The North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office cooperated with the town of Columbia, volunteer divers, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation to conduct a survey of the Columbia shoreline on the Scuppernong River. Six shipwrecks were located and documented, and a vessel known as the Columbia shad boat was recovered and reassembled for full documentation. An extensive recovery of the passenger steamer Estelle Randall was undertaken that resulted in the retrieval of the engine, shaft, rudder, and a large number of artifacts that were preserved and returned to Columbia for display. These underwater archaeological projects have underscored the vital importance of the shipping and fishing industries to the historical development of Columbia. The Historic Preservation Office statewide inventory contains information on nineteen prehistoric and historic archaeological sites in Tyrrell County.
A comprehensive survey of the architectural resources in the Columbia Historic District was conducted in 1992 and a survey of the rest of the county was completed in 1995. Surveys are cooperative local-state projects accomplished with grants and staff assistance from the Historic Preservation Office.
In 1992 the Columbia Town Council was awarded a $4,075 federal matching grant to hire an architectural historian to conduct an architectural survey and complete a National Register nomination for the Columbia Historic District. In 1994, $6,000 in federal matching funds were awarded for an architectural resources survey of Tyrrell County.
NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES
National Register listings in Tyrrell County include the Columbia Historic District that was listed in 1993 and the Tyrrell County Courthouse listed in 1979.
PRESERVATION TAX CREDITS
The J.C. McClees Store, an income-producing tax credit project in Columbia, is currently undergoing renovation. One residence is currently undergoing renovation to utilize the new state tax credit for non-income-producing historic structures. The Historic Preservation Office reviews and provides restoration technical services for all tax credit projects.
Historic Preservation Office staff has provided technical restoration assistance to such projects as the Columbia Theater and the Dr. Abner Alexander House.