Alston House

Also known as: McDuffie`s Antiques
1811 Gervais St., Columbia, South Carolina


Alston House, Facade

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

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Built ca. 1872, this building is important for its association with early African American business people in Columbia. Possibly as early as 1875 and definitely by 1895, the Alston House was used as a residence and dry goods store by Carolina Alston. Alston, a prosperous businesswoman, was one of only twenty-five black business people operating in the Columbia area in the late 1800s. In 1906, Alston sold the building to L. M. Keitt, an African American businessman, who operated a grocery store on the site. Following Keitt’s ownership, the property passed through a series of owners until 1946 when it became McDuffie’s Antiques. This one-story clapboard Greek Revival cottage set on brick foundations features a gable roof with two interior chimneys, a centrally located doorway with transom and sidelights, and early nineteenth century ironwork on the front of the building. A small one-story addition extends in an ell from the rear of the building. Listed in the National Register March 2, 1979. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 2, 1979
Reference number
Architectural style
Mid 19th Century Revival: Exotic Revival
Areas of significance
Commerce; Ethnic Heritage - Black; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Single dwelling
Current function
Specialty store
Periods of significance
1875-1899; 1850-1874
Significant years
ca. 1872; 1885

Update Log 

  • October 3, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Street View" and Imported Photo
  • October 3, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller