The William Baker House was built around 1830 in the style of the Greek Revival. The house features a full length piazza and gabled second story partico. The interior displays exacting workmanship of the period. Built high on a hill, the house lends one a commanding view of the City of Columbia, South Carolina.


Built by William Baker lll, a shoemaker by trade, the house remained in the family until after the War Between the States. In the year of 1865, General Sherman's invading army made their way through South Carolina and after striking Sandy Run, the army found the William Baker House and ordered the family to sleep in the attic as they took over the entire house as their living quarters for an evening of rest. The next morning and as the army began to pack and leave, General Sherman ordered the house be burned to the ground, leaving a few of the troops behind to finish the job before their departure. Devastated, the family pleaded to the northerners that they spare the house. After learning that one of the young daughters was a musician, they demanded her to play the piano in the front room, as they had not heard music in a long while. After entertaining the northerners with a song "Dixie", playing it several times, they departed without burning the house to the ground.


I stumbled upon the William Baker House in the year of 2010 while exploring the southern landscape off of HWY 26. I was immediately struck by it's eerie presence and I wondered about the stories it contained. After receiving permission from the current owner, I ventured inside to photograph it's interior. Walking through one of the only houses spared by Sherman's men, I found a sense of beauty and mystique in the cracks and corners that hid between the shadows and light of this three-story structure. Even in it’s most current and crumbling state, I could see where the builder put enormous effort and craft into it. As another component to this project, I brought along others who may or may not have felt the same exact emotions I felt, but one emotion that was evident in their body language was an overwhelming sense of seclusion and melancholy.


This project was my first experience using medium format film and processing prints in a darkroom.


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