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6 amazing historic homes in SC you should visit before you die

tglantz@thestate.com

Home is where the heart is, and that’s especially true in the history of the Palmetto State.

South Carolina hosts magnificent churches and stunning plantations that show the state’s pride and heritage. Preservation efforts across the state pay homage to architectural wonders from the 18th to 20th centuries.

One of them, Auldbrass, a home designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, will host a tour for the public Nov. 9-11. Tickets go on sale Wednesday for Open Land Trust members and Thursday for the general public, but tickets might be hard to come by if you don’t act fast.

Here are six other historic South Carolina homes you can visit:

Kaminski House Museum

Nestled in the port city of Georgetown, this home belonged to one of the first families to settle on the South Carolina coast. Georgetown is home to many pre-Revolutionary War homes and plantations, but Kaminski stands out because of its observation deck overlooking the Sampit River.

Tours begin at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Stop by and make sure to grab a souvenir at the museum shop.

Woodrow Wilson Home

Former U.S. president Woodrow Wilson used to call this Italian villa-style house home. In Columbia, the home is the only one dedicated to interpreting the post-Civil War Reconstruction period, and South Carolina’s only remaining presidential site, according to Historic Columbia.

Wilson’s parents built the home in 1871, and it was the only one they ever owned.

Today, the home has been transformed into a museum both for Wilson’s beginnings and 21st-century exhibits showcasing the racial, social and political landscape of Columbia and Richland County during the Reconstruction era.

You can tour the house through Historic Columbia from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.

Robert Mills House

You might have guessed by the name, but this beautiful home was designed by none other than Robert Mills — an architect commonly known for designing the Washington Monument. This Columbia landmark is one of only five national historic landmarks in the city, but it went by a different name when it was first built.

In 1823, the home was known as the Ainsley Hall House. It was intended to be a townhome for English merchant Ainsley Hall and his wife, Sarah Hall. However, he died before the house was finished, and the mansion was sold to the Presbyterian Synod of South Carolina and Georgia, which later established a seminary there.

The home was saved from demolition in 1961 and, with extensive restoration efforts, opened in 1967 as a historic house museum.

You can tour the home from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Drayton Hall

If you want to know how plantation houses from the 1700s and 1800s looked, Drayton Hall should be your first stop in South Carolina. It’s has a 13-mile drive from downtown Charleston, but the perfect preservation and beautiful grounds are worth the trip.

Preservation efforts that span decades made this place a U.S. historic landmark. Instead of simply restoring the home, Drayton Hall was stabilized to look exactly as it did in the 1700s and 1800s. Those efforts have made Drayton the oldest preserved plantation house in America.

Tours include a beautiful self-guided tour of the grounds where you can walk along the Ashley River and see an 18th-century African-American cemetery. You can also take a 50-minute narrated tour within the home and explore a collections gallery.

Enter the South’s past Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Middleton Place

Beautiful gardens, adorable sheep and goats and a house filled with rich history showing an 18th-century charm — what’s not to love about visiting this rice plantation? The National Historic Landmark is massive, with 65 acres of America’s oldest landscaped gardens along the Ashley River.

Visiting Middleton is a walk back in time to to the 1700s and 1800s. The grounds even have a blacksmith, carpentry and pottery shop to transport you back.

Tour the grounds and house museum from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. any day.

Rose Hill Mansion

This beautiful Bluffton mansion was built in the late 1850s by planter and physician Dr. John Kirk and his wife, Caroline. The home was a wedding gift for the newlyweds, but they sadly never saw it completely finished. The Civil War forced the couple to retreat to Grahamville, and the poor economy made it difficult to complete the interior.

Still, the home is known as the most beautiful plantation home in the Lowcountry and survived new ownership and a 1987 fire, according to the Rose Hill Mansion site.

Today, the home is known as a popular wedding destination — not surprising since the home itself was a wedding gift — and visitors can tour it at 2 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

If you’re looking for a wedding venue or just want to see one of the most beautiful parts of the Lowcountry’s history, you have to stop by.

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