Woodrow Wilson Family Home
The future U.S. president “Tommy” Woodrow Wilson lived in Columbia during a turning point in the South’s history — Reconstruction. In 1871, Wilson’s parents inherited money and built an Italian-style villa home, complete with a carriage house, kitchen house, privy and back and front gardens on Hampton Street.
Wilson only lived in the home for four years, while his father was a pastor of the neighboring Columbia Theological Seminary (now the Robert Mills House). Today, the Woodrow Wilson Family Home has been turned into the nation’s only museum interpreting the challenges of Reconstruction in the South. Historic Columbia calls the home “a reminder of how our city struggled to rebuild itself in the post-war era.”
The house avoided demolition in the 1920s and was opened as a museum in 1932. Its furnishings are sparse, most dating from the 1850s to the 1870s. Only a few pieces were owned by the family, including the bed that Woodrow Wilson was born on.
The Reconstruction period is dated to roughly 1865 to 1877. In South Carolina, the period was marked by tremendous political struggles over changes in racial and property rights in the post-war period. During this time, African Americans were becoming newly elected public officials for the first time and a new state constitution was passed in 1868. Sadly, violence was not uncommon, and the teenaged Wilson was uniquely situated in Columbia to see the changes unfold.
Panel exhibits, interactive exhibits and guided tours of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home delve deeper into this complicated history.
Architecturally, the home has been restored several times but still looks much the same as when it was first built. According to the S.C. Picture Project, the Woodrow Wilson Family Home contains gaslights of the period, 1870s oak grainings and the original iron mantels painted over to look like marble.
The gardens, believed to be designed by Wilson’s mother, Jessie, are dotted with a variety of plantings including roses, tea olives, crepe myrtles, cherry laurel, magnolias, and dogwood.
Guided tours of the home are available on Tuesdays through Sundays at certain times of the day. However, you can stroll the grounds without a tour.
Getting To Our Offices
The personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices are located in five throughout the Carolinas. In Columbia, you can find us at 10 Calendar Court, Suite 100.
From the Woodrow Wilson Family Home, head east on Hampton Street toward Barnwell Street.
Turn left at the second cross street onto Gregg Street.
Turn right at the first cross street onto Taylor Street.
Continue on to SC-12E/Forest Drive.
In 3 miles, turn right on Trenholm Road.
Turn left onto Calendar Court. Our offices are on the left.
Visit us or contact our office today!