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“N” is for Niernsee, John Randolph (1823-1885) and Frank McHenry Niernsee (1849-1899)

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“N” is for Niernsee, John Randolph (1823-1885) and Frank McHenry Niernsee (1849-1899). Architects. A native of Austria, John Niernsee immigrated to the United States in 1838 and soon established a reputation as a consultant for troubled building projects. In 1855 he became architect of the new state capitol in Columbia. The Civil War halted work on the building. In 1885, the legislature decided to complete the State House. Niernsee was reappointed architect but died shortly after returning to Columbia. Frank Niernsee was born in Baltimore, studied engineering at the University of Virginia and practiced architecture with his father. In 1882 he moved to Columbia and worked with a local firm that completed the interior of the State House. In addition to his work on the State House, Frank McHenry Niernsee had an active architectural practice in Columbia.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.