The Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home was the home of Woodrow Wilson for 13 years of his childhood in Augusta, Georgia. His family moved here when he was only 1 year of age in 1858. The family stayed at the home until the fall of 1870 when Wilson, known as “Tommy” at the time, was almost 14 years of age. Today the home is a National Historic Landmark.
Wilson was actually born in Virginia as Thomas Woodrow
Wilson, and was the son of Joseph Ruggles Wilson. His dad was a Presbyterian pastor, and so
when he was employed as the preacher for First Presbyterian Church in Augusta,
the family moved there. In 1860 the church
gave Wilson’s father a raise and this home to get him to stay; the raise was
from $2,500 to $3,000 yearly. The church
also bought the home for $10,000. The
home is in the Classical Revival style, is made out of brick, is 2 ½ stories,
and had contents common to the time period, such as gas lighting and running
water. The church bought this house
explaining that they wanted Reverend Wilson to be so content that he could do
his job as a pastor well.
Even though his family moved away from their home in
Augusta when he was just 14, Woodrow Wilson implied in a 1909 speech that his
earliest memory comes from his time at the home. This memory he spoke of was that he heard
someone run by the house shouting that Abraham Lincoln became president, and
that war would break out. Wilson also
recalled seeing injured and nearly dead troops due his dad’s churchyard being
taken by the Confederate government for a hospital. His father was a Confederate supporter,
speaking positively of the institution of slavery in a well-known sermon; he
was even Chaplain for the Confederate Army.
Woodrow Wilson also recalls seeing Jefferson Davis being put under guard
in the Augusta streets following his surrender.
When he lived at the home, Wilson created the Lightfoot
Baseball Club with some of his peers. He
was also the club’s president, and drafted a constitution and bylaws and led
the meetings following the Parliamentary Procedure. It was this leadership of this group that
began his interest in government and politics.
This interest reached its peak when he became President of the United
States and created the League of Nations.
His boyhood home is now controlled by the Augusta Downtown Historic
District. It is open to visitors
Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00am to 5:00pm.1