WIS 60th: How Columbia changed over 60 years - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

WIS 60th: How Columbia changed over 60 years

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When the first transmissions left WIS, we beamed our signal across a downtown that had a different identity.

In 1953 Main Street bustled with movie theaters, restaurants and department stores. If you were shopping in Columbia, you were there, most likely, browsing Tapp's department store and then maybe seeing a movie at the State theater.

But the growth of the suburbs gradually pulled shoppers, and eventually businesses, out to areas like Harbison Boulevard and later the Village at Sand Hill.

Today Main Street is enjoying a renaissance with new restaurants and apartments. Tapp's hums as an art venue. The Nickelodeon has brought back the movies.

More progress can be found down Gervais Street in the Vista. 60 years ago, it wasn't much more than warehouses. Today it's home to Columbia's upscale entertainment and serves as an example preservationists use when talking about the value of reuse.  It's what's kept buildings like 701 Whaley and the Palmetto Compress Warehouse standing.

USC has been the driving force behind a lot of changes downtown. Part of Assembly Street was still used as a farmer's market in the early 50's.

Today it's the bridge to The Carolina Coliseum, the Colonial Life Arena, Koger Center and the new Darla Moore School of Business. As the campus continues expanding toward the river the skyline will continue to change.

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