"N" is for Niernsee, John Randolph [1823-1885] and Niernsee, Francis McHenry [1849-1899]. Architects. John Niernsee was the principal architect for the design and construction of the South Carolina State House. His son Frank followed in his father's footsteps by finishing the interior of the State House and operating a successful architectural practice in Columbia. In 1855 the elder Niernsee came to take charge of the troubled new State House project, but his work stopped by the Civil War. In the 1880s, the legislature decided to resume work on the building and re-hired John Randolph Niernsee, but he died shortly after returning to Columbia. In 1888 Frank Niernsee was hired to complete the interior of the building and did so within two years. Frank Niernsee designed a number of churches, schools, and private residences in Columbia.