Woodrow's Wilson's SC house gets state boost

Legislature overturns governor veto of $250,000 to promote Columbia site
Woodrow Wilson's Columbia home



COLUMBIA — Money to promote the Woodrow Wilson Family Home in Columbia was saved Wednesday when lawmakers overrode a veto by Gov. Nikki Haley.

Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, said the $250,000 would be used in partnership with the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for a national marketing campaign.

The Woodrow Wilson House, the only presidential home in the state, reopened in February after more than $3 million in renovations funded by public and private contributions. The property is owned by Richland County and had been closed for nearly 10 years.

Sen. Greg Gregory, R-Lancaster, was among the eight senators who voted to sustain Haley’s veto of the funding. Aiken County Republicans Tom Young and Shane Massey also voted no.

“Do you think it’s right to be underfunding the local government fund by tens of millions of dollars, yet we’re carving out an earmark for this particular project?” said Gregory.

In her veto message, Haley expressed a similar view.

“In each of our communities, we have historic sites, museums, and cultural centers that could benefit from a renovation, refreshed exhibits, or new artifacts,” she wrote. “The right way to finance these undertakings is by selling memberships, collecting admissions fees, and soliciting philanthropic support. The wrong way to do it is by earmarking state funds to choose one site over another to support.”

After moving to Columbia from Augusta, the Wilson family spent $7,000 in 1871 to build the 4,000-square-foot house on Hampton Street. In 1874, the family moved to North Carolina after selling the Columbia house two years later and losing $3,850 in the process. America’s 28th president was 14 when he lived there.

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