Constructed around 1820 by Charleston merchant John Robinson, the Aiken-Rhett House is perhaps one of the city’s most atmospheric piles, an elegantly decayed mansion purchased by Irish immigrant-made-good William Aiken, Sr. in 1827. Taking over the property in 1833, his son (who served as state governor from 1844–46), William Aiken, Jr., and wife Harriet Lowndes, transformed it into one of the grandest residences in Charleston with crystal and bronze chandeliers, classical sculpture, paintings, and antiques. Harriet died in 1892, after which the house was inherited by her daughter Henrietta, and her son-in-law, Major A.B. Rhett. The Aiken’s personal art gallery was beautifully restored in 2014, furnished with many of the original works the couple purchased on their tour of Europe in 1858. Original outbuildings include the kitchens, laundry, slave quarters (the Aiken’s had up to 14 slaves working at the house), carriage house and stables, privies, and cattle sheds.
- Frommer's Staff