Saturday, May 15, 2021

In Memory of Dick and Fan

By Paul Armstrong

From 1926 until 1983, a fountain stood on the median of Assembly Street at Taylor Street.  Having seen this fountain many times during my high school and college years, I’ve often wondered about the story behind it and what happened to it.  So, I decided to research it and below is what I’ve discovered. (There was also an older animal fountain at Assembly and Lady Streets which you can read about at this link: Itinerant Landmark.)

The Porcher Fountain on Assembly Street in 1956
Photo Courtesy of Richland County Library's State Newspaper Photograph Archive

In 1925, a 14-year-old dog named Dick died at his home on Edisto Avenue in Columbia.  He was a Gordon Setter and was the beloved pet of Artemis ‘Artie’ and Loretta Porcher (pronounced ‘Por-shay’).  Dick was apparently so named because he was a gift from the late Richard ‘Dick’ Reynolds for whom Artie worked as division sales manager for the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Loretta was so bereaved by the dog’s death that she wanted to erect a monument in his memory. So, in January of 1926, she presented a request to the Columbia City Council to erect an ornate fountain at the intersection of Assembly and Taylor Streets in memory of her late pet.

City Council approved the request and selected the spot on the median of Assembly on the south side of its intersection with Taylor Street.  Later in 1926, Ms. Porcher had the fountain built and installed on the chosen site. It was designed by Columbia architect, J. Carroll Johnson, and built by Joseph Niggel’s Columbia Stone Co. It was constructed of Georgia granite and was six-feet high and four-feet wide.  A semi-circular trough held water at horse height on one side, and a dog trough was on the other side at ground level. A bronze tablet was affixed above the horse trough that was inscribed with the words, “Dick 1911-1925 He loved and was loved.”

The Porcher Fountain in 1976
Photo Courtesy of Richland County Library's State Newspaper Photograph Archive

In 1928, the Porchers lost another dog to death, a female named Fan. They had another bronze plaque made and attached to the opposite side of the fountain above the dog trough.  The inscription on this plaque said, “Fan 1914-1928 Faithful to Those She Loved.” 

Rear of the Porcher Fountain Showing Dog Trough, 1962
Photo Courtesy of Richland County Library's State Newspaper Photograph Archive

The Porcher Fountain’s location near the north end of the Assembly Street Market was close to the corner where draymen, with their horses and wagons, often awaited customers who needed their larger purchases delivered. So, it not only served horses bringing products to the market, but also slaked the thirst of animals pulling heavy merchandise loads like firewood, lumber, etc. to homes around the area. The proliferation of automobiles and trucks, along with the closing of the Assembly Street Market in 1951, severely reduced the demand for animal watering on Assembly Street. The fountain fell into disuse and the water supply was eventually disconnected. It became a non-functioning landmark passed daily by many motorists. Finally, city officials decided to relocate the fountain away from the heavily trafficked intersection of Assembly and Taylor Streets. 

Porcher Fountain at Arsenal Hill Park, 1983
Photo Courtesy of Richland Library's Russell Maxey Photograph Collection

The fountain was moved in 1983 to Arsenal Hill Park which was a quiet little park that commanded a great view of Columbia’s skyline but also overlooked the old eyesore known as Seaboard Industrial Park.  In the late 1980s, the city converted Seaboard Park into a renewed Sidney Park which opened in 1990 and was renamed Finlay Park in 1993. With the much larger, attractive park just across the street, the city no longer felt the need to maintain Arsenal Hill Park. The one-third of an acre park property around the community center building was sold to developers who built an office building and parking garage.  The main part of the Porcher fountain was moved to storage.  The dog trough, however, made its way to the Riverfront Park.

Dog Trough at Riverfront Park
Photo Courtesy of Hardy Childers


  • “A. D. Porcher, 63, Dies.” The Columbia Record, September 22, 1941, page 14.
  • “City acts to rezone land for garage.” The State, May 20, 1993, page 2B.
  • “Council Inspects Site for Fountain.” The State, January 13, 1926, page 12.
  • “Council Selects Site for Memorial Fountain to be Erected to Dog.” The Columbia Record, January 18, 1926, page 3.
  • “Daybook.” The Columbia Record, September 20, 1955, page 8-A.
  • “Developers take garage proposal to city officials.” The State, April 7, 1993, page 3B.
  • “Downtown land sale criticized.” The State, July 22, 1993, page 2B.
  • “Erect Fountain to Dead Canine.” The Columbia Record, January 9, 1926, page 1.
  • “The Live Wire.” The Columbia Record, March 3, 1967, page 1-A.
  • “Live Wire.” The Columbia Record, May 25, 1976, page 2-A.
  • “Live Wire.” The Columbia Record, May 28, 1982, page 2-A.
  • McDonald, Bill. “Fountain Facts.” The State, June 4, 1987, page 1-B.
  • McDonald, Bill. “Two Fountains.” The State, April 30, 1987, page 1-B.
  • “Mrs. Porcher’s Funeral Planned This Afternoon.” The Columbia Record, May 18, 1949, page 9-B.
  • Talbert, Bob. “The Memorial Fountain.” The State, July 13, 1966, page 1-B.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Itinerant Landmark

by Paul Armstrong

For over 40 years an ornate drinking fountain for horses and dogs stood at the intersection of Assembly and Lady Streets. After hearing a lot of questions and varied stories about the history of this fountain, I decided to search the archives to see what I could find. It turns out this iconic piece of Columbia lore was moved around quite a bit over the decades. Below is the story of what I found while researching the National Humane Alliance Fountain. (There was a second animal fountain on Assembly Street that you can read about at this link: In Memory of Dick and Fan.)

The National Humane Alliance Fountain at Earlewood Park
Photo by Author, May 8, 2021

The National Humane Alliance was founded in 1897 by Herman Lee Ensign, a successful New York advertising executive, to promote the compassionate treatment of animals. At his death in 1899, Ensign left a sizable endowment to be used by the Alliance to provide fresh drinking water for horses and other animals by donating fountains to cities across the United States.  Under the direction of Ensign’s lifelong friend, Lewis M. Seaver, the National Humane Alliance donated fountains to over 120 communities beginning with Binghamton, NY in 1903.

In 1907, Belle Williams, president of the Columbia Civic League, learned of the National Humane Alliance’s activities and convinced her organization to pursue a fountain for Columbia.  The Civic League’s application for the fountain was endorsed by City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, and The State Newspaper. In September 1907, Lewis Seaver visited Columbia, assessed several proposed locations for the fountain, and decided upon the site at the intersection of Assembly and Lady Streets.  Seaver then sent a letter to City Council offering the fountain free of charge if the city agreed to transfer the fountain from the train car, place it on a good foundation, install plumbing and water connections, and guarantee a continuous fresh water supply and permanent maintenance. City Council agreed to the Alliance’s conditions and a fountain was procured, shipped to Columbia, and installed in July 1908. 

Manufactured by the Bodwell Granite Company of Vinalhaven, ME, Columbia’s fountain is of polished granite with bronze trimmings.  It is six feet, eight inches high and five feet in diameter.  There is an upper trough that was used for horses and four smaller troughs around the bottom for dogs. Water streamed from the mouths of two lion heads into the upper trough and trickled through pipes to the lower troughs. For over forty years it stood in the area of the Assembly Street Curb Market quenching the thirsts of humans’ best friends and most loyal servants.

The National Humane Alliance Fountain on Elmwood Avenue in 1955
Photo Courtesy of The State Newspaper Photograph Archive of the Richland Library

In 1951, the Assembly Street Curb Market was closed after the new State Farmers Market opened on Bluff Road.  Shortly thereafter, the National Humane Alliance fountain was removed from Assembly Street and installed on the median of Elmwood Avenue at Bull Street.  Around 1960, it was moved again when Elmwood Avenue was upgraded to handle the traffic generated by completion of the new Interstate-126 business spur route into Columbia. This time the fountain was turned over to the City of Columbia’s Parks and Recreation Department and placed on exhibit at Earlewood Park off North Main Street where it stood for approximately 20 years.

The National Humane Alliance Fountain in Front of the Township Auditorium, 2009

In honor of the Township Auditorium’s 50th Anniversary celebration in 1980, the Parks and Recreation Department donated the fountain to the venue.  It was moved to the concrete paved area in front of the Township on Taylor Street where it was displayed for 29 years. In 2009, the fountain was removed from in front of the auditorium and placed in storage to make room for expansion of the facility.

In 2012, after much effort by members of the Earlewood Community Organization, led by Elizabeth 'Aunt Lib' Davis and Fred Monk, the fountain was returned to Earlewood Park.  It now sits in a garden adjacent to the park’s new community building. The garden is named ‘the Elizabeth Glover Davis Garden’ in honor of Aunt Lib.

Other South Carolina communities that have National Humane Alliance fountains include Abbeville, Camden, Georgetown, and Laurens. All of these fountains are currently displayed in public squares and parks. 


  • “Business Men Outline Work.” The State, March 12, 1907, page 5.
  • “Chamber of Commerce.” The State, June 11, 1907, page 9.
  • “City Council.” The State, March 13, 1907, page 9.
  • “City Fountain Given by Humane Alliance.” The State, March 26, 1907, page 9.
  • “The Columbia Daybook.” The Columbia Record, September 15, 1955, page 13.
  • "Columbia, SC Fountains." Electronic Valley, Inc., Derby, CT.
  • “Daybook.” The Columbia Record, September 20, 1955, page 9.
  • “Death of H. L. Ensign.” Burlington Daily News (Burlington, VT), February 11, 1899, page 6.
  • “A Drinking Fountain Has Been Given the City.” The State, September 18, 1907, page 6.
  • “Handsome Fountain Has Been Installed.” The State, July 6, 1908, page 8.
  • Holleman, Joey. “100-year-old animal fountain will return to Earlewood Park.” The State, April 26, 2012, page B6.
  • “Itinerant Landmark.” The State, December 9, 1953, page 4.
  • “Live Wire.” The Columbia Record, August 19, 1982, page 2.
  • “Mary Elizabeth Glover Davis.” The State, February 2017, page 12C.
  • National Humane Alliance Fountains Facebook Page.
  • “The Patriotic Societies.” The State, December 15, 1907, page 6.
  • “Public Fountain Will Arrive Soon.” The State, May 29, 1908, page 10.
  • “Secretary Moorman’s Report, The State, November 26, 1907, page 8.
  • “Selecting a Location for Drinking Fountain.” The State, March 21, 1907, page 6.
  • “State News Items Here and There.” Buffalo Evening News (Buffalo, NY), April 6, 1903, page 17.
  • "A Watering Hole for Horses." Electronic Valley, Inc., Derby, CT.
  • “Williamston.” Vermont Watchman and State Journal (Montpelier, VT), April 16, 1903, page 5.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

First Pitch – Baseball During Reconstruction

A look at baseball during its earliest years in Columbia including the city’s first organized game, the first games at the State Fair, and some of the early amateur teams in South Carolina’s capital city.

by Paul Armstrong

Prior to the Civil War, there was at least a basic awareness of baseball in South Carolina, and the newspapers around the state reported on the northern clubs playing the “national game”.1,26,47 However, those in the Palmetto State who had the time and resources primarily pursued other leisure activities such as marksmanship, archery, horse racing, fives (similar to handball), boxing, wrestling, etc. If baseball was played in the state before the war, it was probably in informal, pick-up games and not between organized teams.

The Civil War gave South Carolinians direct exposure to the game of baseball in several ways.13 Some soldiers from the state who were interned in Union POW camps learned the game from their captors and experienced it firsthand as part of their outdoor exercise routine.29 Others, who served as guards at certain Confederate prisons, witnessed the game being played by the northern soldiers held there.13 Also, South Carolina residents who lived in the Union occupied areas of Beaufort county observed regular matches between baseball clubs comprised of northern soldiers.27 But organized baseball did not come to the state capital until after the war was over. Contemporary newspaper articles indicate that the game arrived here in response to a challenge by northern troops occupying Columbia during Reconstruction.

Union Prisoners Playing Baseball at Salisbury, NC
Drawing by Otto Boetticher
Image Courtesy of Library of Congress


According to the Daily Phoenix, the city’s primary newspaper during Reconstruction, the first baseball game between organized clubs in Columbia took place late in the summer of 1867.8 The 5th US Artillery arrived from Fort Monroe, VA in June of 1867 and joined the occupation forces garrisoned in Columbia.14 A baseball team, named the Phil Sheridan Base Ball Club, was formed within the artillery unit’s ranks and practiced regularly on the University Green which was also being used at the time as a military parade ground.  This club placed an ad in the Daily Phoenix inviting the men of Columbia to play friendly games of baseball.5 In response, four adult baseball clubs were formed in Columbia that year by local citizens. These were the Chicora Base Ball Club, Columbia Base Ball Club, Palmetto Base Ball Club, and University Base Ball Club.2,6,7

The newspaper reported that “the maiden game of base ball in Columbia” was played between the Phil Sheridan and Chicora clubs on September 9 from 2:15 to 6:15 PM on the University Green. The military club won by a score of 82 runs to 29.8,44 The lopsided score apparently did not discourage the Chicoras who agreed to future contests versus the Phil Sheridans. Over the next two months, the Phil Sheridan and Chicora clubs played a series of five games with the military club winning all but one.30,10,11,45 The Chicoras finally achieved a victory over the military team in the fourth matchup on October 31 by a decisive score of 89-51.11

Box Score of Columbia's First Baseball Game
The Daily Phoenix, September 10, 1867, page 2, column 6

 Other games were played that year among the local teams on at least three baseball fields around the city.  The Phil Sheridan and University Clubs used the University Green along Green Street as home field, while the Columbia Club’s home ground was near the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad Depot in the northeastern part of the city.  The Chicora Club maintained a field behind the South Carolina Railroad Depot on Gervais Street. The fact that these were organized clubs is evidenced by the facts that they were managed by officers and directors and held regular off-field meetings.2,3,7,16,18,32

University Green
Red oval on this map excerpt shows field where many early baseball games were played.
1872 Bird's Eye View Map of Columbia by Camille N. Drie

Also in 1867, Columbia’s first two youth baseball teams were formed. These were the Richland and Columbia, Jr. clubs who played their first game against each other on October 22.  This first ‘little league’ game was won by Columbia Jr. by a margin of four runs.4

Beyond 1867, baseball continued to grow in popularity among players and fans. Additional teams were formed, and games became more common in subsequent years especially during holidays and special events. Fourth of July celebrations began to feature baseball games along with the traditional picnics and fireworks.15,28,48 Other events also began to include baseball games in their activities.

The 1871 South Carolina State Fair featured two baseball games played on the infield of the racetrack adjacent to the fairgrounds on Upper Street (now Elmwood Avenue).  The first was played at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, November 8, by two local teams, the R. E. Lee and Alert Baseball Clubs. By a score of 23-14, the Alerts won what was possibly the first team sport contest featured at the State Fair.49 The second game, between the local Palmetto Club and the Mutual Club of the military garrison, began at 11:00 AM on Thursday and was halted after five innings by a rainstorm.50 It was completed on Friday and the Mutuals were victorious.  The winning club in each game was awarded a $10 prize by the fair association.42

The sport continued to grow during the Reconstruction Era as local and military clubs continued to be formed while some came and went. At least six military clubs, eight local adult clubs, and three youth clubs existed at various times between 1867 and 1877. Local Columbia clubs also began to host and travel for games against teams in other towns and cities around the state. Some of these intercity games were against teams like the Orange of Orangeburg, the Klu Klux of Winnsboro, the Athletics of Aiken, the Etiwans of Charleston, and others. This intercity competition continued beyond Reconstruction into the 1880s and 1890s but on an inconsistent basis. These teams and competitions waxed and waned depending on several factors such as financial means, player commitment, inconsistent management, etc.

Columbia’s local teams were primarily amateur and were composed of part-time players who held other means of livelihood. There were, however, some occasional semi-professional exceptions where a team would compensate one or two players. The primarily amateur nature of the game continued until 1892 when the Columbia Baseball Association formed Columbia’s first professional team and led the effort to start the first minor league involving South Carolina clubs. 

  1. “The American Game of Base Ball.” The Charleston Daily Courier, April 19, 1859, page 1, column 7.
  2. “Attention, Palmetto Base Ball Club.” The Daily Phoenix, November 3, 1867, page 2, column 3.
  3. "Attention, Alert Base Ball Club." The Daily Phoenix, June 3, 1868, page 2, column 5.
  4. “Base Ball Among the Little Folks.” The Daily Phoenix, October 23, 1867, page 2, column 6.
  5. “Base Ball.” The Daily Phoenix, July 23, 1867, page 2, column 6.
  6. “Base Ball.” The Daily Phoenix, August 11, 1867, page 2, column 6.
  7. “Base Ball.” The Daily Phoenix, August 30, 1867, page 2, column 6.
  8. “Base Ball.” The Daily Phoenix, September 10, 1867, page2, column 5.
  9. “Base Ball.” The Daily Phoenix, September 29, 1867, page 2, column 6.
  10. “Base Ball.” The Daily Phoenix, October 17, 1867, page 2, column 5.
  11. “Base Ball.” The Daily Phoenix, November 1, 1867, page 2, column 5.
  12. “Base Ball.” The Daily Phoenix, November 28, 1867, page 2, column 4.
  13. Brown, Zachary. “Baseball and the Civil War.” US History Scene, 26 Nov. 2016.
  14. Bush, James C. “Fifth Regiment of Artillery.” US Army Center of Military History.
  15. “The Celebration of the Fourth.” The Daily Phoenix, July 6, 1871, page 2, column 5.
  16. “Chicora Base Ball Club.” The Daily Phoenix, August 18, 1867, page 2, column 4.
  17. “Chicora Base Ball Club.” The Daily Phoenix, September 29, page 2, column 3.
  18. “City Matters.” The Daily Phoenix, Aug 16, 1874, page 2, column 6.
  19. "City Matters." The Daily Phoenix, Aug 19, 1874, page 2, column 5.
  20. "City Matters." The Daily Phoenix, Aug 25, 1874, page 2, column 5.
  21. "City Matters." The Daily Phoenix, Aug 28, 1874, page 2, column 5.
  22. “City Matters.” The Daily Phoenix, Mar 18, 1875, page 2, column 5.
  23. “City Matters.” The Daily Phoenix, Mar 23, 1875, page 2, column 5.
  24. “City Matters.” The Daily Phoenix, Apr 6, 1875, page 2, column 4.
  25. “Columbia Base Ball Club.” The Daily Phoenix, August 16, 1867, page 2, column 6.
  26. “Correspondence of the Courier.” The Charleston Daily Courier, July 19, 1858, page 2, column 2.
  27. “How it was spent here, at Beaufort and the Navy.” The New South (Port Royal, SC), December 27, 1862, page 3, column 2.
  28. “The Late Game of Base Ball.” The Newberry Weekly Herald, July 19, 1871, page 2 column 4.
  29. “Letter from Asa Hartz.” The Camden Confederate, July 6, 1864, page 2, column 1.
  30. “Local Items.” The Daily Phoenix, October 1, 1867, page 2, column 6.
  31. "Local Items." The Daily Phoenix, November 7, 1867, page 2, column 5.
  32. “Local Items.” The Daily Phoenix, January 11, 1868, page 2, column 5.
  33. "Local Items." The Daily Phoenix, November 26, 1868, page 2, column 6.
  34. “Local Items.” The Daily Phoenix, July 20, 1871, page 2 column 6.
  35. “Local Items.” The Daily Phoenix, July 22, 1871, page 2, column 5.
  36. "Local Items." The Daily Phoenix, July 28, 1871, page 2, column 5.
  37. "Local Items." The Daily Phoenix, July 29, 1871, page 2, column 5.
  38. "Local Items." The Daily Phoenix, August 4, 1871, page 2, column 6.
  39. "Local Items." The Daily Phoenix, August 9, 1871, page 2, column 6.
  40. "Local Items." The Daily Phoenix, August 18, 1871, page 2, column 5.
  41. "Local Items." The Daily Phoenix, September 13, 1871, page 2, column 5.
  42. "Local Items." The Daily Phoenix, November 3, 1871, page 2, column 6.
  43. "Local Items." The Daily Phoenix, November 6, 1872, page 2, column 5.
  44. “Match Game of Base Ball.” The Daily Phoenix, September 8, 1867, page 2, column 6.
  45. “Match Game of Base Ball.” The Daily Phoenix, November 8, 1867, page 2, column 6.
  46. “Our New York Correspondence.” The Charleston Mercury, August 27, 1860, page 1, column 5.
  47. “Out-Door Sports and Pastimes.” The Abbeville Press and Banner, August 13, 1858, page 5, column 4.
  48. “Scraps.” The Newberry Weekly Herald, July 5, 1871, page 2, column 5.
  49. “The State Fair.” The Daily Phoenix, November 9, 1871, page 2, column 3.
  50. "The State Fair." The Daily Phoenix, November 10, 1871, page 2, column 2.
  51. “Tribute of Respect.” The Daily Phoenix, October 8, 1867, page 3, column 2.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Emerson Field and the Carolina Aircraft Corporation

by Paul Armstrong

Click on photos to enlarge.
276th Aero Squadron Patch
Author's Collection
While doing research on early aviation activity in Columbia, I came across information about Emerson Field, which may be the area’s first purpose-built airfield and first purpose-built airfield used for commercial aviation.  Below is a summary of my research on Emerson Field and the company that used it for commercial aviation activities after World War I.


Shortly after the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, Camp Jackson was established near Columbia as a training center.  A little over a year later, the Army Air Service decided to establish an airfield near the cantonment on which to train pilots and spotters for observation service in connection with the artillery brigade firing center at Camp Jackson.  The airfield was built on over eighty acres of land along Garners Ferry Road where the University of South Carolina School of Medicine is now located.  The land was leased by the war department from two owners.  Part of the property was owned by Frank Hampton and the rest was owned by Annie M. True.  The property had once been the site of a pre-Civil War racetrack maintained by Wade Hampton II to train and race his thoroughbred horses. Since the Civil War, it had primarily been used for growing cotton and other crops.

The new airfield was named Emerson Field after 2nd Lieutenant William K. B. Emerson, Jr., the first US artillery observer killed in action during World War I.  The runway was over 800 yards long and 275 yards wide and was turfed with well-maintained Bermuda grass.  It eventually had hangars, barracks, officers’ quarters, maintenance shops, and other aircraft service facilities.  The field was opened in the summer of 1918 under the command of Major Norman W. Peek. The 276th Aero Squadron was moved to Emerson Field after having been organized in February at Camp Sevier in Greenville County. The squadron was commanded by First Lieutenant Harley H. Pope and eventually consisted of around 130 men with 17 airplanes. An observation balloon company with three balloons was also assigned to Emerson Field.  All total, 300 men were attached to the airfield including the aero squadron, balloon company, and miscellaneous support personnel. 

Norman W. Peek
An Illustrated History of Scott Air Force Base, 1917-1987
In addition to training with the artillery brigade at Camp Jackson, the aviators stationed at Emerson Field were also assigned missions around the area for forest fire spotting, mapping, etc. On January 1, 1919, Lieutenant Harley Pope and Sergeant Walter W. Fleming left Emerson Field to map airmail routes in the Carolinas and southern Virginia. During a leg of that mission on January 7, they were both killed when their Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” crashed into the Cape Fear River near Fayetteville, NC.  In April 1919, the newly built airfield adjacent to Camp Bragg near Fayetteville was named Pope Field in honor of the deceased commander of the 276th Aero Squadron.

Harley H. Pope
Fort Bragg: 100
In March 1919, the War Department decided to abandon Emerson Field and allow the lease on the property to expire in June. The balloon company at Emerson Field was transferred to Langley Field in Virginia and the 276th Aero Squadron was moved to Pope Field. The property on which Emerson Field had been constructed was turned back over to its owners who were now in possession of a good aviation facility. The well-maintained runway and maintenance shops were left intact.


In early November of 1919, the Carolina Aircraft Corporation was formed by eight Columbia businessmen who owned or worked for local automobile companies. The new company, headed by Overland dealer R. D. “Bob” Lambert, was formed to provide flying services and to sell aircraft. They arranged to use the racetrack infield at the fairgrounds as a temporary field for flight operations and established a sales office at 1233 Hampton Street. They immediately ordered a Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” airplane, secured a Curtiss dealership, and hired their first pilot, Edmund P. Gaines. The initial airplane sale was to L. D. Jennings of Sumter.
Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" similar to the one owned by the Carolina Aircraft Corporation
George Johnson, Aviation Section, US Army Signal Corps - family photo

The first airplane for the company’s own operations arrived in Columbia on November 22, and Carolina Aircraft Corporation held its first flying event the following day, a Sunday. Sightseeing flights were offered continuously from 11 AM to 6 PM with a break at 3 PM during which Edmund Gaines put on a flying exhibition. The Jenny could only accommodate one passenger at a time and its back seat was booked all day long. During the exhibition, pilot Gaines went up by himself and performed a series of stunts to delight the crowd. These included the tailspin, loop-the-loop, spiral stunts, a somersault, and more. After the enthusiastic first day reception, the Carolina Aircraft Corporation offered daily sightseeing flights from 2 to 6 P. M. and their newspaper ads invited readers to “See Columbia From the Clouds”.
Carolina Aircraft Corporation Ad
From The State, November 23, 1919
Although Columbia had been visited by barnstorming pilots and air shows since 1910, the city now had its own commercial aviation firm that could provide regular air service and aerial entertainment. The company offered a variety of flying services including sightseeing jaunts over the capital city, advertising flights dropping promotional leaflets, exhibition shows, aerial photography flights, and chartered excursions to other locations including for business trips and golf outings.

In February 1920, Carolina Aircraft Corporation leased Emerson Field as the primary base for airplanes and aviation operations.  The firm still used the fairgrounds field when providing sightseeing and promotional services for events that catered to downtown crowds at events such as parades, trade shows, and auto races, but Emerson Field was now its home base for flight operations.  A hangar and flight support facilities were built for the storage and maintenance of their flying inventory which soon went from one plane to two.
Carolina Aircraft Corporation Ad
From The Columbia Record, June 13, 1920
On April 4, 1920, the staff of the Carolina Aircraft Corporation took delivery of a new Curtiss Oriole airplane.  The Oriole was a three-seater and allowed the company to offer two-passenger flights for sightseeing, business, or other purposes.  The new plane’s fuselage was orange and the wings were cream colored.  This paint scheme led Columbian’s to quickly nickname the plane, the “Easter Egg”.
Restored 1919 Curtiss Oriole similar to the one owned by the Carolina Aircraft Corporation
Glenn H. Curtiss Museum
Eventually the firm would have three pilots and three planes and, in addition to Columbia, offered commercial aviation services all around South Carolina and beyond.  Over the next two years Carolina Aircraft Corporation’s pilots performed flying shows, gave sightseeing flights, and delivered advertising services in Lexington, Greenwood, Abbeville, Gaffney, Union, Spartanburg, Greenville, and Anderson.  The company’s pilots also went into Georgia for advertising services and sightseeing rides in Augusta and Hartwell.  Chartered flights were given to Clinton, Charlotte, Greensboro, NC, and other locations. Among the firm’s well-known passengers were Evangelist Gipsy Smith Jr., Columbia photographer John Sargeant, and Lexington beauty queen Pauline Hook.

Edmund P. Gaines
Carolina Aircraft Corporation’s first and primary pilot was Edmund Gaines. A native of Greenwood County, Gaines had entered the University of South Carolina in 1916, only to have his college education interrupted by World War I after his freshman year.  He served in the Army Air Service during the war, first as a flight instructor stateside, and then as senior flight commander for the 186th Aero Squadron in France and Germany.
Edmund P. Gaines
Garnet and Black 1921
After his discharge from the Air Service, Gaines returned to the university to complete his degree. To help fund his education, he accepted a position as pilot for the Carolina Aircraft Corporation at its startup in November 1919. He attended classes in the morning and flew for the company in the afternoons and on weekends. As the company’s only pilot for nearly a year, Gaines flew for sightseeing, advertising, charter travel, and exhibitions. He became well known in Columbia as the only local student earning his way through college as an airplane pilot.

During his time at Carolina Aircraft Corporation, Gaines also served as a captain in the Army Reserve and rejoined the Regular Army Air Service in November 1920.  He was allowed to remain in Columbia to complete his degree in engineering.  Then, in August 1921, he was transferred to Fort Benning, thus ending his time as a commercial flyer in Columbia.   Colonel Edmund P. Gaines completed a long military career when he retired in 1953 after 35 years in the United States Air Service/Air Corps/Air Force.
Roscoe Turner
Twice during 1920, flamboyant aviator, Roscoe Turner, and his partner, Harry Runsor, brought their “Roscoe Turner Flying Circus” to Columbia while on tour throughout the country.  They wowed the crowds at the fairgrounds with wing walking, parachuting, and other stunts in their British made Avro 504 plane. During these visits, Turner met Bob Lambert and the other members of the Carolina Aircraft Corporation.  In January 1921, he moved to Columbia and took positions with the aviation company, as sales manager and pilot, and with the Southern Motor Company as assistant sales manager. Over the next year, Turner split his time between selling cars and airplanes, delivering lectures on aviation at Emerson Field and other places, flying for Carolina Aircraft Corporation’s events, and barnstorming around the Southeast with Runsor.

Photo of Carolina Aircraft Corporation's Curtiss Oriole beside a car with inset photo of Roscoe Turner
From The Columbia Record, January 9, 1921
In September of 1921, Roscoe Turner and Harry Runsor allegedly purchased a Marine Corps airplane near Savannah that had been stolen from Parris Island. On January 24, 1922, Turner was arrested in Columbia and was sent to Savannah to stand trial. He pled guilty on February 25 to charges of conspiracy and possession of stolen government property and was sentenced to one year and one day in a federal prison in Atlanta. He was released on parole in July 1922 and received an unconditional pardon in 1924 from President Calvin Coolidge.

Harry Runser and Roscoe Turner
After his release from prison, Turner returned to his hometown of Corinth, MS, relaunched his aviation career, and went on to become one of the most well-known flyers in the world.  From barnstormer he transitioned to aviation instructor, airplane racer, Hollywood stuntman and actor, and airline pilot. He set the transcontinental speed record four times, won the Thompson Trophy Race three times, and pioneered cross-country passenger service.  Roscoe Turner died in 1970 and was posthumously inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1975.

Other Pilots
There were at least three other pilots who flew for the Carolina Aircraft Corporation during its existence. Benjamin R. Stroup was a Citadel graduate and World War I veteran who flew for the company during the summer of 1920.  C. Harmon Siebenhausen was a Texas native and Army Air Service veteran who worked for the Carolina Aircraft Corporation from the fall of 1920 until the summer of 1921. After Siebenhausen left to open an auto repair business in York, SC, he was replaced by Thomas C. Blencowe, a Virginia native who had flown for Royal Flying Corps Canada during World War I.  Blencowe flew for the Carolina Aircraft Corporation into 1922 and then went to work for the Southern Bell Telephone Company in Columbia.


The Carolina Aircraft Corporation went bankrupt in 1922 and its airplanes and other property were put up for auction in August at Emerson Field.  The land on which the airfield had been operated was returned to agricultural use, primarily for cotton production.  In 1931, the land was part of the site chosen for a new veterans hospital. The facility, consisting of 13 buildings, received its first patients on December 1, 1932, and served veterans for over 46 years. The adjacent Dorn Veterans Hospital opened in 1979 and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine has occupied the renovated old facility since 1983.

  • “Aero Ball Last Evening.” The Columbia Record, July 24, 1918, page 5.
  • “Aeroplane Flights.” The Columbia Record, December 3, 1919, page 7.
  • “Aeroplanes to Orangeburg.” The Columbia Record, November 10, 1920, page 11.
  • “Aeroplanes Visit Columbia on Their Trips Over Cities.” The Columbia Record, November 25, 1919, page 3.
  • “Aero Squadron Sent to Columbia Camp.” The State, June 15, 1918, page 5.
  • “Air Limousine for Columbia.” The Columbia Record, May 15, 1921, page 7.
  • “Airplane Company for Columbia Now.” The Columbia Record, November 13, 1919, page 16.
  • “Airplane May be Used for Business.” The Columbia Record, May 26, 1921, page 2.
  • “Airship Coming Today to Spend Several Days Here.” The Gaffney Ledger, February 15, 1921, page 1.
  • “Airship Left for Union, Forced to Land, Report.” The Gaffney Ledger, March 1, 1921, page 2.
  • “Air Ships Guarded.” The State, November 1, 1918, page 9.
  • “All in Readiness for Great Parade That Opens Drive.” The Columbia Record, September 27, 1918, page 2.
  • “Another Feather in Columbia’s Cap.” The Columbia Record, July 9, 1920, page 5.
  • “Auction Sale” The State, July 22, 1922, page 7.
  • “Automobile Races Today.” The State, November 27, 1919, page 8.
  • “Auto Races Feature Holiday Here.” The Columbia Record, December 26, 1921, page 1.
  • “Aviation Coming to South Carolina.” The State, May 22, 1920, page 12.
  • “Aviation Field to be Abandoned.” The State, March 8, 1919, page 3.
  • “Aviation Stunts to Thrill the People.” The Columbia Record, January 9, 1920, page 16.
  • “Aviator and Bride to Take Part Today in the Aerial Derby.” The Columbia Record, November 13, 1920, page 1.
  • “Aviator Carries News of Big Show.” The Columbia Record, March 23, 1920, page 14.
  • “Aviators Kept Busy on Monday.” The Columbia Record, April 26, 1921, page 8.
  • “Aviator’s Stunts Will Feature Day.” The Columbia Record, November 11, 1920, page 9.
  • “Aviators to Fly by Night, Friday.” The Columbia Record, April 20, 1921, page 2.
  • “Aviators to Give Thrilling Stunts.” The Columbia Record, January 4, 1920, page 5.
  • “Aviator Visits City.” The Abbeville Press and Banner, December 6, 1920, page 1.
  • “Award Diplomas to Citadel Class.” The State, May 25, 1918, page 2.
  • “Barracks for Fliers.” The State, September 24, 1918, page 8.
  • “Beckham Promoted in Highway Force.” The State, March 24, 1926, page 12.
  • “Big British Plane Takes Wednesday Fly.” The Columbia Record, April 13, 1921, page 10.
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  • “Bishopville Man is First Patient at Vets Hospital.” The Columbia Record, December 1, 1932, page 1.
  • “Bodies Not Found.” The State, January 10, 1919. Page 8.
  • “Body of Bedford Flier Found in Southern River.” The Indianapolis Star, April 11, 1919, page 20.
  • “Brave Aviator’s Memory Honored.” The Columbia Record, October 27, 1918, page 2.
  • “B. R. Stroup.” The State, February 18, 1971, page 6-D.
  • “Camp Jackson News.” The State, November 25, 1918, page 9.
  • “Carolina Aircraft Corporation.” The Columbia Record, March 21, 1920, page 11.
  • “Carolina Student Made a Captain.” The Gamecock, April 1, 1920, page 5.
  • “Carolina’s Annual Staff is Chosen.” The Columbia Record, October 26, 1919, page 18.
  • “Chamber’s Flight to Rock Hill to be Made Sunday.” The Columbia Record, June 3, 1921, page 5.
  • “Chapman-Blencoe.” The State, August 18, 1921, page 3.
  • “City Should Have Landing Field.” The Columbia Record, November 9, 1919. Page 17.
  • “Clinton Enjoys Red Letter Day.” The State, May 9, 1920, page 1.
  • “Col. Edmund Gaines Services Set Thursday.” The Columbia Record, July 2, 1979, page 11-D.
  • “Colony from Virginia Town Is Domiciled in Columbia.” The State, January 29, 1928, page 31.
  • “Columbia Airplane Pleased Piedmont.” The Columbia Record, July 5, 1920, page 10.
  • “Columbia Girl in Flight to Clinton.” The Columbia Record, May 7, 1920, page 3.
  • “Columbians Enjoy Ride in Airplane.” The Columbia Record, November 24, 1919, page 7.
  • “Columbian Would Fly Mt. Everett [sic].” The Columbia Record, March 14, 1921, page 7.
  • “Columbians Form Aircraft Company.” The State, November 13, 1919, page 5.
  • “Columbia’s Plane Has Good Business.” The Columbia Record, November 25, 1919, page 10.
  • “Columbia Should be the Aviation Center for the Entire Southeast.” The Columbia Record, January 9, 1921, page 1.
  • “Dance Tonight.” The State, July 23, 1918, page 3.
  • “Daring Aerial Meet at the Fair Grounds Thursday.” The Columbia Record, November 10, 1920. Page 16.
  • “Daring Aviators Make Great Trip.” The Columbia Record, November 17, 1918, page 18.
  • “Edmund Gaines, Retired Air Force Colonel.” The Miami Herald, July 6, 1979, page 46.
  • “Emerson Field Back to Owners.” The Columbia Record, April 17, 1919, page 2.
  • “Emerson Field Finest of All.” The State, August 16, 1920, page 3.
  • “Emerson Field is for Future Use?” The Columbia Record, April 5, 1919, page 2.
  • “Emerson Field May be Abandoned Soon.” The Columbia Record, January 26, 1919, page 10.
  • “Emerson Field Passes.” The State, March 11, 1919, page 13.
  • “Enjoy Paved Road.” The State, March 9, 1919, page 2.
  • “Famous Birdman Visits Columbia.” The State, February 22, 1920, page 3.
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  • “First Airplane Visits Winnsboro.” The State, May 24, 1920, page 1.
  • “Flies to Columbia.” The State, May 18, 1920, page 2.
  • “Flyers May Come Back to Camp.” The State, July 11, 1919, page 5.
  • “Flying Circus.” The State, January 11, 1920, page 32.
  • “Flying Field Named in Honor of Lieut. Pope.” The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), April 16, 1919, page 6.
  • “Flying Taught.” The Birmingham News, April 5, 1923, page 18.
  • “Found in River.” Fayetteville Observer, April 10, 1919, page 1
  • “Gaines and Stroup Go to Greenville.” The State, July 3, 1920, page 8.
  • “Gaines Comes Back.” The State, August 7, 1920, page 10.
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  • “Get New Airplane in Columbia Soon.” The Columbia Record, December 28, 1919, page 20.
  • “Getting Big Sausages Ready for Shipment.” The Columbia Record, March 8, 1919, page 7.
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  • “Give Program of Air Derby.” The State, November 8, 1920, page 5.
  • “Is Emerson Field to be Relocated.” The Columbia Record, July 5, 1919, page 5.
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  • “’Kitty’ Sargeant Takes Pictures of Stunts by Aviator.” The Columbia Record, January 12, 1920, page 3.
  • “Large Airplane Company Sought.” The Columbia Record, April 10, 1921, page 16.
  • “Leave for Augusta.” The State, June 27, 1920, page 12.
  • “Lieut Maynard May be Here Wednesday.” The Columbia Record, December 8, 1919, page 12.
  • “Lieut. Runser Will Live Here.” The Columbia Record, April 2, 1921, page 3.
  • “Lt. Gaines Changes Station.” The Columbia Record, August 2, 1921, pages 6, 10.
  • “Lunch in Columbia, and Dinner in New York, is Airline Possibility.” The Columbia Record, March 25, 1921, page 29.
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  • “More Facilities for Army Camps.” The Columbia Record, August 5, 1918, page 1.
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  • “New Enterprises Were Authorized.” The State, November 20, 1919, page 3
  • “News of the Day from Camp Sevier.” The State, May 5, 1918, page 25.
  • “No Trace Found of Two Airmen.” The State, January 9, 1919, page 1.
  • “Old VA Hospital Renovation Planned.” The State, June 15, 1979, page 2-A.
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  • “Palmafesta Queen Rides in the Air This Afternoon.” The Columbia Record, April 3, 1921, page 9.
  • “Pal of Turner Also Jailed for Plane.” The Columbia Record, January 27, 1922, page 1.
  • “Pictures from Sky Taken of Columbia.” The Columbia Record, February 29, 1920, page 24.
  • “Popular Young Couple Married in Blackville.” The Barnwell People, October 14, 1920, page 1.
  • “Prepare Planes for Palmafesta.” The State, March 24, 1921, page 12.
  • “Promises Good Roads to County.” The State, January 16, 1919, page 14.
  • “Propose Air Field for Capital City.” The State, August 2, 1921, page 1.
  • “Purchases Garage in York.” The Union Daily Times, July 20, 1921, page 1.
  • “Roddey on Plane Trip to Charlotte.” The Columbia Record, December 1, 1919, page 13.
  • “Roscoe Turner.” Columbia Record, December 22, 1921, page 8.
  • “Roscoe Turner Awarded DFC.” The State, August 15, 1952, page 7-B.
  • “Roscoe Turner in County Jail.” The State, January 25, 1922, page 10.
  • “Roscoe Turner to Atlanta Pen.” The Columbia Record, February 26, 1922, page 2.
  • “Runser and Turner Fly Home Again.” The Columbia Record, November 11, 1921, page 9.
  • “See Columbia from the Clouds.” The State, November 23, 1919, page 25.
  • “Seven Airplanes in Aerial Derby.” The Columbia Record, October 6, 1920, page 3.
  • “Shackelford Will Fly to Tarheelia.” The Columbia Record, December 21, 1919, page 7.
  • “The Attainment.” The State, December 3, 1932, page 4.
  • “The Trades Display Parade is Big Feature for Friday.” The Columbia Record, March 31, 1921, page 1.
  • “To Hold Funeral on Pacific Coast.” The State, September 30, 1918, page 2.
  • “To Select Queen for Aerial Derby.” The Columbia Record, November 1, 1920, page 7.
  • “Two High Fliers in Lexington.” The Dispatch-News, April 27, 1921, page 1.
  • “Two Landing Sites for Airplanes Now.” The Columbia Record, February 29, 1920, page 24.
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  • “University Student Makes Money Flying.” The Gamecock, December 4, 1919, page 3.
  • “USC Plans Med School Dedication.” The State, September 22, 1983, page 8-C.
  • “Veterans’ Institution on Interesting Site.” The State, June 2, 1931, pages 1, 9.
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  • “Will Bomb Crowds with the Record.” The Columbia Record, November 5, 1920, page 12.
  • “Will Fly Very Soon.” The State, April 3, 1920, page 3.
  • “Within the Town.” Yorkville Enquirer, September 19, 1922, page 4.