North Carolina Mutual Building

Also known as: Blue Palace Tea Shop and Barber Shop
1001, 1001 1/2 and 1003 Washington St., Columbia, South Carolina

Photo 

North Carolina Mutual Building, Facade

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

View this photo at nationalregister.sc.gov

Map 

Street View 

Description 

Built in 1909, this commercial building became a significant part of the Washington Street business district. African-American businesses, professionals, and institutions in the North Carolina Mutual Building provided needed goods and services to Columbia’s African American population during the years of Jim Crow segregation in the South. In order to deal with segregation, Columbia’s African Americans formed many of their own institutions and businesses to serve their community. While these institutions and businesses were located in several areas of the city, the main concentration was in the Washington Street business district, the city’s black downtown during the period of Jim Crow segregation. The North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association built the North Carolina Mutual Building. African American businessmen in Durham, North Carolina founded this life insurance company that became the largest African American owned life insurance company in the United States. Built at a cost of around seven thousand dollars, the structure included two stores on the first floor and nine offices on the second floor. The company would use three of the offices and rent the others. Though it sold the building in 1920, North Carolina Mutual continued to maintain an office in it until the mid-1930s. The building is a rectangular brick commercial block with three stories. The first two floors are visually distinct from the third floor which is a later addition. Listed in the National Register January 20, 1995. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on January 20, 1995
Reference number
94001570
Areas of significance
Ethnic Heritage - Black; Social History; Commerce; Law
Level of significance
State
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Building
Historic functions
Business; Professional; Specialty store; Restaurant; Meeting hall
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949
Significant year
1909

Update Log 

  • October 16, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Street View" and Imported Photo

Sources