Historic Waverly, South Carolina to Celebrate 100th Anniversary at Bishop Memorial AME Church

4798The Waverly Historic District will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its annexation to the city of Columbia on Thursday.

The brick-clad American Foursquare house located on the corner of Pine and Hampton streets was home to one of Columbia and Waverly's most influential African-American families.
Located in the heart of the city, the district is rooted in city and state history and is one of the few South Carolina neighborhoods listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Waverly was originally a subdivision of an antebellum plantation before developing into Columbia's first suburb during the 1870s.

The Waverly name comes from the plantation, which was itself named after a series of novels by Sir Walter Scott, who was popular among Southern aristocrats in the early 19th century.

The introduction of an electric streetcar service in 1894 connected Waverly to the city center, greatly facilitating the neighborhood's growth as development sprung up around the tracks.

The community was majority white at first, but rural black families began settling in the neighborhood more during the late 19th century even as white families relocated. The shift was characteristic of a wider pattern of biracial communities giving way to strict racial segregation around the turn of the century.

Most of the buildings in Waverly were built during the early 20th century and display an array of architectural styles popular during the time. Bungalows and Queen Anne residences predominate, but there are also many small shotgun-style homes with rooms off a main hall that runs to the back of the building.

A community of black artisans, professionals and social reformers developed in Waverly and would make significant contributions to the social and political advancement of blacks in South Carolina.

Key figures included Matthew J. Perry, the first black federal district judge in South Carolina; Dr. Matilda Evans, South Carolina's first licensed African-American female physician; and Edwin Roberts Russell, a chemist and graduate of Benedict College, who worked on the Manhattan Project developing the atomic bomb.

Source: The State | BRYAN BETTS -- bbetts@thestate.com
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