National Loan and Exchange Bank Building

Also known as: Barringer Building
1338 Main St., Columbia, South Carolina


National Loan and Exchange Bank Building, Left Oblique

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

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Commonly known as the Barringer Building, Columbia’s first skyscraper was completed in October 1903 for the National Loan and Exchange Bank. The twelve-story Commercial style building is brick with rusticated stone on the lower two floors and stone detailing around the top floor. The 184 foot tall building is supported by a steel frame. Brickwork has a horizontally striped appearance: between rows of four bricks are recessed rows two bricks high. The twelfth floor is brick with stone keystones over windows and stone panels on either side of end windows. Stonework includes garland festoons and an ornamented torus under windows. John Cain of Columbia was the contractor and the design has been attributed to James Brite. Edwin Wales Robertson, president of the Loan and Exchange Bank, as well as a prosperous Columbia developer and entrepreneur is credited with the idea of erecting the building. In 1893, Robertson established the Canal Dime Savings Bank. By 1903 he had purchased controlling interests in two other banks to form the Loan and Exchange Bank, at the time the largest in South Carolina. The present name comes from the Barringer Corporation which owned the building from 1953 until 1974. The building was renovated in the 1960s. 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 styles
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Colonial Revival; Other architectural type; American Movement: Skyscraper; Georgian Revival
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Financial institution; Business
Current functions
Business; Financial institution
Period of significance
Significant year

Update Log 

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