is historically significant as Columbia’s first suburban retail shopping center. The historic district includes 74 “resources,” mostly buildings dating from the 1920s through the 1940s. It joins more than 1,400 National Register listings in South Carolina, including the South Carolina State House, Fort Sumter National Monument, and Orangeburg’s downtown. A historic preservation grant from the Richland County Conservation Commission funded the research and writing of the nomination.
Five Points transformed from a marshy “no man’s” land on the edge of Columbia’s iconic grid into a thriving commercial district after the establishment of nearby white suburbs of Shandon and Wales Gardens at the turn of the century. Significant improvement of storm drainage infrastructure in the 1910s and 1920s prepared the swampy land for development. Gas stations were amount the earliest structures built around the two star-like intersections known as “Five Points” by the early 1920s. Groceries, pharmacies, service stations, and specialty stores followed along Harden, Greene, and Devine streets over the following decades. The neighborhood became the go-to, one-stop shopping center for Columbians living on the eastside of downtown. It boasted
the city’s first drive-through drive-cleaner and Chinese food restaurant, as well as delis, liquor stores, beauty parlors, and vacuum cleaner repair shops.
Most of Five Points’ historic structures are still recognizable, including the Tudor Revival storefronts wrapping the west corner of Harden and Devine streets (built in 1929-31), Claussen’s Bakery at 2003 Greene Street (built in 1928), the stores on either side of Saluda Avenue (1940s), Yesterday’s at 2030 Devine Street (built 1935, second-story added in the early 1950s), and the Five Points Theater at 630-34 Harden Street (1939).
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States’ official list of places or structures deemed worthy of historic preservation by the National Park Service. It is an honorary designation and does not dictate what private property owners can do with listed buildings. Properties within a listed district are potentially eligible for federal preservation tax credits. This program has leveraged over $96.87 billion since beginning in 1976. For more about the National Register in South Carolina, visit https://scdah.sc.gov/historic-preservation/programs/national-register.