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 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
In marking Historic Columbia’s 60th Anniversary, our staff are sharing reflections on the improvements and achievements at our historic sites and with our programs, only made possible through the support and dedication of donors, members, and volunteers who believe in HC’s purpose to preserve places and share complex stories. Over...