The Kaminski House Museum sits between the Sampit River and Front Street in historic Georgetown. The home was built in 1769 by wealthy merchant Paul Trapier – sometimes called the “King of Georgetown.” Trapier moved to Georgetown from Berkeley County to open a small shop. He formed partnerships as his business grew and became heavily involved in shipping. Trapier turned to politics in 1776 and was elected the following year to the Second Continental Congress, but unfortunately he died before being able to serve.
The house took on the Kaminski name when it was purchased in 1931 by Harold and Julia Kaminski. The son of Heiman Kaminski, one Georgetown’s most affluent merchants during the late 1800s, Harold served as mayor of Georgetown. He was a strong advocate for the Coast Highway, improvements to the Intracoastal Waterway, and affordable electricity for the city. Upon her death, Julia willed the house and its furnishings to the city in remembrance of her husband. The house is still brimming with American and English antiques and art.
The house museum is open for tours Monday through Saturday at three designated times throughout the early morning and afternoon. In addition to tours, a great museum shop is onsite and the house offers many school programs and activities and even serves as an event venue. On the edge of the yard is the beginning of the Georgetown Harborwalk, a boardwalk that traverses beside the Sampit River behind the businesses of Front Street. Be sure to take a stroll and view some of what South Carolina’s third oldest city has to offer between museums, restaurants and shops.
The Kaminski house is listed in the National Register as part of the Georgetown Historic District:
Third oldest city in South Carolina, Georgetown is significant historically, militarily, agriculturally and architecturally. Georgetown was laid out as a city in 1729. In 1735 Georgetown was conveyed to three trustees. A plan of the city was attached to the deed and was the first plan to be preserved. Included in the plan were 174.5 acres for the town and 100 acres for a commons. The town acreage was divided into blocks by five streets running at right angles to the river. Much physical evidence of the past remains. The oldest existing structure in Georgetown is a dwelling which dates from ca. 1737. There are approximately twenty-eight additional 18th century structures as well as eighteen buildings erected during the 19th century prior to the Civil War. The existing structures—homes, churches, public buildings—are of both historical and architectural significance and are situated on heavily shaded, wide streets. The architecture ranges from the simplicity of early colonial, or Georgian, to the elaborate rice plantation era, such as Classical Revival.