Wilson Home Renovation Efforts Recognized for 2014 SC Historic Preservation Honor Award
Richland County was among those recognized for efforts to preserve the Woodrow Wilson Family Home.
The County, which owns the historic house on Hampton Street, provided nearly $3 million in funding to restore the building. After years of renovations, the house reopened to the public in February. Governor Nikki Haley presented Richland County, Historic Columbia and John Milner Associates with the 2014 Historic Preservation Honor Award during a ceremony at the South Carolina Statehouse on Wednesday.
The Woodrow Wilson Family Home is South Carolina’s only presidential site.
The Wilson family lived in the house at 1705 Hampton St. from 1871 to 1874, when the future president was a teenager. The home opened as a presidential museum in 1933, and Historic Columbia became the property’s steward in 1968.
In 2005, Historic Columbia closed the Woodrow Wilson Family Home due to structural issues, including a failing roof, crumbling plaster and foundation problems due to water damage. Four years of in-depth research and $3.6 million in funding from grants, private donations and Richland County, resulted in an unprecedented comprehensive physical rehabilitation, which began in 2009 with the building’s exterior.
The architectural firm of John Milner Associates was brought in to perform an in-depth analysis of the entire property and structure, which culminated in an historic property report that featured a roadmap to rehabilitating the site according to Department of the Interior’s standards. The roof was replaced, historic gutters were repaired, and 92 percent of the foundation was replaced. Scientific analysis of the layers of paint on the house uncovered its original exterior and interior color scheme, and the current paint job is as close to that original scheme as possible.
Inside, renovations done by earlier property owners were removed, restoring the house to its original flow. The original floors and banisters were refinished, original tiles on each of the eight fireplaces were fixed, and period-appropriate light fixtures were purchased and installed. An outbuilding based on the property’s former carriage house also was built at the back of the grounds, featuring restrooms, storage areas and a catering kitchen.
The Woodrow Wilson Family Home: A Museum of Reconstruction in Columbia & Richland County re-opened to the public on Feb. 15.