The Woodrow Wilson Home in Columbia, SC is a little known landmark that happens to be the former home of – you guessed it- 28th President Woodrow Wilson. The Wilson family built the home in Columbia when Wilson was a teenager. Though they didn’t get to stay long, the house has served as a museum since the 1930’s and recently underwent a nine year renovation to restore it to the exact condition that it was in during Wilson’s stay.
The Woodrow Wilson House is South Carolina’s only Presidential site. Though Wilson was born in Virginia, he grew up in Augusta, Georgia, and the Wilsons planned to settle permanently in Columbia when his father Joseph accepted a job teaching at a Presbyterian Seminary. Jessie, Wilson’s mother, played a big role in the design of the Wilson house and gardens, with the actual architect being Andrew Jackson Downing. Wilson lived in the house during his early teenage years, during which the post-civil war South was undergoing the Reconstruction process. Unfortunately, Joseph Wilson got into a bit of a spat over some issues at the Seminary and he resigned and moved the family to North Carolina after only a couple of years in the home. Wilson’s sister Annie, however, settled in Columbia with her husband, so Wilson’s parents are buried in the city at the First Presbyterian Church.
The Wilson house was almost demolished several times, but has repeatedly been saved, and in 2005 was closed for major repairs. The house reopened again in February of this year. Historians restored the house to the condition it was in in 1871 and replanted some of Wilson’s mother’s gardens. Exhibits and tours on Wilson and Reconstruction were also put into place. Visitors to the home can see the bed that Wilson was born in (located in the home even though he was born in Virginia).