Keeping Columbia's History Alive

By Daphne Stubbolo

Photo courtesy of Historic Columbia Foundation

Columbia has a long and vibrant history to preserve. Historic Columbia Foundation strives to do just that with its permanent collection of historic artifacts. The foundation recently received an exciting addition to its collection – a circa-1858 silver fireman’s speaking horn. Embossed with images including a fireman’s helmet, axe, pike and horse-drawn fire engine, this artifact was given to Historic Columbia Foundation from a direct descendant of the original owner.

Originally gifted to William Byrd Stanley for his service to the community by the members of the Palmetto Fire Engine Company, a volunteer firefighting group of which he was president, the horn will be placed on display at the Robert Mills House in a focus gallery this spring.

John Sherrer, director of cultural resources, says, “This artifact speaks to pre-Civil War fire-fighting services run by private companies in the area. Silver was one of the most celebrated forms of prestige and wealth in material culture during the time this horn was gifted to William Byrd Stanley.”

Historic Columbia Foundation’s permanent museum collection spans the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries and forms the basis of interpretation at the historic house museums.  Objects vary in composition and size, and categories include textiles, decorative arts, fine arts, tools and historic images.

To donate historic artifacts from your personal collection to Historic Columbia Foundation, contact John Sherrer at or (803) 252-1770 ext. 28. 

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