Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens

Tour the premises and learn about the aristocratic residents who lived in this impressive mansion with a restored landscape garden.

Home to its namesake families, the Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens is among the oldest and most majestic complexes in Columbia. It had many uses over the centuries after being built in 1818. Admire the Greek-revival design of the façade as you approach this elegant and imposing structure.

Notice the eight columns that hold up the stylish terrace at the front of this house. An outdoor staircase brings you to the lower floor and a pediment marks the top of the mansion.

Enter the house for a trip back in time via the period décor of the rooms. Take a guided tour to learn about the families who resided here. The exhibits portray the look and feel of the mansion between 1810 and 1910. Peruse the award-winning Home to Many People exhibit on urban slavery and the development of this mansion structure.

Wander through the picturesque gardens, which cover an area of 4 acres (1.6 hectares) around the house. Admire the design of the restored antebellum gardens that resemble the 19th-century plan by Mary Cantey Hampton and her daughter Caroline Hampton Preston. Stroll along the paths winding through the dense, green forest and listen to birdcalls.

Learn about the intriguing history of this house, which served over time as a governor’s mansion, a Union Army base and part of an educational institution. It was built in the Federal style by affluent local merchant Ainsley Hall at the beginning of the 19th century.

Purchase entrance tickets from the gift shop in the nearby Robert Mills House. Bring young children for free and get discounts for youths. Guided tours take place several times daily Tuesday through Sunday.

Hampton-Preston Mansion and Gardens is in the central part of Columbia. Ride a bus to one of the stops in this downtown district. Walk to the many nearby attractions, such as Finlay Park, the First Baptist Church and the Gonzales Gardens.


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