(Columbia) - If you are driving down Garners Ferry Road, the Shoppes at Woodhill are hard to miss. Across the street, however, you could easily overlook the wooden gate that surrounds the historic Millwood Plantation.
"I grew up back here with my great grandparents," explained Finlay, who still calls the plantation home. "At that point, the city just came out this far."
Finlay shares Millwood's main home with his wife and three children. His mother's cottage and a guesthouse also sit on the expansive property, which has been in his mother’s family for more than 200 years. "It was just a house here on the place after the Civil War," said Finlay, pointing to his five-bedroom home. "It was moved up here. Our family has been living here and adding on ever since."
According to Finlay, Millwood's original mansion, which was owned by former Confederate Gen. Wade Hampton, was burned during the Civil War in 1865. "They're the remnants of the ruins of Wade Hampton's house," explained Finlay, pointing to several columns that stand in front of his home. "There are no existing pictures. There were some drawings, but there were no exact dimensions that survived."
Fast-forward 142 years, and Millwood remains a sprawling estate nestled among shade trees. There are three homes, horses, a gable, cows, goats and chickens on the property.
"I'm sure it was a cotton plantation, but it was everything from cotton to staple crops,” explained Finlay, who now considers Millwood to be a working farm.
Finlay says Millwood did not garner much attention until news spread of the president's visit. "You wake up, and there's a helicopter from a news station hovering over your house," said Finlay, who was asked to host the fundraiser for U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham that President Bush attended. "Only once in your lifetime, at best, do you have the president come to your house."