Harden Street Substation

Also known as: Harden Street Fire Station
1901 Harden St., Columbia, South Carolina


Harden Street Substation, Left Oblique

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

View this photo at nationalregister.sc.gov


Street View 


The Harden Street Substation is historically significant for its strong association with segregation in Columbia. It is an excellent example of the duplicative architecture often built to maintain institutional segregation. It was built in 1953 to employ the Columbia Fire Departmentís first African American firemen and to serve the predominately African American Waverly community. By 1921, the only employment allowed African Americans in the Columbia Fire Department was in menial capacities such as janitors. In 1947, Clarence Mitchell, a veteran of World War II and a resident of the Waverly community, took and passed the cityís civil service exam and applied for employment as a fireman with the Columbia Fire Department. He was denied employment on the grounds that state law prohibited white and black citizens working together in public buildings, and there were no fire department substations for African Americans. After the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) threatened to bring a lawsuit, the Columbia city council decided to build a new substation and to staff it with African American firemen under white officers. Clarence Mitchell and seven other men were hired, completed a rigorous training program, and began serving as fireman at the new Harden Street Substation. Designed by Heyward Singley, a prominent local architect, the new substation was a state-of-the-art facility and a concrete step toward the integration of the Columbia Fire Department. It is a two-story brick municipal fire station with a rectangular plan and a flat roof constructed in the Moderne style. Listed in the National Register September 28, 2005. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 2005
Reference number
Architectural style
Modern Movement: Moderne
Areas of significance
Social History; Ethnic Heritage - Black
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic function
Fire station
Current function
Fire station
Period of significance
Significant year

Update Log 

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