top of page
  • Writer's pictureNancy Rogers

Robert Mills House

The Robert Mills House is one of only five National Historic Landmarks in Columbia, SC, according to the Historic Columbia Foundation website. But I know the house because I used to conduct tours there.

It didn't start out as the Mills House; it's construction was commissioned in 1823 by a young Columbia merchant named Ainsley Hall, along with his wife, Sarah. The house was intended to be a showcase, the grand home for a young power couple.

Things didn't work out as planned, however. Ainsley Hall died, possibly of appendicitis, during a business trip to Baltimore or Philadelphia (I can't remember which). I do remember, however, that he was mistress. Even so, Sarah Hall saw to it that his headstone was the height of fashion.

Sarah attempted to continue the house's construction, but was eventually more or less defeated because her husband's financial situation was a mess AND she was a mere woman during a time when women had few legal rights, especially when it came to a half-completed mansion.

The house was eventually completed, but Sarah probably never lived there. The mansion eventually became college campuses for three different religious organizations, including a Presbyterian theological seminary where Woodrow Wilson's father once taught.

So why is the structure called the Robert Mill's House? Because Robert Mills designed the mansion. Mills was one of America's first native-born architects and he was , although he designed very few private homes. He is most famous for designing courthouses, a number of federal buildings in Washington, D.C. the nation's first post office and a number of fireproof buildings including the historical society building in Mill's hometown of Charleston.

Mills also designed the Washington Memorial, although he died in1855, long before it was completed in 1885, following the War of the Confederacy.

Below is another wooden cut out Christmas ornament and it looks exactly like the Mill's House. If you're ever in Columbia, you should visit the house. It is such a wonderful example of the period and it is surrounded by beautiful period gardens.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page