In 1823, Englishman Ainsley Hall and his Lower Richland County wife Sarah, hired Robert Mills to plan this stylish Classical Revival townhouse, one of few private residences he ever designed. Ainsley Hall died before the house was finished leaving a contested estate due to an outdated will. Ultimately, Sarah sold the mansion to the Presbyterian Synod of South Carolina and Georgia, which established a seminary there in 1831. Several influential pastors of the Presbyterian Church taught at the seminary including George Howe, Sr., who was instrumental in the institution's founding, Dr. Joseph R. Wilson, Woodrow Wilson's father, and Dr. James Woodrow, the future president's uncle, who held positions on the faculty. In 1927, the Columbia Theological Seminary moved to Decatur, Georgia, and the campus served the Westerveldt Academy and later the Columbia Bible College, until 1960. A major grassroots movement led to the founding of Historic Columbia Foundation, which saved the house from demolition in the early 1960s. After extensive restoration, the property opened in 1967 as an historic house museum.
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.
MEETINGS & EVENTS
If you desire a truly unique site for your next special event, consider the grounds of the Robert Mills House. Here your guests can stroll past a mansion designed by Robert Mills, a native Charlestonian who designed scores of landmark buildings throughout South Carolina and Washington, D.C.
With lush landscaping and ornate gardens set against one of the city's few National Historic Landmark properties, the Robert Mills House and Park provides a picturesque setting for your next special event.
*Event items such as tents, dance floors, linens, etc. are not included in rental fees and have to be rented separately.