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Parker Annex Archaeology Center

State-of-the-art archaeology lab, curation facility, and offices.


Parker Annex Archaeology Center

2025 Barnwell Street

Columbia, SC 29201

Columbia Regional Business Report article about the establishment of Parker Annex Archaeology Center.

History of Parker Annex Building and Renovations

Parker-Annex building Slideshow of Parker Annex renovations

Prior to the construction of the Parker Annex in 1910, the southeast corner of the SC State Hospital property served as a prisoner of war camp for Union military officers from 14 December 1864 – 14 February 1865 (Camp Asylum). In 2014, a team of archaeologists from the University of South Carolina conducted excavations on the property. These excavations revealed nine pits, referred to as “shebangs” by archaeologists. The shebangs were barely large enough for one man to curl into while wrapping himself in a blanket. They served as the only places on the property were POW Union officers could escape the harsh winter months. It is believed that there would have been hundreds of these pits across the property, as well as privies and other features created during the property’s history as a POW camp that could reveal more about the people who lived here and this era of time.

The Parker Annex was constructed in 1910 to relieve overcrowding of African-American male patients housed in the Parker Building (constructed 1898, demolished 1981). The building was named after John Waring Parker, M.D. Dr. Parker became the first superintendent of the Lunatic Asylum when he was appointed to the role from 1836 to 1869. Before this promotion, he was the head physician. He was recalled as an assistant physician in 1876, a position he held until 1882.

By 1926, African-American patients were moved to new buildings on the State Park Campus located outside of the city of Columbia. The Parker Annex was then used to house Caucasian male patients with tuberculosis. By 1975, the Parker Annex was the site of the Step-Up program. This program helped long-term patients with personal hygiene and social skills so that they might be placed in outside facilities. Younger male patients were included in the program in 1978. After 1978, the use of the Parker Annex is unknown, and it is assumed that the building was abandoned.

In 2013, the entire BullStreet development, including the Parker Annex, was purchased by Hughes Development Corporation. In 2014, the Parker Annex was purchased and restored by Diversified Development, Inc. In 2017, the Parker Annex was leased by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources for its Cultural Heritage Trust Program and was renamed the Parker Annex Archaeology Center to highlight the property’s cultural history and future use.