Aiken-Rhett House Museum


Aiken-Rhett House Museum

Twelve. Aiken-Rhett House Museum

48 Elizabeth Street (The Boroughs)
CharlestonSC  29403
(843) 723-1159

Monday - Saturday: 10:00a - 5:00p (last tour begins at 4:15p).
Sunday: 2:00p - 5:00p (last tour begins at 4:15p).

The Aiken-Rhett House was built in 1820 by John Robinson and was a typical Charleston double house with a central hallway and two rooms on each side. When Robinson lost five ships at sea in 1825, he was forced to sell the house to meet his financial obligations. Subsequently, it became the property of William Aiken Sr. in 1827.

Aiken was an Irish immigrant who accumulated a large fortune as one of the city's leading merchants. Mr. Aiken used the house as a rental property. When he died suddenly in a carriage accident, his vast holdings were divided between his wife, Henrietta Wyatt Aiken, and his only son, William Aiken Jr.

In 1833,  William Aiken, Jr. and his new bride, Harriet Lowndes, decided to make the house their primary residence. There were extensive renovations to the property. The main changes were: The front entrance was moved, the first floor was reconfigured and a large addition was built onto the house. After the renovations were complete the house was considered to be one of the most impressive residences in Charleston.