Columbia neighborhood named one of America's best-kept secrets

By Taylor Kearns - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Melrose Heights in Columbia has been called one of the best neighborhoods in the country. The historic area has made quite an impression on the publishers of This Old House magazine.

Kandie Wright says there was just something about the house on Shirley Street. "I just saw this house and couldn't get it out of my mind," she said.
It's in the heart of Melrose Heights, a century-old neighborhood two miles east of the State House in downtown Columbia. "All the houses are so different, and the fact that they were built so long ago and have all been maintained so beautifully, we just knew this was a place we'd like to move with our family."
Those same qualities helped make it one of the best "old house neighborhoods" in the country, according to This Old House magazine. "I agree with everything they said, and agree this is a well-kept little secret," said Wright.
Judges weighed qualities like amenities, home prices and convenience. "The convenience, you just can't beat the convenience," said neighborhood president Frank Easley, who has spent his entire life here. "We do a lot of different things to involve the neighborhood and involve the community, and it helps really make it be vibrant."

When it was founded in 1900, lots sold for $300 an acre. Prices have gone up just a bit since then, but are still reasonable, according to This Old House. The eclectic architecture and convenience to downtown continue to attract buyers.

The house that called out to Wright was owned by the neighborhood founder. In the back, near the carriage house, is what's believed to be the first in-ground pool in Columbia.

It's cool if you're a history buff, but Wright says even if you're not, the Heights has more to offer. "There's a very strong sense of community here, I think homes are still affordable here and it's very convenient," said Wright.

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