Harriet M. Cornwell Tourist House

1713 Wayne St., Columbia, South Carolina


Harriet M. Cornwell Tourist Home, Left Oblique

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

View this photo at nationalregister.sc.gov


Street View 


The Harriet M. Cornwell Tourist Home’s significance is based upon its role in the practice of segregation in Columbia from ca. 1940 to ca. 1960. During the era of segregation, blacks carefully planned their travel to coordinate overnight accommodations, or they arranged their travel so that they reached their destination during the daytime. While most large cities were known to have at least one hotel opened to blacks, other accommodations were frequently used. Travelers could find alternative accommodations with extended family members or friends who lived in the city. They could also find accommodations with local families who operated their homes as a “tourist home.” Such places, termed alternative spaces, offered multiple options for African Americans looking to minimize the indignities of racism; alternative spaces are considered "the most elaborate architectural response" to segregation. The Harriet M. Cornwell Tourist Home served as an alternative space where African Americans could find a room to sleep in and one meal a day. The home has remained in the family over the years. Mrs. Cornwell began operating her house as a tourist home during the 1940s. Her motivation for opening her home to guests stemmed from her active involvement within the community. Each month several guests arrived at the house, and they were only required to pay what they were able. During segregation the Cornwell home looked like every other house on the block. No sign hung out front advertising the house as a tourist home for blacks. The house and its address were advertised nationally in publications from New York titled, The Negro Travelers' Green Book and the International Travelers' Green Book. However, many of the guests who stayed in the home heard about it through word of mouth. Listed in the National Register October 5, 2007. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 5, 2007
Reference number
NR name
Cornwell, Harriet M., Tourist House
Architectural style
Other architectural type; American Four-Square
Areas of significance
Transportation; Ethnic Heritage - Black
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Single dwelling
Periods of significance
1925-1949; 1950-1974

Update Log 

  • October 15, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "GPS Coordinates", "Description" & "Street View" and Imported Photos
  • October 15, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller