Located at 1705 Hampton Street in downtown Columbia, the Woodrow Wilson Family Home is South Carolina’s only presidential historic site. A young Woodrow Wilson, nicknamed “Tommy” as a child, lived at the home when he was just 14 years old. His father, Dr. Joseph Wilson was a professor at Columbia Theological Seminary for four years (1870 – 1874).
The circa-1872 Italian villa-style property is currently undergoing rehabilitation, but open for hard-hat tours on the first Tuesday of every month at 11 am. Those interested in taking the tour should meet at the Museum Shop, located just a block away at the Robert Mills House (1616 Blanding Street). Walk-ins are welcome – the next tour will be held March 6.
A virtual room interpretation of the home is also available online at www.woodrowwilsonfamilyhome.com. Many, if not most, tours of 19th-century historic house sites in the South begin at the front door of the main house where public spaces are viewed. Tours of service areas, including outbuildings, if they remain, may or may not follow. Often the roles of African Americans and others associated with the site’s day-to-day domestic activities are under-represented, if discussed at all. Through this virtual tour of the Woodrow Wilson Family Home, Historic Columbia Foundation hopes to expose visitors to these often neglected aspects of southern history. Evidence in building design, historic artifacts, newspapers, and images highlight the roles that African Americans and the advent of new technology had on shaping domestic work during the Reconstruction era of the mid-1860s through mid-1870s.
About the home, John Sherrer, Director of Culatural Resources says, “The Woodrow Wilson Family Home is a vital link between past and present.” He goes on to say, “the Wilson family came to Columbia at a pivotal moment in the history of the city and the nation – in the crucible of Reconstruction.”
Historic Columbia Foundation manages the Woodrow Wilson Family Home and six other historic properties in Columbia, including the Robert Mills House, Hampton-Preston Mansion and Mann-Simons Site. House Museums are open Tues-Sunday for guided tours. More information may be found at historiccolumbia.org or by calling 803-252-1770.