About the Architecture
John and Susan Manning probably were encouraged to proceed with the construction of Millford by Susan’s older brother, Wade Hampton II. Hampton used the same architect to build a very similar Greek Revival mansion called Millwood a year later in Columbia, S.C. The architect was Nathaniel Potter, a native of Rhode Island who worked in Charleston under famed German architect and student of Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s, Karl Friedrich Reichert, in building the monumental Charleston Hotel. The architect of Roper House in Charleston is also attributed to Reichert. When the original Charleston Hotel burned two years later, Reichert had already moved on, and so Potter was engaged to rebuild the hotel exactly as it once stood. Wade Hampton II had been involved as an investor in building the hotel and must have been impressed by Potter, who moved from Charleston to build Millford for the Mannings.
If anything, Millford is even more impressive on the interior. A wide center hall leads to the domed rotunda, which encloses the staircase. Double parlors on one side of the hall are separated by a screen of four Corinthian columns and sliding mahogany doors. The other side of the center hall is comprised of Governor Manning’s library in front and a large dining room in the rear, with circular walls at the interior end. Throughout the house are marble mantels, imported from Philadelphia, and large plate glass mirrors, shipped down from New York to Charleston and up the Santee River to Millford. The large expanse of mirrors in the double parlors seem to have been inspired by the Galerie des Glaces at Versailles. It is all very grand, conjuring visions of the young Mannings and their guests dancing the quadrilles, marches and waltzes that were so popular in this neo-classical period.
As a National Historic Landmark and one of the finest examples of Greek revival residential architecture in America, Millford is an exceptional part of our heritage that draws visitors, scholars, collectors, and students from across the country.