City Directories and History: (Evans and Cogswell Company) The Confederate Printing Plant was originally constructed by the firm of Evans and Cogswell for the manufacture of Confederate bonds and other printing purposes. During the Civil War, the printing firm of Evans and Cogswell in Charleston became one of the producers of bonds, certificates of stock and currency for the Confederate government. In 1864, the firm constructed the large building on Gervais Street in Columbia and relocated its business there. In February of 1865, when General W. T. Sherman’s army occupied Columbia, the building’s contents were seized and the plant was burned. After the war, the building was eventually repaired. The structure was later used as a liquor warehouse for the South Carolina Dispensary System. During the 1930s, the building was used in conjunction with the U.S. Seed Loan Program. It is a large two-story, commercial Greek Revival brick structure which spans the length of an entire city block. Originally it was a one-story structure with a gable roof. The second story was added after the building was burned in 1865. The southern façade is divided into repetitive bays by molded brick pilasters on both levels. A wide molded brick frieze separates the two stories. Listed in the National Register March 28, 1979.
(Courtesy of South Carolina Department of Archives and History)
With the coming of the Civil War, Columbia, already a center for political activities, mobilized in support of the Confederacy and was transformed by the development of various military installations, manufactures, hospitals, prisoner-of-war camp, and the Confederate Printing Plant. Buildings reflecting this period of Columbia’s story still stand as visual history. Constructed in 1864 at 501 Gervais Street was the Confederate Printing Plant, when the printing firm of Evans and Cogswell, which had become one the producers of bonds, certificates of stock and currency for the Confederate government, decided to relocate its business in Columbia. In this plant Evans and Cogswell produced Confederate currency along with Confederate publications as well. (After April of 1864, Columbia became the center of the Confederacy’s monetary system, when the Treasury Note Bureau was moved from Richmond to Columbia). When Sherman’s army occupied Columbia, the building’s contents were seized, and the plant was burned. Eventually repaired, the building was used as a warehouse for the South Carolina Dispensary system in the 1890s. It was entered in the National Register in March 1979 as a building of national significance.
(Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC)
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