History and horticulture at Historic Columbia's Hampton-Preston Mansion site
In 1961, the Historic Columbia Foundation was formed. It's goal: to save the the 135-year-old Robert Mills House from demolition and restore it. Over 60 years later, the Foundation manages six properties and continues to embrace new opportunities to preserve places and share complex stories from the past that connect vistors of varied backgrounds with history while inspiring a hopeful future.
Historic Columbia’s Boyd Foundation Horticultural Center, located on the grounds of the Hampton-Preston Mansion & Gardens on Blanding Street opened this year. Its greenhouse allows the historic site to serve as a hub for horticultural research and plant propagation, alongside ongoing interpretation, and programming. The greenhouse and gatehouse constructions are based on historic structures that once stood on the property. And, the greenhouse facility serves as a space to interpret the role that an extensive workforce of gardeners and horticulturists – Black, white, enslaved, and free – have played in shaping this site for over 200 years.
John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources for Historic Columbia, and Keith Mearns, Director of Grounds, talk with Walter Edgar about planning and building the Horticultural Center and about the ways it enriches the mansion’s grounds.