Allen University Historic District

1530 Harden St., Columbia, South Carolina



Photo taken for the Historic American Buildings Survey


Street Views 


Of the Chappelle Administration Building - One of the major commissions by John Anderson Lankford (1874-1946), considered to be the "dean of black architects" by his contemporaries. -- Historic American Buildings Survey

Among the many private schools and universities for African Americans founded during the post-bellum period, Allen University was probably the first founded and operated by African Americans in South Carolina. Established by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Allen University was influenced by the denominationís emphasis on education and a trained clergy. Named for Richard Allen, founder of the A.M.E. Church, Allen University was one of several universities established by the A.M.E. Church in the South following the Civil War. Begun four years after the University of South Carolina was closed to African Americans, Allen helped fill the pressing need for African American education in South Carolina. The university purchased its first property in Columbia in 1881. The first major building was erected and in use on the present site in 1888. The campus historic district contains four major buildings, ranging in date from 1891 to 1941, situated around a campus green. The architecture is typical of many university buildings around the country, characterized by red brick construction, white columns, and classical symmetry and detailing. Listed in the National Register April 14, 1975 - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 14, 1975
Reference number
NR name
Allen University
Areas of significance
Ethnic Heritage - Black; Education
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic functions
College; Educational related housing
Current function
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1925-1949
Significant years
1891; 1906; 1941
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 5

Update Log 

  • February 25, 2021: New photo from Michael Miller
  • October 3, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Street View", Corrected "Name" & Category" and Imported Photo
  • October 3, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller
  • May 12, 2012: Imported photo from HABS/HAER

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