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Herbert DeCosta, Jr.

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Information about Herbert DeCosta, Jr.

Profile image of Herbert DeCosta, Jr.

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Construction Chief Executive
Architect

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Beige
Favorite Food:
Chicken, Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Europe, South Africa
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/17/1923
Birth Location:
Charleston, South Carolina

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Construction Chief Executive
Architect

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Beige
Favorite Food:
Chicken, Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Europe, South Africa
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/17/1923
Birth Location:
Charleston
See how Herbert DeCosta, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Architect and building contractor Herbert Alexander DeCosta, Jr. was born on March 17, 1923 in Charleston, South Carolina to Herbert A. DeCosta, Sr. and Julia Craft DeCosta. DeCosta’s interest in architecture began when he was thirteen years old while working for the family construction business which was founded in 1899 by his grandfather Benjamin DeCosta. He graduated high school from the Avery Institute in Charleston in 1940 and went on to receive his B.A. degree from Iowa State College in architectural engineering in 1944.

Prior to joining the family business in 1947, DeCosta worked as an architectural engineer for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, now known as NASA). He returned to the DeCosta Company as Vice President and became President, serving there until his retirement in 1989. Under his leadership, the company undertook major renovation projects to preserve the historical landscape of Charleston and other areas. One of his most notable projects was the restoration of the Herndon Mansion in Atlanta, Georgia. This mansion was owned by one of the wealthiest African American men in America, Alonzo Herndon, founder of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company.

The H.A. DeCosta Company was named one of the top 100 black businesses in the nation by Black Enterprise magazine in 1979. Upon his retirement in 1989, DeCosta continued to be active in the field of preservation as a restoration consultant and project manager.

DeCosta’s work has been featured in various magazines and newspapers across the country. He has received various awards and recognitions for his contribution to Charleston, including South Carolina’s Governor’s Award and the Frances R. Edmunds Award for Historic Preservation. DeCosta passed away on December 28, 2008.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Herbert DeCosta, Jr.'s interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his maternal great-grandparents' escape from slavery
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his maternal great-grandparents' life as freemen
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. talks about his maternal relatives
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers his maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his mother's upbringing and personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his maternal ancestors
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his father's career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. recalls his father's contracting business
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his neighborhood in Charleston, South Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers his early education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers the Avery Normal Institute in Charleston, South Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his experiences at the Avery Normal Institute
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. recalls the music curriculum at the Avery Normal Institute
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his extracurricular activities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his decision to attend the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his college housing, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his college housing, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. recalls his upbringing in a wealthy family
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. recalls his influences at the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. recalls his early career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. recalls joining his father's construction business
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers his construction projects, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers his construction projects, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers his construction projects, pt. 3
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his renovation work throughout the South
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers the Citizens Committee of Charleston County
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his civil rights activities
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. remembers the assassinations of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. talks about his organizational involvement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his daughters
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. talks about his marriage
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. talks about selling his construction company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes his advice to future generations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Herbert DeCosta, Jr. narrates his photographs