Allen University Moves Historic President’s House Two Blocks to Make Room for New Dormitories

The Mance House in Columbia, South Carolina, was built in 1903. Robert Weston Mance, then-president of historically black Allen University, moved into the house in 1922. He and his family lived there for 35 years. Subsequently, three other Allen University presidents lived in the house.

Over the past decade, the house was used for storage and was in need of repair. The university planned to build new dormitories on the site to provide critically needed housing for nearly 500 students. But preservationists wanted to save the Mance House because of its historic value to the university and the community. So last month Allen University paid $116,000 to move the house two blocks away. The 7,000-square-foot home was moved in one piece by truck.

The university now plans to spend $100,000 to renovate the structure so that it can once again serve as the residence of the university president.