Robert Mills Historic House and Park
The Robert Mills Historic House and Park is one of only five historic landmarks in Columbia. A Classical Revival-style brick mansion, the home sits on an entire city block of Blanding Street, not far from downtown.
Named for the architect who designed it, The Robert Mills home was originally built for the English merchant Ainsley Hall, who settled in Columbia in the early 1800s. However, Hall died before the home’s completion in 1823. It then changed hands several times over the years, operating at different periods as the Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Columbia Bible College and Winthrop (the South Carolina College for Women).
Today, the house represents a tribute to Mills’s architectural talents. Several of his signature design features are included in the house, including the use of arched windows with pilaster trim and Venetian windows on both floors of the two-storied home. Similarly, the entrance halls have curved ends to convey a sense of spaciousness in otherwise small places.
Inside the house museum are galleries featuring late 18th to mid-19th-century décor.
The outside of the Robert Mills Historic House is flanked by three outbuildings, including a carriage house. The landscape is modeled after English-style gardens complete with a sprawling lawn, 125-year-old magnolias, walking paths, trellises, and fountains. Tours are available of the house and gardens, and a variety of events and corporate events can be held on the property.
A native South Carolinian, Mills was the first federal architect. He designed the Washington Monument, the Treasury, the former Patent Office (now part of the Smithsonian Institution) and the wings of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, along with other structures including colleges, hospitals, bridges, asylums, and prisons.
In South Carolina, Mills is also credited with designing the courthouses in 18 counties, the campus of the University of South Carolina and many public buildings. He is also hailed as a supporter for the construction of fireproof buildings, which reportedly saved the county records in a public building in Kingstree after a fire occurred.
Over the years, Mills was in close contact with historical figures including Thomas Jefferson, who loaned him architectural books during the early part of his career. He also asked Jefferson for a personal recommendation when he was working to establish his own office in 1808.
The Robert Mills Historic House and Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
Driving Directions To Our Offices
It’s only a short drive from the Robert Mills Historic House and Gardens to Stewart Law Offices. Our address is 10 Calendar Court, Suite 100, in Columbia.
From the home, head east on Blanding Street.
In 0.4 miles, turn right onto Harden Street.
Continue and then turn left on Gervais Street.
Turn right on Trenholm Road.
Continue for 2.4 miles and turn right on Calendar Court. Our offices will be on the left.