On August 12, 1781, at the height of the American Revolution in South Carolina, Robert Mills was born in Charleston. He studied in Charleston before traveling to Washington, D.C., in 1800, to apprentice with the famed Irish architect, and builder of the White House, James Hoban. In the years to following his time with Hoban, Robert Mills traveled around designing some of America’s most historically significant buildings including the following:

  • the Burlington County Prison in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, in 1811
  • the First Presbyterian Church of Augusta, Georgia and the Monumental Church in Richmond, Virginia, in 1812
  • the octagonal First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia in 1813
  • St. John’s Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland and the First Baptist Church of Baltimore in 1817
  • several buildings of the University of South Carolina in 1818
  • the First Baptist Church of Charleston, SC in 1820
  • the South Carolina State Hospital in 1821
  • the Fireproof Building in Charleston in 1827

Mills was a master of architecture who designed and built dozens of homes, churches and government buildings throughout America. When he wasn’t building engineering marvels, he enjoyed writing books on the subject authoring at least 6 books on architecture before his most prolific project, the world’s tallest stone structure and tallest obelisk, the Washington Monument. Construction of the monument began in 1848, however, Robert Mills, who died in 1855, would never see its completion in 1884.