South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

Chinaberry, Aiken County (441 York St., Aiken)
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Left Oblique Left Rear Oblique Right Rear Oblique Right Elevation Main Entrance
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Living Room
Dining Room

(Williams-Converse House) Thought to have been built ca. 1824 for William W. Williams, Chinaberry incorporates materials and methods of construction characteristic of an early nineteenth century Carolina farmhouse, and is the only known surviving landmark in Aiken associated with the founding of the town in the mid-1830s. Dr. William Williams was a locally prominent individual, who in addition to being a planter, served in the South Carolina House of Representatives (1830-1831). Also, local tradition indicates that this house was a focal point for activity during a Civil War skirmish in February 1865. In the 1920s, during Aiken’s heyday as a resort for wealthy sports-loving Northerners, who called themselves Aiken’s “Winter Colony,” John W. Converse purchased and modified Chinaberry for use as a winter residence. Converse was a prominent member of Pennsylvania society and was involved in many different corporations. A well-known polo player in the early days of the sport, he built stables adjacent to his home which he called Chinaberry. A two and one-half story wood frame residence covered with weatherboard, Chinaberry is set on a low brick foundation. After Converse acquired the property in 1926, he reversed the plan of the house, with the front now facing southwest. Chinaberry represents a synthesis of early nineteenth century construction and design with twentieth century Colonial Revival elements. Also within the nominated acreage is a L-shaped weatherboard building with gable roof and cupola, constructed ca. 1930 by Converse, and containing apartments and a stable. Listed in the National Register March 29, 1982.

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