Discovering the District: A Look at the History of Downtown Columbia

In 1928, women wearing bright dresses, silk stockings in every color of the rainbow, and bobbed hair could be seen strolling down 8th street next to men wearing Panamas hats and buttoned waistcoats.  They were well on their way to an elite party celebrating the opening day of the newly erected Tiger Hotel.  This was the hotel that people had never before even dreamed about.  This nine-story building was proof that Columbia was soon to become an “up-to-date little city,” lauded businessmen.  James Garth, a hotel resident in 1977, was among the partygoers.  This was “quite the party,” he announced, and recalled that bootleg whiskey abounded because Prohibition laws had just started up.   And he was among the spectators when a car pulled up right to the steps—this was Mr. Sweet, the head of the chain that managed the Tiger Hotel.   The crowd swarmed to gather around Mr. Sweet and cheered for this monumental moment in Columbia history.

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