The hotel celebrates its 170th anniversary this month
The Mills House Hotel has been welcoming guests to the corner of Queen and Meeting streets since 1853, when grain merchant Otis Mills opened its doors. Designed by architect John Earl, the grand, five-story building was furnished with elaborate ceiling moldings, marble mantels, and an arcaded entrance, as well as then-modern amenities of running water and steam heat. The Mills House survived the city’s destruction during the Civil War, as visible in this circa-1865 stereograph image taken by photographer George N. Barnard. However, the property fell into disrepair in the early 1900s until it was sold at auction in 1968 to Charleston Associates, who worked with local preservationists to reconstruct a historical replica of the building using the original ironwork and terra-cotta cornices. In December 2022, the hotel, now owned by RLJ Lodging Trust, reopened after a multimillion-dollar renovation. In celebration of its 170-year anniversary, The Mills House will offer restaurant specials at Iron Rose paying homage to the hotel’s original dining menu, history talks, and more throughout August.