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Historic Columbia holds Dollar Day on August 17

The Robert Mills House was the home of the Columbia Theological Seminary for almost 100 years, from the 1830s to the 1920s
The Robert Mills House was the home of the Columbia Theological Seminary for almost 100 years, from the 1830s to the 1920s
photo by author

In this era of trying to do more with less, Historic Columbia has come up with a neat idea. On the third Sunday of every month the foundation holds“Dollar Sunday”where admission to their three historic homes is just $1. This month, the third Sunday is August 17. This offer is good for residents of Richland and Lexington Counties. However, if you tour more than one house,regular general admission fees apply. The four homes are:

The Robert Mills House: Built in 1823, the Robert Mills House was supposed to be the home of Ainsley Hall, a prominent merchant at the time, however, he died while the house was under construction. Subsequently, it served as an educational institution from the 1820s to the 1960s. First as the Columbia Theological Seminary until the 1920s, then as Westervelt Academy, a boarding school for missionary children and then as the Columbia Bible College, now known as Columbia International University.The house is furnished in period style but there is only one item that is connected to the Hall family. Ask your docent what it is!

The Mann-Simons Site: Located on the corner of Richland and Marion Streets, this house is of particular significance to the African-American community. Unlike the other HC homes, which were or would have been homes to Columbia’s planter and merchant elite, the Mann-Simons Site was home to middle class families like tailors and seamstresses. Celia Mann, the namesake of the house, was a free black woman who made her way from Charleston to Columbia. Her family occupied this house from the 1870s to the 1970s. The site now contains ghost structures showing the location of outbuildings in or about 1900 and wayside signage detailing the lifestyles of African-Americans.

The Hampton-Preston Mansion: The Hampton-Preston Mansion was built in 1818 and is one of the oldest homes in Columbia. It was the home of Wade Hampton I, grandfather of Civil War general and politician Wade Hampton III. After it was sold in 1873, it went through a number of incarnations, most notably a women's college from 1890-1930.

The Woodrow Wilson Family Home: Recently reopened after a 9-year restoration, the Wilson home not only deals with the Wilson's time in Columbia during the 1870s, but also with Reconstruction and its effects on Columbia and South Carolina.

Tours are offered from 1-5 p.m. with the last tour at 4 p.m.Tickets for all house tours may be purchased at the Museum Shop on the campus of the Robert Mills House at 1616 Blanding Street. For further information, please call 803-252-1770 ex 23 or email

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