Each year before Thanksgiving, a small but dedicated band of elves decorates the Robert Mills House and Hampton-Preston Mansion for the holidays. Boxes of holly, poinsettias, and other Christmas decorations appear seemingly out of nowhere. Within a day, the houses are transformed into visions of festivities from generations long ago and soon it will be time for the annual Candlelight Tour.
Visitors taking tours during the holidays are in for a treat. For the second year, Historic Columbia offers a split tour that includes both houses during normal, daily tour times. This enables us to highlight the historical differences between Christmas during 1820s at the Mills House (hint- Christmas trees were not popular yet) and that of the pre-civil war era at the Hampton-Preston. Decoration history, favorite foods, and the evolution of Santa’s fashion are all part of this seasonal tour.
Historic Columbia’s house museums are ever-changing spaces. We invite you to some see for yourself their transformation for the holiday season and perhaps a chance to catch a glimpse of old Saint Nicholas.
Holiday House Tours— November 22–January 5, Robert Mills House and Hampton-Preston Mansion
Guests are invited to see a variety of holiday decorations and experience past traditions at the Robert Mills House and the Hampton-Preston Mansion between Friday, November 22 and Sunday, January 5. Tour guides will provide stories of holidays past in Columbia and discuss how families decorated and entertained during the 19th century.
Admission includes a guided tour of both the Robert Mills House and the Hampton-Preston Mansion. Tours will be offered Tuesday–Saturday at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4 p.m. Visit The Gift Shop at Robert Mills, located at 1616 Blanding Street, to purchase admission and begin your tour.
To schedule a group tour, call 803-252-1770 ext. 23 or email email@example.com.