I’ve received permission from Debbie Bloom, Manager of the Walker Local History Room at Richland County (SC) Public Library to reproduce this photograph of Columbia, South Carolina’s Main Street as it appeared before 1900, with the old city hall building in the background and to the right. The original photograph was given to the library by Security Federal Savings and Loan Association of Columbia. The digital image is part of the library’s Flickr stream and Local History Digital Library collections. I’d like to thank Ms. Bloom for allowing me to reproduce the image and for her enthusiastic support of my genealogical research.

This photo has come to mean a lot to me even though I’d never seen it before a few days ago. As I explained in this post, my maternal great-grandfather Joseph R. Allen, was the auditor for the city of Columbia during the 1890s. He worked in that old city hall building. When a fire destroyed the building on the night of 30 March 1899, he went into his burning office and risked his life to retrieve valuable city documents. When I went looking for an appropriate image for that previous blog post, I found this picture. Since it was part of the library’s collections, I wanted to ask permission before posting it, and that’s how I met Debbie Bloom. Doing family history research is one thing, but when you can find a visible, tangible reminder of your ancestors and the worlds they lived in, and make new friends in the process, that’s really something special. Thank you, Debbie Bloom.

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