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Edgar A. Brown Building — Columbia, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Richland County  |  Edgar A. Brown Building

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Edgar A. Brown Building

The Edgar A. Brown Building in Columbia is one of several state office buildings near the South Carolina State House that comprise the downtown pedestrian complex. The contemporary structures within the complex – such as the Blatt Building, the Gressette Building, and this one – were added in the 1970s and 1980s when Senate Street was removed in this area to create the walking-only government grounds.

Edgar A. Brown Building

Benton Henry of Latta, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The Brown Building houses several high state offices such as the South Carolina Secretary of State. It is named for former senator Edgar Allan Brown of Barnwell County, who served in the state legislature in both the State House and the Senate for 50 years – from 1922 until 1972. Brown, along with two Barnwell County state representatives – Solomon Blatt, Sr., and Winchester Smith, Jr – and Joseph Emile Harley, governor from 1941 until 1942, allegedly were part of a secret political group known as the “Barnwell Ring.”

The Barnwell Ring was said to use its political power to influence South Carolina governance. One such attempt was the group’s opposition to Strom Thurmond‘s gubernatorial run in 1946. The Ring allegedly payed people to speak for the group’s conservative agenda and against Thurmond during Thurmond’s campaign speeches. Thurmond won despite the group’s tactics, but its reach extended into the General Assembly, where Blatt was elected Speaker of the House after only four years in office. Despite decades of political lore, the existence of the Barnwell Ring has never been confirmed.

Lake Edgar Brown, in Barnwell, is also named in the senator’s honor.

Edgar A. Brown Building Info

Address: 1205 Pendleton Street, Columbia, SC 29201
GPS Coordinates: 33.999000,-81.031700

Edgar A. Brown Building Map

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One Comment about Edgar A. Brown Building

Diane E Brown-Payne says:
July 23rd, 2018 at 11:19 am

Do you know if there are any books on Edgar Brown, my children’s biological grandfather, James Edward Brown? Fathers name was Charles Brown, I traced back to Barnwell,SC, Charles walked out of the life of Martha and James Brown, when he was 5, he never saw him again, I recall a conversation about Edgar Brown, he said in disgust he was related to his family. If you know of any information or person I can contact in regards to family history, Charles Brown was born in 1896, in Barnwell, SC, Thank you, Diane Brown-Payne


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