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How Jockimo’s Glass Work Helped Transform This Columbia, South Carolina, Building

As a glass manufacturer, we’ve worked on a number of interesting jobs. From the observation deck of Freedom Tower to Google headquarters, we’ve had the privilege of completing many unique commercial projects. We’ve always had a special place in our hearts, though, for historical buildings. These spaces are often culturally or historically significant buildings worth preserving, and we’re proud to lend our glass manufacturing expertise and experience to bringing these spaces back to their former glory—or better.

To that end, here’s a look at one of our recent projects, 701 Whaley in Columbia, South Carolina.

All about 701 Whaley

The 701 Whaley building was originally constructed in 1903. It served as the company store for five separate textile mills. Just six years later, it was essentially a community center for all the mill workers and their families. Containing everything from a bowling alley and library to a pool and dance hall, this space was a lively place to meet and to socialize, and it served as an important cornerstone for this community.

Check out more about the history of the building here.

In the early 2000s, nearly two decades after the textile jobs moved away, a large portion of the roof collapsed. The building was subsequently condemned and marked for demolition. In 2006, Richard Burts (a local real estate developer and active business community leader), historical renovation expert Robert Lewis, and investor Bob McConnell stepped in to help.

They purchased the building, aiming to preserve and to restore the once-iconic building, which they did with great success.

Today, 701 Whaley is on the National Register of Historic Places, and its 55,000 square feet are currently used as a home for the 701 Center for Contemporary Art, event hosting, and office space. From the Grand Hall to the Bridal Room, many spaces are also available for rent.

Special features include the following:

  • Paved courtyard surrounding the building
  • Spacious catering area
  • Grand staircase
  • Bridal and green room
  • Stunning windows
  • Impressive entry doors
  • Period-style bathrooms
  • Lovingly restored or preserved original historic features throughout, including the original textured walls

Jockimo and 701 Whaley

In this project, the historic pool was reclaimed from the overgrown vegetation (see the pictures below) and transformed into a dance floor and gathering space. To cover the existing pool area, we created a transparent glass floor using our proprietary Jockimo GlassSculpt™ process.

This helped ensure the new feature was entirely compliant with today’s most stringent safety regulations while still allowing visibility and a connection to the historic section below.

If you’re involved in the renovation of a historical building and need the expertise of a glass manufacturer (either to recreate a piece of historic glass or to incorporate a new glass design into the renovation plans), check out this blog. In it, we highlight the three questions you need to ask a glass manufacturer before partnering for any renovation project.

See the Dramatic 701 Whaley Transformation (in Pictures)

Prior to Renovation:

701 Whaley Renovation Glass Flooring over Pool Historical Prior to Construction

During Renovation:

701 Whaley Renovation Glass Flooring over Pool Historical During Construction

After Renovation:

701 Whaley Renovation Glass Flooring over Pool Historical Finished

Want to See 701 Whaley in Person?

Whether you’re just interested in taking a look around or you want to book the building for an event, here’s how to get in contact:

Phone: 803-771-0101

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Address: 701 Whaley St. Columbia, South Carolina 29201

Want More Information about Historical Renovations?

If you’re looking to renovate a historical building and need the expertise or guidance of a glass manufacturer, reach out today.

We’ve helped many groups successfully, safely, and lovingly renovate historical buildings to their former glory (either replacing or recreating historical glass), and we’re always happy to lend our expertise or our services in that capacity.