One of Columbia's oldest remaining structures, the Hampton-Preston Mansion explores the lives of enslaved workers and their planter-class owners.
Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens
Wealthy Columbia merchant Ainsley Hall and his wife, Sarah, had this mansion built in 1818. They lived here briefly, until 1823, when Ainsley sold it to Wade Hampton I, who was known as one of the South's richest planters. For the next 50 years, the estate grew to be Columbia's grandest residence under the Hampton and Preston families and the many men, women and children they enslaved. In the 100 years following the Civil War, the mansion and its touted gardens hosted many different owners, including colleges and a tourist home. After an extensive rehabilitation, the property opened to the public in 1970 as an historic site.
The Hampton and Preston families ensured that the four-acre grounds around the mansion signaled their extensive wealth and influence. Through enslaved labor the landscape was transformed into regionally-acclaimed gardens that contained a remarkable collection of native varieties and plants from around the world. One of Columbia's most heavily documented historic estates, Historic Columbia is recreating the gardens in the spirit and design of the antebellum era. The second phase of this transformation is schedule for completion in May 2018. Learn more about the restoration of the Hampton-Preston gardens. Learn more about the garden's rehabilitation.
Did you know?
Historic Columbia maintains a permanent collection of more than 6,500 historic artifacts spanning the 18th, 19th and early-20th centuries, including a growing collection of locally made or used textiles, decorative arts, fine art, tools, and historic images. Learn more
At Historic Columbia, we have the great responsibility of being the stewards of the unique Richland County-owned site that is Hampton-Preston. Since reopening the Woodrow Wilson Family Home in 2014, our organization has shown an unwavering commitment to tell a more complete and inclusive history at all the sites that...