JL's Columbia SC Real Estate Blog: Columbia, SC Attractions - The Robert Mills House and Garden

Columbia, SC Attractions - The Robert Mills House and Garden

Columbia, SC Attractions - The Robert Mills House and Garden

Columbia, SC Attractions - The Robert Mills House and Garden


Located in downtown Columbia, SC, The Robert Mills House is one of only five National Historic Landmarks in Columbia.Designed by Robert Mills, the first architect born and trained in the United States, he was also the first Federal architect and served under seven presidents. The Mansion is one of the few residential designs in his portfolio which includes some of the most prominent buildings in the country as well as the Washington Monument in our nation's capital.

 Englishmen Ainsley Hall and his wife Sara from lower Richland, hired Mills to design this stunning classic revival townhouse in 1823. Unfortunately prior to the completion of the home, Ainsley Hall passed away near Virginia on a trip to visit Sara. He left a contested estate due to an outdated will in which he left Sara the Mansion across the street from the Robert Mills House, their previous home which he had already sold.

The Robert Mills House in Columbia SC

 Sara Hall eventually sold the home to The Presbyterian Synod of South Carolina and Georgia and they established the mansion as a seminary in 1831. Several of the most influential pastors of the Presbyterian Church taught at the seminary. George Howe, SR, who was instrumental in the founding of the institution, Dr. Joseph R. Wilson, Woodrow Wilson's Father, and Dr. James Woodrow, the future president's Uncle to name a few. In 1927 the Columbia Theological Seminary mover to Decatur, Georgia and the mansion served as the Westerveldt Academy and then the Columbia Bible College, which is still in Columbia today, until 1960.

 In 1960 the Robert Mills House was slated for demolition and was prepared to be torn down.A grass roots movement by local Columbians was started in order to save this priceless piece of American history. What came to be known as the Historic Columbia Foundation eventually succeeded is saving the home from destruction. After extensive renovation effort to return this beautiful home to it's former glory and grander, it was opened to the public as a historical house museum in 1967.

The Robert Mills house in Columbia SC

 Now thanks to the efforts of this wonderful foundation, the mansion which never really served as it's intended use of a home, is now open for all to see. Surrounded by old Oak Trees, sprawling green lawns, and with a 100 year old Magnolia on the back lawn, the grounds of the Robert Mills House are a sight to behold themselves. The garden with it's pebbled walkways, well manicured shrubs, and blooming flowers invite guests to stroll through or have a seat on one of the benches and soak in it's natural beauty.

 So if you're visiting Columbia, SC, or if you're already here and have yet to take the opportunity to come see this lovely piece of history, I implore you to take the time to pay the Robert Mills House a visit. Even if you're not a history buff, there is something powerful about taking a walk through time as you stroll the tour of this fascinating home and garden. It is well worth the visit.


Robert Mills House and Gardens in Columbia SC


The Robert Mills House and Garden is located at 1616 Blanding Street in downtown Columbia, SC. It is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm with the last tour at 3 pm. And on Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm with the last tour at 4 pm. Tours are every hour on the hour and take from 45 minutes to an hour to complete.

 Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, College Students, and active Military. $3 for youths age 6 to 17 and free children 5 and under.




Robert Mills HouseRobert Mills House









Robert Mills HouseRobert Mills House


JL Boney, III - Columbia, SC Realtor - Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate

 I specialize in Columbia, SC real estate and the surrounding areas, including Blythewood, SC, Kershaw County, Fairfield County, and Lexington, SC. If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in Columbia, SC or any of the surrounding areas, I would love the opportunity to speak with to see how I can help. Thanks for reading and feel free to contact me if I can be of service to you.

Office- 803-788-1450     Cell- 803-730-9601     Email- James_Boney@Yahoo.com

My Columbia SC Real Estate Website

My Columbia, SC Real Estate Blog



Subscribe to JL Boney's Columbia SC Real Estate Blog by Email


Comment balloon 16 commentsJL Boney, III • August 23 2009 03:50PM


You did a great job of presenting the many attractions in Columbia. It is interesting to learn that there are ao many interesting snd historical places to visit.





Posted by Team Honeycutt (Allen Tate) over 9 years ago

Betty- There are really a ton of great things here. I consider myself lucky to have so much history and so many unique attractions in my own back yard.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 9 years ago

This Columbia mansion is great looking JL and proves they don't make them like they used to.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 9 years ago

Gary- They really don't my friend. This one has some unique features thanks to it's storied architect and the pictures don't do it justice.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 9 years ago

JL - I really like this series.  The Robert Mills house looks like a great piece of history.  It's nice that you are telling everyone about it.  Too often, we forget about the great places in our home cities.  Or we think, there will be time to see something later.  Later comes and goes quickly. 

Posted by Erik Hitzelberger, Louisville - Middletown Real Estate (RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes) over 9 years ago


On my next visit to Columbia, I'll need to check out this wonderful piece of local history!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 9 years ago

Morning Jl, I love history and coupled with those exquisite grounds it looks to be a MUST when visiting your area. On the list it is next time I tag along with Ted and we motor up that way!

Posted by Cynthia Bartch, Redesigned Spaces; All Round Nice Gal (Home Stager/Property Stylist & more! Granville, Ohio) over 9 years ago

JL:  This reminds me of a house (I think it was the Dunbarton House) in Georgetown that I toured as a late elementary school age kid. 

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 9 years ago

Erik- Through continuing this series I find myself reconnecting with attractions in town that I have not gone to for some time. This may end up being a very long series for me.

Richard- You're a history buff like me, so I am sure thatyou would enjoy checking this place out as well as the other historic home museums close by. One is directly across the street from the Robert Mills House.

Cynthia- I am a huge fan of history myself, especially when you can visit a piece of it in person. This one is a great spot to visit.

Chris Ann- I recognize the name of the house you mention, but I have never been there. However, I have visited many other historic homes in the low country.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 9 years ago

JL -- I have been to the Robert Mills House and gardens --- just beautiful. Thanks for the great post.

Mama Liz's Signature

Posted by Liz Loadholt, Realtor--Broker-in-charge - Trainer--Relocation Director Covering SC (Liz Loadholt- AgentOwned Realty- Covering SC) over 9 years ago

Liz- I'm glad you have seen it for yourself, it's really a wonderful place.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 9 years ago

Great photo and wonderful info.  It's amazing the things that are right in our own backyards, if we just take a monment to look and learn.  I love these posts you've been doing, a little taste of Columbia!  Thanks.

Posted by Laura Giannotta, Your Realtor Down the Shore! (Keller Williams Realty - Atlantic Shore ) over 9 years ago

JL...nice work conering all of the sites.  Your last few posts have been wonderful!

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 9 years ago

Laura- It really is amazing what we have right in our own city. I am enjoying revisiting these places to write about them.

Bill- Thank you very much my friend, I will try to keep them up.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 9 years ago

Hi JL-You do have some very beautiful places in SC. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job of showing us what your town has to offer. Hope you have been doing well. <SMILE>

Posted by Sharon Lee, Retired and loving life (Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance) over 9 years ago

Sharon- Thank you for stopping in and reading.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 9 years ago