Probably built originally as a one-room house on the corner of Marion and Richland streets about 1825 or 1830, the Mann-Simons Cottage evolved over the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to better accommodate the changing needs and tastes of its family members.
A native Charlestonian, Celia Mann was born into slavery in 1799. It is unknown how or when she gained her freedom. According to family legend, she walked from the port city to Columbia where she earned a living as a free-black midwife. Evidence associates Mann with the cottage property as early as 1844.
Mann had four daughters, but in her will she left the majority of her property and the cottage to her youngest daughter, Agnes Jackson, who lived there with her family until her own death in 1907. Later owners included Charles Simons and his wife Amanda Green Simons, whose niece Bernice Robinson Connors, inherited the cottage in 1960 and sold it to the Columbia Housing Authority in 1970. A grassroots movement in 1970 helped preserve the cottage as an historic site, which opened as a house museum in 1978.
All house tours begin at the top of the hour. The last tour is one hour before closing time. Purchase all house tickets in the Museum Shop on the grounds of the Robert Mills House, 1616 Blanding Street. Admission is free to all children under 6 years old and all Historic Columbia Foundation members.