Historic Columbia Hosts Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Event

Witness the once-in-a-lifetime Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 on the grounds of the Robert Mills House & Gardens at Historic Eclipse in the Gardens

COLUMBIA, S.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017 – Be part of history and witness the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017 with Historic Columbia at Historic Eclipse in the Gardens on Monday, Aug. 21. Experience this once-in-a-lifetime event on the expansive grounds of the Robert Mills House & Gardens, located in the heart of downtown Columbia, S.C. At 2:41 p.m., guests will see the much-anticipated total solar eclipse for 2 minutes and 36 seconds of darkness, which is the longest 100% total eclipse for a metro area on the East Coast of the United States.

Historic Eclipse in the Gardens will feature an expansive outdoor area for eclipse viewing, live music and children’s entertainment from Pears 4 Bears, hands-on kid’s activities, tours of the historic Robert Mills House and much more. Misting stations will be available for guests to stay cool in the summer heat. Eclipse viewing glasses will be available at no charge for event guests. Food and drinks will also be available for purchase. Guests are encouraged to bring their own blanket and/or chair, sit back and experience this celestial spectacle of a lifetime.

This event will take place from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on the grounds of the Robert Mills House & Gardens, located at 1616 Blanding Street. Tickets are $5 for children (12 and under) and $10 for adults. Visit historiccolumbia.org, email reservations@historiccolumbia.org or call (803) 252-1770x 23 to purchase tickets.

“Whether you've lived in Columbia your entire life or you're visiting from halfway around the globe, we hope you’ll join us to celebrate this historic occasion,” said Robin Waites, Historic Columbia’s executive director. “Historic Eclipse in the Gardens is a safe and fun way to experience history in the making. Plus, we will be hosting guided tours throughout the weekend to allow out-of-town visitors and guests to get to know our great capital city.”

In addition to Historic Eclipse in the Gardens, Historic Columbia has also planned a variety of other exciting events and tours throughout the weekend.

Historic Water Balloon Battle

Friday, Aug. 18 | 5:30 – 7 p.m. | Robert Mills House & Gardens

Looking for ways to cool down during the Total Eclipse Weekend? Join Historic Columbia for their third annual Historic Water Balloon Battlefrom 5:30 – 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18. Using water balloons, guests will break into teams to learn about military tactics through history and battle on the grounds of the Robert Mills House & Gardens. After the water battle, relax with drinks and light appetizers on the grounds of the historic site. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for non-members. Attendees must be 21 years of age or older. Visit historiccolumbia.org, email reservations@historiccolumbia.org or call (803) 252-1770 x 23 to purchase tickets.

Main Street Walking Tour

Saturday, Aug. 19 and Sunday, Aug 20 | 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. | Tour begins in front of the State Capital

Get to know South Carolina’s capital city during the Total Eclipse Weekend and take a guided walking tour of Columbia’s Main Street with Historic Columbia. Offering more than 150 years of architectural trends, Columbia's Main Street is a physical legacy of its citizens' aspiration and accomplishments. See the city's oldest "skyscraper," an IBM-punch-card-inspired office building and the State Capitol. Walk through Columbia's first indoor shopping mall and learn how an old department store became an art museum. Allow approximately 60 minutes for this tour. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for youth. To purchase tickets, visit historiccolumbia.org, email reservations@historiccolumbia.org or call (803) 252-1770 x 23.

Main Street Tour dates and times:

Congaree Vista Walking Tour

Saturday, Aug. 19 and Sunday, Aug 20 | 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. | Tour begins in front of the State Capital

Get to know South Carolina’s capital city during the Total Eclipse Weekend and take a guided walking tour of Columbia’s Congaree Vista with Historic Columbia. Historically a residential, light industrial, mercantile and transportation district, the Congaree Vista comprises almost 800 acres. Bounded by the Congaree River to the west and Assembly Street to the east, this portion of South Carolina’s downtown features a mixture of historically significant buildings with architecturally sympathetic re-development and infill projects. The product of considerable capital investment beginning in the 1970’s, the Vista today features loft, apartment and townhouse residences, restaurants, bars, specialty shops and offices. Officially referred to as the West Gervais Street Historic District, the Congaree Vista is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is protected as an architectural conservation district by the City of Columbia. Allow approximately 60 minutes for this tour. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for youth. To purchase tickets, visit historiccolumbia.org, email reservations@historiccolumbia.org or call (803) 252-1770 x 23.

Congaree Vista Tour dates and times:

Historic House Museum Tours

Tuesday – Sunday | 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sunday: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. | All tours begin at the Gift Shop at Robert Mills
Get to know South Carolina’s capital city during the Total Eclipse Weekend and take a guided tour of one of Columbia’s historic homes. Each house provides a unique experience and offers a variety of interactive activities for visitors. Tour the Robert Mills House & Gardens, Hampton-Preston Mansion & Gardens, Mann-Simons Site or the Woodrow Wilson Family Home. Guided tours are offered Tuesday – Saturday between 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sunday from 1 – 5 p.m. Tours are free for members, $8 for adults, $5 youth (ages 6-17) and free for children under 5.Purchase tickets in the Gift Shop at Robert Mills located at 1616 Blanding Street. Visit historiccolumbia.org for more information.

Historic Columbia is happy to arrange a private guided tour for groups of 10 or more with advance registration. Bus tours are available. To schedule a group tour, call (803) 252-1770 x 23 or email reservations@historiccolumbia.org.

About Historic Columbia

In November 1961, a small group of individuals intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation. Over the next five decades the organization, which was founded on the premise of preservation and education, would take on the stewardship of seven historic properties in Richland County. Today, the organization serves as a model for local preservation efforts and interpretation of local history. Visit historiccolumbia.org or find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube for more details.

About Total Eclipse Weekend Columbia, S.C.

At 2:41 p.m. on Monday, August 21, 2017, viewers in the greater Columbia, S.C., area will experience the longest total solar eclipse on the East Coast, with 2 minutes and 36 seconds of darkness in the middle of the afternoon. NASA estimates that South Carolina could see an influx of up to 1 million visitors to witness the first total solar eclipse to make a path all the way across the continental U.S. in 99 years. From Aug. 18 to 21, 2017, visitors and residents in the greater Columbia, S.C., region will enjoy long weekend of eclipse-related activities hosted by area attractions, arts and culture organizations, restaurants, hotels, retailers, community groups and more leading up to and during the eclipse. The Total Eclipse Weekend Columbia, S.C., initiative is spearheaded by a coalition of regional entities whose mission is to create an incredible, weekend-long experience for those witnessing the eclipse in the region. Plan your Total Eclipse Weekend at http://www.totaleclipsecolumbiasc.com.