Commonly known as the Spigner House, this Italian Renaissance Revival home near the University of South Carolina in Columbia was built in 1915 for businessman Thomas A. Boyne and his wife, Isabel Allworden Boyne. The home originally sat on a 27.8-acre tract, deeded to Isabel Boyne by her father, and was designed by Columbia architect J. Carroll Johnson of the renowned local firm Urquhart and Johnson. Since then, the tract has been subdivided.
In 1937 the director of the Palmetto National Bank, G. Trezevant “Trez” Pressley, bought the house. Pressley was also a partner in the real estate firm, the McCreery-Pressley Company. Pressley and his wife, Annie, had a close relationship with their neice, Henrietta Geddes Bailey of Lexington, Kentucky, who lived in this home with the Pressleys during the Great Depression. She was considered their adopted daughter. When Annie Pressley died in 1959, nine years after the passing of Trezevant, she bequeathed the home to Henrietta.
Henrietta married A. Fletcher Spigner, Jr., a lawyer and South Carolina senator who served the state from 1955 through 1956. He was the son of A. Fletcher Spigner, Sr., a solicitor who served as a state senator from 1915 through 1919. They are one of two father-son members of the South Carolina legislature. As an attorney, Fletcher Spigner, Jr. won his first case in private practice in 1944 – against his own father. Henrietta Geddes Bailey Spigner conveyed the house to the University of South Carolina in 1963.
In 2009 the University hired the Boudreaux Group, a Columbia-based architectural design group, to restore the home’s interior and rehabilitate the exterior. From 2009 through 2012 the firm renovated the home, achieving LEED-CI (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold-Commercial Interior) certification at the project’s completion. The designation means that the firm adhered to sustainable strategies during the process and is energy-efficient. However, this modern standard of design did not diminish the craftsmanship and historical integrity of the home, which today is used for meeting and conference space.
The Boyne-Pressley-Spigner House is listed in the National Register as part of the University Neighborhood Historic District:
The University Neighborhood Historic District is a historically significant residential district. As an example of an urban neighborhood that assumed its present appearance between ca. 1885 and ca. 1950, it is significant as a reflection of the process of community planning and development in Columbia. With its range of architectural styles, often exhibiting the work of regionally and locally prominent architects, it is significant as an example of an architecturally distinctive neighborhood that continues to convey its early twentieth-century historic and aesthetic character. The streets of the district are broad and set in a grid pattern, reflecting its development within the original layout of the city of Columbia on a two-mile square grid. The original neighborhood was reduced in size beginning in the 1960s with the eastward expansion of the University of South Carolina campus. The University Neighborhood contains 160 contributing buildings, inclusive of seven contributing outbuildings, and thirteen non-contributing buildings. The neighborhood’s residences are both single- and multi-family buildings, with at least thirteen apartment complexes and fourteen duplexes located throughout the neighborhood. Architectural styles and influences include the Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival, Italian Renaissance Revival, Four-Square, and Craftsman/Bungalow. Most of the properties consist of two-story wood-framed buildings with brick veneer, clapboard siding, or wood shingles. Porches are common and include entry, full-width, wrap-around, and inset forms.
Reflections on the Boyne-Pressley-Spigner House
Contributor Fletcher Spigner, III says: “Built in 1915, the Boyne-Pressley Spigner House, formerly the Spigner House, is arguably Columbia’s most stately home. It is historically significant and has earned several designations and awards. The family of a beloved South Carolinian, State Senator A. Fletcher Spigner Jr., son of Solicitor Spigner, inherited this gorgeous home from my mother’s aunt, Annie Gertrude Geddes Pressley. We lived here from 1959 to 1964 when it was sold to the University. The memories are many and intense. Our maid, cook, gardener, sitter and butler were part of our family. Those were the days.”