The Aiken-Rhett House 48 Elizabeth Street Charleston, SC 29403 Wraggborough Governors mansion Gov. William Aiken HouseRobinson-Aiken House
• Mazyck-Wraggborough was founded in the 18th century, after John Wragg inherited the land, 79 acres, from his father Joseph Wragg• John named the area “Wraggborough”• He died before developing the land, but planned it out in detail, plans that were carried out by his siblings• Hence, many of the streets in Mazyck- Wraggborough have Anglo names, such as oAlexander Street oAnn Street oChapel Street oCharlotte Street oElizabeth Street oJohn Street oJudith Street oMeeting Street (338-665) oWragg Square• The family lived within the borough for a time, and later donated tree-lined green spaces for public use, i.e.: o Wragg Square o Wragg Mall• areas still present in modern day time.
Location• Located above Calhoun Street on the Cooper River side of the Charleston peninsula• Mayzck-Wraggborough is near to the Upper King Street district• Historically rich, the borough is home to the Charleston Museum, also known as “America’s First Museum” founded in 1773• Famed for its size and fine interior furnishings, it is the most intact townhouse complex in downtown Charleston illustrating what antebellum life was like on the peninsula
• The Aiken-Rhett House was built for Charleston merchant John Robinson in 1820• A typical Charleston double house, the building consisted of a central hallway with two rooms on either side.• The front door was located on the Judith Street side of the house, where the piazza (a Charleston term for a double porch) is now locatedThe main floor ‘piazza’ of the Aiken-Rhett House overlooking the garden,with special triple-hung windowsproviding access to the outside from theDrawing Room.
•In 1833, the youngWilliam Aiken andhis new bride,Harriet Lowndes,decided to make thehouse their primaryresidencebegan an extensiverenovation of theproperty.•Three mainchanges took place: o the front entrance was moved o the first floor was reconfigured o a large addition was added to the house
• A tour of this historic property includes access to the outbuilding inhabited by Aiken slaves and their descendants• Inside the once lavish Greek revival mansion, you will see original 19th century interior finishes• Period finishings and paintings & sculptures connected by and belonging to the Aiken Rhett family• The Aiken’s high standards for elegant living and entertainment can be envisioned in each and every artifact preserved throughout Carriages on display at the Aiken-Rhett the house house in Charleston – preserved, not restored.• Visitors and residents alike can experience history
Aiken Rhett House Art gallery in Aiken-Rhett House in CharlestonAiken Rhett HouseDrawing Room in Aiken-Rhett House inCharleston
• The house exemplifies the changes which occurred in architectural Right Oblique design during the first half of the nineteenth century, reflecting late Federal period, Greek Revival, and Victorian period influences. Left Elevation• It is three stories high and is constructed of stucco over brick.• Quoins decorate the corners, while the basement level has been Left Rear Oblique scored to resemble stone.• The entrance façade was originally designated on that which is now the south (right side) façade.• It features a Doric double piazza Outbuilding of two-stories with a pediment at attic level.
• A semicircular fanlight graces the pediment while elaborate consoles with acanthus leaves accentuate either end.• The tin roof is hipped and the restrained cornice features modillions.• The structure was extensively altered ca. 1833 and a one-story wing designed as an art gallery was added in 1857-58.• Included within the nominated acreage are several outbuildings: - a large kitchen building containing three kitchens - workrooms - servant quarters on the second story• In addition to a stable - 2 Gothic style brick privies - 2 shed structures
• William Aiken Jr. died at his summer home in Flat Rock, NC. on 1887.• He left his property to his wife and daughter. Harriet Aiken continued to live in the house until her death in 1892.• Her daughter Henrietta, and son-in-law, Major A.B. Rhett, raised their four daughters and one son in the house.• Upon Henrietta’s death, the house was divided among her children. Two sons, I’On Rhett and Andrew Burnett Rhett Jr. continued to live in the house, though they made minimal alterations to the property in the 20th century.• In 1949, I’On Rhett and his wife, Frances Hinson Dill, purchased the interests of the other heirs.• Mrs. Rhett donated the property to The Charleston Museum in 1975.• The Charleston Museum owned the house until 1995, when Historic Charleston Foundation purchased it.• An extensive restoration of the hose’s exterior envelope was completed in 2009, when it was line washed to its original bright color. Listed in the National Register November 21, 1977