When is the Right Time to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Columbia, SC

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If you have been accused and charged with a crime you are in need of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer in Columbia, SC. Having a skilled and dedicated criminal defense lawyer on your side is key in order to protect your freedoms and to ensure that a proper legal defense is built to shield you. Dealing with legal charges in Columbia can be a highly distressing ordeal with even minor violations causing considerable impact on an individual's personal and work life. The repercussions of having a criminal record can be severe, leading to loss of employment, severed relationships and alienation from loved ones.

At Theos Law Firm we offer trustworthy legal representation to those who need it most. Our criminal defense team has over 50 years of combined experience and is committed to ensuring our clients maintain their freedom and move forward with their lives. From handling drug-related charges to more nuanced federal cases, sexual misconduct offenses and murder cases, we take a personalized approach to every case. By utilizing cutting-edge legal strategies and decades of combined experience, we provide the best opportunity to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Service Areas

We help clients overcome criminal charges in a wide range of cases, including the following:

  • Homicides
  • Drug Crimes
  • Juvenile Crimes
  • Sex Crimes
  • Theft Crimes
  • Violent Crimes
  • Misdemeanor Offenses
  • Federal Offenses
  • More

If you are facing one or more of the charges above, it's imperative that you establish contact with a legal advocate ASAP. At Theos Law, you can rest easy knowing our phone line is always open. When your future is up for grabs, let our team of criminal defense lawyers fight for your rights. It all starts with a free consultation at our law firm in Columbia where we will educate you on the particulars of the charges you're facing and explain the next steps in our representation.

At this point, you probably have many questions in mind. Keep reading for more information on criminal law in South Carolina and some of our criminal defense specialties at Theos Law.

Criminal Defense Lawyer Columbia, SC

Understanding Criminal Defense Cases in South Carolina

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In South Carolina, criminal cases are classified into different categories based on the severity of the crime. Generally speaking, offenses that carry a maximum penalty of less than one year are considered misdemeanors. On the other hand, crimes that carry a punishment of more than one year in prison are generally classified as felonies.

State and Federal Criminal Defense Cases in South Carolina

Crimes in The Palmetto State are usually split into three categories: (1) Magistrate or Municipal Level Offenses; (2) General Sessions or Circuit Court State Charges; and, (3) Federal Crimes. Classifications are based on which prosecuting body has jurisdiction to prosecute a particular charge or offense. Regardless of which court your criminal charge is in, the Theos Law Firm has decades of experience protecting individuals from prosecution and assuring that the best possible outcome is achieved.

 Attorney At Law Columbia, SC
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The Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies in South Carolina

Understanding the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony crime can be challenging for someone facing their first charge. Misdemeanors are generally considered minor offenses, and can result in punishment by incarceration up to one year.

Conversely, felonies are more severe crimes which are punishable by incarceration of more than one year. Those charged with a felony may face significant fines and a prison sentences of over a year in a federal or state institution. Convicted felons may face difficulties after their release such as losing the right to vote and the right to carry a firearm. These penalties make it crucial to have a reliable criminal defense attorney in Columbia, SC.

Plea Deals in South Carolina

It is not uncommon for legal cases to be resolved without a trial through a plea deal. In order to assure that the best possible plea deal become available it is crucial for your legal defense to properly build your defense and prepare your case for trial. Deciding to represent yourself or not hiring the best legal team will likely result in exposure to unnecessary penalties, fines and jail time.

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When is the Right Time to Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Columbia, SC?

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At Theos Law Firm, we often receive questions from potential clients about when they should hire a criminal defense attorney for the charges that they're facing. Although each situation and client are unique, there are some common criminal situations to keep in mind. In general, it's always best to reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as you're charged or have been arrested.

Below are some guidelines to help you decide when it's necessary to retain a criminal defense attorney for your case in South Carolina.

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When You've Been Accused or Charged

Thinking about hiring a criminal defense lawyer when you're charged with a crime is a no-brainer for most, and for good reason. Our team of experience criminal defense attorneys can offer assistance with various offenses, ranging from minor crimes to more serious ones such as sexual assault and manslaughter. Regardless of the charges, navigating the legal system can be complex, and without the guidance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the situation can escalate rapidly. It is critical that you engage an experienced attorney as soon as possible!


 Family Law Attorney Columbia, SC

When Investigators or Police Question You

As you may have observed in movies or television shows, the police might request you to provide a statement, giving the impression that you are not under arrest. Remember, it is within your rights to have a criminal defense attorney in Columbia, SC, present during questioning, and you should absolutely use that to your advantage. If possible, consult with an attorney before answering any questions or participating in any discussions with law enforcement.


 Family Lawyer Columbia, SC

When Authorities Search Your Residence

In the event that law enforcement officers arrive at your residence with a warrant, it indicates that a judge has determined there is reasonable suspicion that evidence related to a criminal offense is present in your home. Regardless of whether they discover and confiscate anything, it is advisable to seek the guidance of a seasoned defense attorney to discuss the situation and receive assistance in determining any potential charges or locations they may investigate in the future.


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When You Are Wrongly Accused of Committing a Crime

Could you imagine being accused of something you didn't do? When you are accused or charged with committing a crime that you didn't commit defending yourself may seem straightforward but it can be an arduous task to see to it that the charges are timely resolved. It can also feel hopeless and like it's impossible for you to get someone to listen to your side. The truth is that anything you say or do can and will be used against you. To increase your chances of being cleared of charges, it's advisable to have a defense lawyer who can support your innocence and fight for your rights. Criminal defense attorneys at Theos Law don't just listen - we act swiftly and always with your best interests at heart.


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When Your Child Is Involved

The legal system for juveniles in South Carolina is different than it is for adults. It comes with its own complications and hurdles to overcome. If you your child has been accused of a crime it's imperative to get legal counsel swiftly. Failure to do so could be destructive to your child's life, your family or result in a exposure to jail time. Keep reading to learn more about just a few of the most common criminal defense cases we accept at Theos Law Firm.

Criminal Defense for DUIs in South Carolina

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In terms of common criminal offenses in South Carolina, DUIs top the list, especially regarding mindful drivers with clean driving records and no criminal history. Unfortunately for these drivers, a DUI conviction in South Carolina stays on your record and cannot be expunged. Even first-time offenses with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent can be costly. Your insurance premiums go up for years, you may end up paying almost $1,000 in fines and fees, and there's a good chance you'll have to perform community service or serve jail time.

If your breathalyzer test result is more than .15%, you refuse the breathalyzer, or it is recorded as a refusal, your license will be automatically suspended, which complicates matters further. Throw in the possibility of interlock device rental, and your life may never be the same. For those reasons alone, it is crucial to approach such charges with the help of a DUI defense lawyer. At Theos Law Firm, our attorneys have years of experience in successfully fighting these types of charges.

Fortunately, if you or a loved one has been charged with DUI, there is hope. That's especially true if the accused has undergone a breath or blood test for DUI. In fact, cases that involve such tests are successfully beaten every day. At Theos Law Firm, we will thoroughly investigate your DUI case in Columbia and explore every possible angle to have it dismissed.

To begin that process, your criminal defense lawyer in Columbia, SC, may seek answers to many questions, including:

  • Was your DUI stop legal? If not, your case could be thrown out.
  • Is there enough probable cause or evidence for an arrest? If there is not, it's possible to file a pre-trial motion for your case to be dismissed.
  • Did officers explain implied consent rights? One of the most common errors police make is failing to take this step.
  • Did the police maintain your BAC and breathalyzer results? Breath testing often comes with inherent weaknesses. This can create doubt in a juror's mind.
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Criminal Defense for Drug Cases in South Carolina

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If you are dealing with drug-related crimes in Columbia or another city in South Carolina, it is crucial for you to understand the potential penalties involved. Possession of a controlled substance may fall under the category of a misdemeanor, but many drug offenses are considered felonies. Even a minor drug offense conviction can result in long-lasting negative consequences. As such, it's always advisable to explore your options and seek the assistance of a Columbia drug crime attorney. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help safeguard your rights and may help achieve a favorable outcome.

One of the most frequent questions we hear at Theos Law is, "What does possession mean?"

Drug charges based on possession in South Carolina are divided into three categories:

  • Simple Possession
  • Possession with Intent to Distribute
  • Drug Trafficking

However, the state also has other drug charges that are not based on the weight of the drugs. These include:

  • Drug Distribution
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution Near Schools, Parks, or Playgrounds
Criminal Defense Lawyer Columbia, SC

Possession-based drug charges in South Carolina are deemed "graduated offenses" with penalties that grow more severe based on the weight of the drugs. It's important to note that the charges can be based on either actual or constructive possession. Contact a criminal defense lawyer in Columbia, SC, today to learn more about the complexities involved with drug cases in Columbia and other cities in South Carolina.

Some of the most common drug charges we see at Theos Law include the following:

  • Marijuana
  • Heroin
  • Ecstasy
  • LSD and Hallucinogens
  • Cocaine
  • Meth
  • Prescription Pain Killers
  • Fentanyl
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Can I be Arrested for Drug Paraphernalia in South Carolina?

The simple answer to this question is a resounding "Yes." Drug paraphernalia can refer to various items such as pipes, bongs, syringes, scales, grinders, and rolling papers which are linked to drug usage, preparation, storage, or hiding. Even though some of these items may have legitimate uses, like tobacco pipes or medical syringes, they can still be scrutinized by law enforcement if there is proof of illegal drug use or intent.

Criminal Defense for Assault and Battery Cases in South Carolina

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If you are facing assault and battery charges, it is possible that you haven't actually physically harmed someone. Many people associate assault and battery with brutal beatings, but that is just one example. There are other situations that are less severe than what people typically imagine.

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It's a common misunderstanding that physical injury is required for assault and battery charges. The fines, penalties, and jail time you may face depend on the severity of your charges and the number of offenses. Regardless of the degree of your charges, Assault and Battery is a serious offense that should not be taken lightly. The consequences of a conviction can be life-changing, and as such, your criminal defense lawyer in Columbia, SC, should work relentlessly to fight the charges being levied against you.

Though this list isn't comprehensive, here are some of the biggest factors that dictate the severity of your assault and battery charges:

  • Age of Victim
  • Severity of Injuries Sustained
  • Size and Weight of Accused vs. Size and Weight of Victim
  • Whether or Not the Victim Presses Charges
  • Whether or Not Weapons Were Involved
  • Whether or Not the Victim's Privates Were Touched

Understanding the Degrees of Assault and Battery in South Carolina

Third Degree

Causing harm to someone or threatening to do so with the ability to carry out the threat can result in a charge of third-degree assault and battery. This misdemeanor offense is typically heard in municipal or magistrate courts and may carry a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail.

Second Degree

Causing harm or making threats to harm someone that results in moderate bodily injury can lead to charges of second-degree assault and battery. Additionally, touching someone's private parts without their consent can also result in charges of assault and battery in the second degree. This misdemeanor offense is heard in General Session court and can carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

First Degree

Assault and Battery in the first degree can involve a number of actions such as inflicting an unlawful injury when kidnapping, touching a person's privates "with lewd and lascivious intent," and much more. Contact Theos Law Firm for more info on the degrees of Assault and Battery in South Carolina.

Everyone Deserves a Reliable Criminal Defense Attorney in Columbia, SC

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At Theos Law firm, we work tirelessly to ensure that our client's rights are not overlooked. Because unfortunately, the rights of everyday citizens are often trampled by law enforcement oversights and legal system failures.

That's why every criminal defense lawyer at our firm works hard to provide guidance and support throughout the legal process by keeping you informed of updates and as comfortable as possible during this trying time. Benefits of hiring Theos Law Firm include:

  • Thorough Knowledge of South Carolina Criminal Law & Procedures
  • Seasoned Legal Representation in the Courtroom
  • Years of Experience Structuring Plea bargains
  • Ability to Identify Due Process Violations
  • Fierce Dedication to Clients & Vigorous Representation
  • Skilled Negotiation Tactics Involved with Bail, Sentencing, Appeals, and More
  • Familiarity with Local Prosecutors

Unlike some criminal defense law firms in South Carolina, our team believes that everyone deserves a great lawyer when their freedoms are on the line. If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime in South Carolina, trust Theos Law to have your back without judgment.

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Latest News in Columbia, SC

USC to offer course on Taylor Swift. Are you ready for it?

COLUMBIA — The University of South Carolina is entering its Taylor Swift era.The School of Sport and Entertainment Management will offer the course “Life is Just a Classroom: Taylor’s Version” beginning with the Spring 2024 semester, according to Kate Blanton, the professor teaching the course.The class will focus on Swift’s business acumen and her “agency as a woman” in the music industry. Blanton ...

COLUMBIA — The University of South Carolina is entering its Taylor Swift era.

The School of Sport and Entertainment Management will offer the course “Life is Just a Classroom: Taylor’s Version” beginning with the Spring 2024 semester, according to Kate Blanton, the professor teaching the course.

The class will focus on Swift’s business acumen and her “agency as a woman” in the music industry. Blanton and her students will dig into Swift’s storied career, including the re-recording of her songs in order to own her music catalog, branding, social media, tour management and merchandising. And, of course, the class will take some time to study the Swifties, the singer/songwriter’s legion of passionate fans. The students will also plan and host a Swift-themed event at the end of the class.

“She’s changing the way that the music industry works and that’s something I think deserves study,” Blanton told Free Times.

Blanton said the 40-seat class was already full, but has still been receiving emails from students asking to join the upper-level course.

The class is for juniors and seniors only, Blanton said, and is aimed at allowing students to combine all the coursework they’ve had thus far through the “lens of this one particular artist.”

“I really want to serve as a class where we look at all aspects of the consumer experience,” Blanton said. “And there’s gonna be students from the retailing department and hospitality, so we’re going to look at how (Swift’s) concerts impact tourism, and the merchandising aspect.”

The course is offered under Sport and Entertainment Management, but Blanton said much of the program’s electives are sports-focused. “It’s an opportunity for (entertainment) students to use the skills that we’ve learned,” she added.

The course syllabus includes lessons like, “My name is Taylor, and I was Born in 1989,” “Oh my God, she’s insane, she wrote a song about me” and “Sweet like justice, karma is a queen.”

USC joins several universities across the country in offering courses on Taylor Swift, including Harvard University and the University of Florida.

The influx of academic attention on Swift comes on amidst her Eras Tour, a greatest hits tour that’s set to gross a $1 billion and received such rabid attention that the launch of ticket sales crashed Ticketmaster’s website and prompted a federal investigation into the third-party ticket company.

Blanton, a self-proclaimed Swifite hater until about eight months ago, attended the Eras Tour last spring and was converted.

“Being part of this community of inclusiveness and promotion of just women solidarity, it’s just a really cool experience,” Blanton said of her Eras Tour visit.

Swift is one of — if not the — world’s most successful working recording artists with 10 albums, four of which she’s re-recorded to obtain ownership of her masters after they were sold by her former label, Big Machine Records, to manager Scooter Braun.

The move to own her creative works isn’t the first time Swift’s team asserted its business acumen. Since 2007, Swift has copyrighted key phrases popularized through her music and merchandising, owning more than 200 copyrights, according to intellectual property law firm, Michael E. Kondoudis.

Swift’s concerts are quite the spectacle, too. The Eras Tour saw a three-plus hourlong set, where Swift performs tracks from all 10 of her records through a blaze of lights, dancers and stage design. The tour’s massive success culminated in October with a theatrical release of the Era’s Tour concert film, which grossed more than $100 million.

Blanton’s course will lean on Swift’s domination of social media, and students will create their own accounts to learn firsthand how fans, businesses and consumers interact with the singer’s brand.

Live Music Venues in the Midlands

Hear that? It’s the scintillating sound of Columbia’s live music venues beckoning you to a performance you’ll never forget.The concert scene is truly unmatched in our area — from intimate jazz lounges to grand amphitheaters, there’s a stage for any type of tune. To get to know them all, you must do three things: Put your hands in the air, wave ‘em like you just don’t care, then lay your eyes (and ears) on our guide....

Hear that? It’s the scintillating sound of Columbia’s live music venues beckoning you to a performance you’ll never forget.

The concert scene is truly unmatched in our area — from intimate jazz lounges to grand amphitheaters, there’s a stage for any type of tune. To get to know them all, you must do three things: Put your hands in the air, wave ‘em like you just don’t care, then lay your eyes (and ears) on our guide.

Colonial Life Arena | 801 Lincoln St., Columbia

Harbison Theatre | 7300 College St., Irmo

Koger Center for the Arts | 1051 Greene St., Columbia

New Brookland Tavern | 122 State St., West Columbia

The Senate | 1022 Senate St., Columbia

Skyline Club | 100 Lee St., West Columbia

The Venue | 1626 Main St., Columbia

Township Auditorium | 1703 Taylor St., Columbia

USC School of Music | 813 Assembly St., Columbia

Ice House Amphitheater | 107 W. Main St., Lexington

Market on Main | 1320 Main St. #150, Columbia

Palmetto Citizens Amphitheater | Center of Doko Meadows Park, Blythewood

Savage Craft Ale Works | 430 Center St., West Columbia, SC

Steel Hands Brewing | 2350 Foreman St., Cayce

The Aristocrat | 1001 Washington St., Columbia

Chayz Lounge | 607 Meeting St., West Columbia

The Joint at 1710 | 1710 Main St., Columbia

Art Bar | 1211 Park St., Columbia

Breakers Live | 801 Harden St., Columbia

Bill’s Music Shop & Pickin’ Parlor | 710 Meeting St., West Columbia, SC 29169

2024 Presidential Primaries Rapidly Approaching

COLUMBIA, S.C. (December 20, 2023) – As South Carolina gears up for the 2024 Presidential Primaries, the State Election Commission wants to remind everyone of important upcoming dates and deadlines on the horizon. With just a few weeks before voting begins, voters are urged to mark their calendars and educate themselves on the candidates and issues so they can be ready to have their voices ...

COLUMBIA, S.C. (December 20, 2023) – As South Carolina gears up for the 2024 Presidential Primaries, the State Election Commission wants to remind everyone of important upcoming dates and deadlines on the horizon. With just a few weeks before voting begins, voters are urged to mark their calendars and educate themselves on the candidates and issues so they can be ready to have their voices heard.

You can vote in either Presidential Primary, but you can only vote in one:

How can I register to vote?

Already Registered? Update your voter registration information.

Haven’t checked your registration in a while? Check it now to make sure it’s up to date to ensure a smoother voting experience.

There are three ways to cast your ballot.

Vote Early

You don’t have to wait until election day to vote, you can vote at any early voting center in your county during the early voting period. Simply bring your Photo ID and vote just like you would at your polling place on election day.

Vote Absentee

Consider voting absentee if you are unable to vote in person. Qualified voters can vote absentee by mail. Get your absentee application at scVOTES.gov or contact your county voter registration office. To learn more about absentee voting go to scVOTES.gov or download the Absentee Go-To-Guide.

Vote on Election Day

Bring your Photo ID to your polling place in your precinct. Your precinct and polling place are also listed on your voter registration card, however, your polling place may have changed since the card was issued. Always check your polling place at scVOTES.gov before leaving to vote.

Download our Voter/Absentee Go-To Guides to help you Prep for the Polls. To find results and more information on voter registration and elections visit scVOTES.gov. Keep up with us on Facebook, Instagram andX/Twitter.

How did Columbia become the state capital? WIS Explains

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Historians say virtually none of modern day Columbia would be what it is without the giant stone building in the middle of it all — the state house.So, why Columbia? Why did early settlers choose this stretch of land?“There was a lot of work to get to where we’re currently sitting,” State House Tour Office and Gift Shop Manager Becca Rhinehart said.Centuries of work, really.Columbia as we know it today is full of life with bustling businesses, higher education and the...

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Historians say virtually none of modern day Columbia would be what it is without the giant stone building in the middle of it all — the state house.

So, why Columbia? Why did early settlers choose this stretch of land?

“There was a lot of work to get to where we’re currently sitting,” State House Tour Office and Gift Shop Manager Becca Rhinehart said.

Centuries of work, really.

Columbia as we know it today is full of life with bustling businesses, higher education and the meeting ground for all things “South Carolina politics.”

It was all the result of a very tedious plan.

“Columbia is the nation’s very first planned state capitol,” Rhinehart explained. “So, from its origins to the execution of the planning, this was the first of its kind in America.”

Planned, meaning nearly every decision about the new city’s layout revolved around the state house.

Columbia was comprised of roughly 40 streets with each one named with purpose.

“Columbia was outlined as a two mile square. we have our wonderful city blocks, we can still navigate today, and the state house was in the center of it,” Rhinehart said. “We’ve kept the bulk of our street names since the origins, our north-south streets were named after people and the east-west were named after imports. So, there would have been things like blossom lumber, that sort of thing.”

Whaley Street was originally named “Indigo” Street after South Carolina’s second most important export crop in the eighteenth century.

Other examples are Laurel Street, named after laurel plants, and Blossom Street named after cotton blossoms.

Today, you’ll notice Washington Street is adjacent to Lady Street.

Washington Street was named after future president George Washington and Lady Street, after First Lady Martha Washington.

“They had planned for growth of their brand new capital,” Rhinehart said.

Yes, she said brand new capital — meaning Columbia wasn’t the original. So how did we get here?

We have to go back to the colonial times before S.C. was even an official state.

“Really, you would want to go back to the 1660s,” Historian, S.C. Department of Archives and History Dr. Edwin Breeden said.

In 1660, after years of civil war in England, Charles III re-claimed the thrown.

In exchange for their loyalty, the new king gifted a plot of land to eight noble men known as “the Lords proprietors.”

They called the land “Carolina” — a word taken from the Latin word “Charles or Carolus” — honoring King Charles.

To profit off their new land, the men created a government.

“The city of Charleston, or as it was originally known, Charles Town, was founded. and when it was established, it was the capital of a new English colony called Carolina,” Breeden said.

Charleston was the first settlement in the colony of Carolina and the first capitol up until the late 1700s.

Tt was here that Carolinians would take care of administrative duties — such as filing property deeds or making laws — but it wasn’t perfect.

“With the colony encompassing that large of an area. distance was one of the biggest challenges,” Breeden said.

“Charleston was far away from pretty much everyone else in the state,” Rhinehart said. “So, from Greenville to Charleston in the 1700s was quite a long haul by horse.”

It would have taken a week to travel that far by horse and over double that for settlers traveling from what is now North Carolina.

Roughly 150,000 square miles of land governed by just one city.

“There was a recognition really, from very early in the in the colonies history that this was a very large area to manage,” Breeden said.

The decision was made in 1712 to split the swath of land into separate parts: N.C. and S.C.

Now the government in Charleston belonged to only S.C.

After years of protests, the capital was still not in the ideal place for everyone to have equal access.

Therefore, the general assembly sought out a centralized location.

“Some people called Columbia nothing more than a pine forest,” Rhinehart said.

In the early 1700s, historians say Columbia was considered the rural frontier — home to only a few plantations and trading posts — but it quickly became more than that.

“Columbia in the center of the state was chosen with this location, lot due to the river systems here,” Rhinehart said. So, to our west, we have the Congaree River that is made from the Saluda and Broad, and at that time, and the 1700s, that’s as far inland as the boats could go. So, coming from the coast, inland Columbia was the natural drop off point, because the rapids grew too strong, and the rivers are shallow. So, this was a really great point for trade and a central location.”

Columbia had not been officially established by this point. In 1786, the S.C. General Assembly voted to legislate the city into existence.

The empty land was sold to farmers and businesses.

“They took their drawings and plans of the city to charleston, and they would have been near the old exchange building, taking notes and trying to get people to move to Columbia,” Rhinehart said.

After years of recruiting and fundraising, the move from Charleston was officially underway.

The money cooped from selling plots of land was used to build the new state house.

It took three years to complete the new wood capital from 1786 to 1789, but during construction tragedy struck back in Charleston.

“The original state house in Charleston actually had a fire,” Rhinehart said. “Their senate chamber had a fireplace, it got a little out of control, and there goes the whole most of that building. They did rebuild, but they were already on their way to making that new capital in Columbia.”

For nearly a century, the young city thrived building its name as the “new” capital of S.C.

However, in 1865, Union General William T. Sherman and his 60-thousand troops stormed Columbia.

At the time, the fire-proof building, soon to be S.C.’s third state house, was under construction and consisted of basically four stone walls.

Sherman ordered his troops to shell the structure in hopes of destroying it.

“They were across the Congaree River and aiming for the side of our building,” Rhinehart said. “We would have been the tallest thing on the landscape, which made it a really great target.

Next to it, however, was the wooden capital.

On the night of Feb. 16, 1865, it was reduced to ash by Sherman and S.C. was once again left without a functioning state house.

“Through 52 years, we had six different architects, different stages, walls, roof ceiling interior, and by 1907, we have a finished state house,” Rhinehart said.

The colossal structure is comprised of fire-proof materials like bricks made from mud of the Congaree River and the state stone, blue granite, produced in a quarry just four miles from the state house.

In 1990, more than 100 seismic isolators were installed under the building making it earthquake resistant.

“They never could have imagined tour buses and so much rocks, but the city has grown well with us,” Rhinehart said.

A virtually indestructible building resembling the resilience of the Palmetto State and all part of the plan.

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Lockers, once icons of American school life, disappearing from some new SC campuses

COLUMBIA — Many thousands of students who studied in the now-demolished Wando High School buildings in Mount Pleasant spent part of their days walking from class to class, past banks of lockers in their school’s hallways.But the image of lockers in American school life — of teenagers letting gym clothes rot in them, gossiping and perhaps getting shoved into t...

COLUMBIA — Many thousands of students who studied in the now-demolished Wando High School buildings in Mount Pleasant spent part of their days walking from class to class, past banks of lockers in their school’s hallways.

But the image of lockers in American school life — of teenagers letting gym clothes rot in them, gossiping and perhaps getting shoved into them — is slowly disappearing. The students who now attend Lucy Beckham High, opened on the old Wando’s grounds in 2020, don’t have that space to store their books or meet up with friends between periods.

That design choice is part of what school architects say is a trend: district officials prefer to leave banks of hallway lockers out of newly built campuses.

“Maybe 20 years ago, the expectation was that you would put lockers in every single school that you designed,” said Ben Thompson, K-12 studio director at McMillan Pazdan Smith, the South Carolina architecture firm that designed Lucy Beckham and other schools. “Now, it’s rare that you include them in buildings.”

Columbia Education

New campuses for Spartanburg High and Berkeley County’s Philip Simmons High, both recently designed by McMillan Pazdan Smith, also don’t have the traditional banks of hallway lockers. Nor will a new wing of Irmo High outside of Columbia, designed by architecture firm LS3P and almost ready for construction.

The shift is a function of students’ shrinking demand for lockers, as well as the school administrators Thompson works with who often no longer see the point of installing the metal boxes.

He doesn’t remember designing a school within the past five years that has the traditional setup of lockers lining the hallways, though they’re still needed for student-athletes or certain after-school activities.

“The numbers are just so low from the request of students to use (lockers) that it kind of makes you ask the question every single time you go through the design process,” he said. “Do you need the lockers, are they worthwhile to your program, should we include them in the design?”

That shift comes from a shrinking need to carry around as many bulky textbooks as districts move to digital resources and assigning computers or tablets to students, according to Mary Beth Sims Branham, LS3P’s Columbia office leader. Her firm has started installing furniture with hooks for backpacks that students are carrying around instead of stowing in lockers.

A less textbook-focused curriculum was adopted by the Lexington-Richland Five school district, which stopped issuing high school students lockers in 2013 due to the usage of tablets and laptops. The Chapin- and Irmo-area system has stopped installing lockers in non-athletic areas of new school buildings and is removing unused lockers from older campuses, according to a district statement.

“Overall, this reduces construction and maintenance costs and allows the District to more efficiently utilize the building space,” the statement read.

Columbia Education

But the demise of the once-iconic storage spaces prompts questions about student life beyond textbooks.

Lockers served a role in students’ social lives, Kipton D. Smilie, professor of education at Missouri Western State University, stated in an October article. Their absence could mean fewer shared social spaces for kids growing up in an increasingly polarized world.

“This is a social space that’s disappearing, in terms of having to negotiate with people that you don’t know or negotiate with people who maybe you’re uncomfortable with or don’t normally hang out with,” the scholar said. “That locker placement kind of forces those interactions, and now without that, now you can kind of go more to your bubble than maybe in the past.”

Since they were in areas generally less supervised than classrooms or cafeterias, lockers could be a freer space for kids to develop social skills and interact — either for better, by making friends and flirting, or for worse, by bullying. Without that space, Smilie said, today’s students may now just turn to their phones and social media for that interaction, keeping them in their social bubble.

“We may not think much about school lockers beyond their function as containers of students’ books, clothing, and other possessions, but they also serve as containers of a shared social space that is currently disappearing,” he wrote.

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