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

Governor William Aiken House, Charleston County (48 Elizabeth St., Charleston)
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Facade Right Oblique Left Elevation Left Rear
Elevation
Rear Elevation
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Rear Elevation
Detail
Rear Entrance Entrance
Left Elevation
Outbuilding Interior
Entrance Hall
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Interior
Drawing Room

(Aiken-Rhett House) The Governor William Aiken House is significant both in terms of its architecture and its history. The main portion of the Governor William Aiken House was erected ca. 1820 by John Robinson, a merchant. In 1827, William Aiken, Sr. acquired the house. Aiken was president of the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company and was a member of the state House of Representatives from 1824 until his death in 1831. After his father’s death, William Aiken, Jr. acquired the property. A rice planter, Aiken served in the state House of Representatives (1838-1841), as well as in the state Senate (1842-1844). From 1844 to 1846 he served as Governor of South Carolina, and later served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1851-1857). The house exemplifies the changes which occurred in architectural design during the first half of the nineteenth century, reflecting late Federal period, Greek Revival, and Victorian period influences. It is three stories high and is constructed of stucco over brick. Quoins decorate the corners, while the basement level has been scored to resemble stone. The entrance fašade was originally designated on that which is now the south (right side) fašade. It features a Doric double piazza 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, and servant quarters on the second story, in addition to a stable, two Gothic style brick privies, and two shed structures. Listed in the National Register November 21, 1977.

View the complete text of the nomination form for this National Register property.

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