Reopening of Wilson's Columbia home delayed

COLUMBIA - Even dead presidents are feeling the pinch of the recession.

 

Renovations to Columbia's Woodrow Wilson Family Home, where the Wilsons lived after they left Augusta, have been postponed a year because of funding shortfalls.

"We've had some smaller gifts come in but nothing that's put enough of a dent in the total to allow us to move forward with the second phase," said Robin Waites, the director of the Historic Columbia Foundation, which is managing the project.

Veterans Day 2012 is the opening date for the Victorian-style home of the 28th president, but Waites said it's hard to put a definite deadline on the project.

Wilson, who was born in Virginia in 1856, moved with his family to Augusta in 1858 and into the house on the corner of Telfair and Seventh streets in 1860.

The home in Augusta was renovated in 2001 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2008.

They built the home in Columbia in 1872 and Wilson lived there until 1874.

The renovation at 1705 Hampton St. is estimated to cost $3.3 million, and the foundation still has to raise about $1.5 million.

Renovations have been supported by Richland County, a Save America's Treasures grant from the National Parks Service and private donations.

The first of three phases was completed at the end of last year, said Christopher Quirk, the senior preservation architect for John Milner Associates Inc., which has been involved with the foundation for three years. The first phase repaired the house's exterior, Quirk said.

Phase II will focus on mechanical and electrical upgrades.

The third phase of the project will be a reinterpretation of the gardens and grounds, Quirk said.