Also known as: Williams-Converse House
441 York St., SE, Aiken, South Carolina


Chinaberry, Left Oblique

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

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Thought to have been built ca. 1824 for William W. Williams, Chinaberry incorporates materials and methods of construction characteristic of an early nineteenth century Carolina farmhouse, and is the only known surviving landmark in Aiken associated with the founding of the town in the mid-1830s. Dr. William Williams was a locally prominent individual, who in addition to being a planter, served in the South Carolina House of Representatives (1830-1831). Also, local tradition indicates that this house was a focal point for activity during a Civil War skirmish in February 1865. In the 1920s, during Aiken’s heyday as a resort for wealthy sports-loving Northerners, who called themselves Aiken’s “Winter Colony,” John W. Converse purchased and modified Chinaberry for use as a winter residence. Converse was a prominent member of Pennsylvania society and was involved in many different corporations. A well-known polo player in the early days of the sport, he built stables adjacent to his home which he called Chinaberry. A two and one-half story wood frame residence covered with weatherboard, Chinaberry is set on a low brick foundation. After Converse acquired the property in 1926, he reversed the plan of the house, with the front now facing southwest. Chinaberry represents a synthesis of early nineteenth century construction and design with twentieth century Colonial Revival elements. Also within the nominated acreage is a L-shaped weatherboard building with gable roof and cupola, constructed ca. 1930 by Converse, and containing apartments and a stable. Listed in the National Register March 29, 1982. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 29, 1982
Reference number
Architectural style
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Colonial Revival
Areas of significance
Architecture; Social History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction; B - Person
Property type
Historic functions
Single dwelling; Agricultural outbuildings
Current function
Single dwelling
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1800-1824
Significant years
1824; 1920
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 1
Non-contributing buildings: 1

Update Log 

  • August 15, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller
  • June 6, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description" & "Street View"
  • June 6, 2014: New Street View added by Michael Miller