200 Years at Hampton-Preston
2018 marked the 200th anniversary of the Hampton-Preston Mansion. To commemorate this milestone, the site underwent a holistic rehabilitation and now features an updated interpretation, new exhibits, hands-on interactive elements, expanded public gardens, a new exterior paint scheme and further improvements to the site’s structure and grounds. Learn more about this project and the next phase of capital repairs.
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 site is owned by Richland County and managed by Historic Columbia.
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. 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
Toured Hampton-Preston Mansion in Columbia this morning. Historic Columbia just reopened the site after major interpretive renovation. The enslaved experience is now highlighted throughout tour and on text panels. They’ve put real time and effort into this, and that’s commendable. —Whitney Nell Stewart