The Pickens-Salley House in Aiken was built around 1829 in Edgefield County by former Governor Andrew Pickens, Jr., for his son, Francis Pickens. The younger Pickens, who would also serve South Carolina as governor, called his home Edgewood.
Governor Francis Pickens led South Carolina during its secession from the Union and also served as an ambassador to Russia. Though Governor Pickens and his wife, Lucy, lost almost everything after the Civil War, they lived out their years in Edgewood. The house still features two crystal chandeliers that were gifts to Governor and Mrs. Pickens from the Czar and Czarina of Russia.
Over the decades following the death of Lucy Pickens in 1899, the home fell into disrepair. Women’s rights advocate Eulalie Salley purchased the blighted house in 1929 and moved it to Aiken, where she had it restored to its stately grandeur. She lived in the home until her death in 1975. In 1987 the house was deeded to the University of South Carolina at Aiken, and it was moved a second time in 1989. Now sitting on campus, the house serves as offices for the university.
The Pickens-Salley House is listed in the National Register:
(Edgewood) The Pickens house is reputed to have been built in 1829 by Governor Andrew Pickens for his son Francis W. Pickens, who called the home Edgewood. Abandoned and in a state of disrepair, the house was moved from near Edgefield to Kalmia Hill in Aiken in 1929 by Eulalie Chafee Salley. Salley was a prominent Aiken businesswoman and leader of the women’s rights movement. The house is significant for its association with her contributions to Aiken and women’s rights. The Pickens House is also a fine example of early nineteenth century backcountry plantation architecture, and although it has been moved it still carries an association with Governor F. W. Pickens and his family.
The rebuilding and restoration by Byron Hair, contractor and Willis Irvin, architect are significant in their own right. Irregular-shaped in plan, the Pickens House is sheathed with weatherboard, except under the roof of the front porch, where it has flushboard siding. The complex gable roof, which is covered with composition shingles, features boxed cornices with returns. A central projecting five-bay pavilion and flanking wings characterizes the symmetrical façade. The Pickens House was moved again ca. 1990 to the campus of the University of South Carolina at Aiken.
Leave a Reply