Sally Salamander is a walking tour of downtown Columbia featuring numbered, bronze statues of South Carolina's state amphibian, the spotted salamander. The tour was presented by the Leadership Columbia class of 2009. Stop by the Columbia SC Visitors Center to get started!
I’m Sally, Columbia SC’s official amphibian ambassador! As you look for me around downtown, be sure to notice the beautiful architecture and cultural icons of South Carolina’s capital city. We pride ourselves on maintaining our rich history as we build for the future. When you spot me along your journey, feel free to pet me. Like our locals, I am friendly and full of Southern graciousness.
1. Columbia SC Visitors Center (1120 Lincoln Street)
Anything and everything you want to know about Columbia can be found here. Have friends or family coming into town and need to know how to entertain them or where to go for eats? Here, you’ll find maps, brochures, local items for sale, and more.
2. South Carolina State House (Salamander located at First Citizens Complex, 1230 Main Street)
Notice the home of democracy at the State House, located in the heart of Columbia and at the end of Main Street. It is an historic building with a storied past of war, struggle and accomplishment. The State House grounds are home to more than two dozen monuments. Can you find all 6 bronze stars? (State House address, 1100 Gervais Street)
3. Arcade Mall (1332 Main Street)
Built in 1912, the Arcade was Columbia’s first indoor mall. The architecture features terra cotta and marble detailing. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 17, 1982.
4. Palmetto Building (1400 Main Street)
You are now standing next to a building nearly 100 years old. The Palmetto Building was built in 1913 and featured a bank on the first level. Notice the architecture of the building. Take a walk inside and feel the different stones. Can you tell what they are?
5. Never Bust by Blue Sky (1500 Main Street)
Look up and discover a unique piece of work created by Columbia’s own famous artist, Blue Sky. His inspiration came when the wall between the two buildings was torn down. Blue Sky didn’t want Sylvan’s to “float away” from the rest of the block, so he chained it down.
6. Columbia Museum of Art (1515 Main Street)
Columbia’s world-class museum features fantastic art inside and out. Now that you’ve found me, visit the Museum Shop then walk around Boyd Plaza and notice the Keenan Fountain, Apollo’s Cascade with its many waterfalls, Henry Moore’s Upright Motive, No. 8, and the large steel and fiberglass sculpture Homage to Abbot Suger.
7. Richland Library (1431 Assembly Street)
Look inside this 242,000 square foot building at the corner of Assembly and Hampton Streets. Notice the contemporary architecture and more than 20 pieces of original artwork. Downstairs, children go wild over the thousands of books, puppet stage, listening center, and puzzles. Characters from “Where the Wild Things Are” greet you as you enter the Children’s Room. Do you know the author of the book?
8. The Big Apple (1000 Hampton Street)
Feel like dancing? You’re standing in front of the Big Apple Club. In the late 1930’s, Columbia’s young African-American teens would come here to dance the night away. This is where the Big Apple dance craze was born – not New York City.
9. Blue Marlin (1200 Lincoln Street)
You are now standing in what used to be Columbia’s train station. Yep, what once stood as the Seaboard Diner is now the Blue Marlin. Our city has done a great job of preserving history while looking toward the future.
10. Adluh Flour Mills (804 Gervais Street)
You’re standing next to an icon in Columbia’s Vista district. Adluh Flour Company, built in 1900, is the only flour mill still operating in South Carolina. You can find some of their stone-milled grits as part of the main course in some of our local restaurants. Did you know their biggest customer is Domino’s Pizza?
11. USC Horseshoe (800 block of Sumter Street)
The Horseshoe was the original campus of the University of South Carolina when it was founded in 1801. Federal and regency architectural styles are represented in the buildings, which include the South Caroliniana Library, designed by SC native Robert Mills, the United States’ first federal architect.
12. Hanging Drums (1441 Main Street)
The Hanging Drums are a public art sculpture created by local artists, Eileen Blyth and Mark Finley, consisting of five steel drums constructed from propane tanks. The drums, which are meant to be interactive, immediately draw the curiosity of visitors to Main Street.
13. Lincoln Street Tunnel (900 Lady Street)
The tunnel is a 100 year-old railroad tunnel, and was part of the Seaboard Air Line Railway, a major eastern rail route. Recently renovated to include landscaping and lighting, It is utilized by bikers and pedestrians. Local artists were hired to paint murals within the tunnel of Columbia’s history, including “Watermarked”, which depicts the historic flood of October 2015.
14. Trinity Cathedral (1100 Sumter Street)
Trinity Episcopal Church is one of the oldest houses of worship in Columbia, founded in 1810. Several prominent figures are buried here, including Revolutionary War heroes and six past governors. Modeled after Yorkminster Cathedral in England, the church is an example of English Gothic Revival architecture with stained glass windows imported from Munich in the 1860s.
15. Nickelodeon Theatre (1607 Main Street)
The Nickelodeon Theatre was founded in 1979 as home to the Columbia Film Society. It is a non-profit organization which supports the arts and education. The theatre showcases a wide variety of independent films, and is home to different film festivals throughout the year, including the popular Indie Grits
16. Mast General Store (1601 Main Street)
The building that houses Mast General was built in the 1870s, and originally housed Efrid’s Department Store. Mast General was awarded the Preservation and Restoration award in 2012. Families visit Mast General for the large selection of toys and overflowing candy bins, and outdoor and sporting gear.
17. Villa Tronco Ristorante (1213 Blanding Street)
Opened in 1940, Villa Tronco is Columbia’s oldest Italian restaurant. However, the building was originally home to the Palmetto Volunteer Fire Engine Company, constructed in 1866. The Troncos were one of the first families to introduce pizza to Columbia.
18. Sweet Cream Company (1627 Main Street)
Sweet Cream Company makes small batch ice cream using locally grown seasonal ingredients. All products are handcrafted in their store on Main Street, and are also shipped anywhere in the United States.
19. The Gong (1100 Lincoln Street)
The Gong was created by local artists Clark Ellefson and Matthew Kramer, who said that Marvin Chernoff, considered a public relations mastermind, inspired the idea to create the Gong. The men said they remembered the late Mr. Chernoff having a smaller version of the gong that he used to signify the end of a conversation and a need to move on.
20. Hall's Chophouse (1221 Main Street)
Hall’s Chophouse is located at the corner of Main and Gervais Streets. One of the most appealing aspects of the restaurant is the amazing view of the State House. The restaurant is frequented by visitors to Columbia, legislators, and professionals from the Main Street district.
- Price Range Maximum: $ - Less than $100