Richland County SC Cultural Resources Inventory Listing
A.P. Williams Funeral Home
1808 Washington St. Columbia SC 29201
Historic District: Elmwood Park Historic District

Description: A. P. Williams Funeral Home was originally a residence owned by Bessie Williams Pinckney. It was converted to a funeral home in 1936 by her son, Archie Preston Williams, II, to serve the needs of Columbia's black community during the days of segregation.

Historic Information
Year Built: 1893, 1936 Acres:
# Buildings: 1
Architect: Unknown
Historic Register: Yes Year: 2005 NR#: 05001102
National Historic Landmark: No

Local Historic Designation:

Year Designated:

Period of Significance: 1936-1955
Cultural or Historic Significance: African-American Influence
Historical Topics: Social History, African American, Black-owned business, NAACP, Funeral Home, Business, Archie Preston Williams, Government, Mortuary
The A.P. Williams Funeral Home is significant for its association with the system of segregation in Columbia from 1936 to 1955, representing the creation of an alternative space by a black entrepreneur in order to serve the city’s black community.

The home was built between 1893 and 1911 as a single-family residence. In 1936, Bessie Williams Pinckney and her son Archie Preston Williams, II converted part of the building to a funeral home with a residence on the second floor where they lived. At this time the white-owned funeral homes in Columbia served white customers only, and the black community needed its own funeral homes.

In 1936, there were four funeral homes in Columbia that served white customers and six that served black customers. Archie Preston Williams, II was also a leader in the city’s black community who ran for election to both the Columbia City Council and the state legislature in the 1950s. He was also an officer in the Columbia Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for twenty-two years. Williams was instrumental in convincing Columbia to hire its first two African American police officers and to provide equal pay for African American city employees.

The home is a two-story frame building featuring a hipped roof with lower cross gables and a columned porch running across the east half of the façade.

Listed in the National Register September 28, 2005.
Thematic Resource: Resources Associated with Segregation in Columbia, S.C. 1880-1960
Primary Historic Use / Function: : Domestic
Secondary Historic Use / Function: Single Dwelling, Mortuary
Present Uses / Functions: Commercial Occupancy: Occupied
Contact Organization:
Space Available: No Commercial Office Residential
Source: National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form, S.C. Department of Archives and History (digital images)
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Richland County SC Cultural Resources Inventory
Richland County Conservation Commission

Columbia, South Carolina