Rose Hill in Aiken has a new owner

August 1, 2018

An estate that was part of Aiken’s former Winter Colony has changed hands.

Niki Inc. purchased Rose Hill while it was in foreclosure for $700,000 at an Aiken County Master-in-Equity deficiency sale in June at the Aiken County Judicial Center.

Ketan Patel is the registered agent for Niki Inc., according to a list of business entities on the S.C. Secretary of State’s website.

Patel, who could not be reached for comment, owns a chain of food marts. He also is among the founders of The Vista, a schooling facility for horses near Aiken.

Rose Hill was the winter home of Col. Sheffield Phelps and his wife, Claudia Wright Lea Phelps. The estate’s shingle-style main house had more than 30 rooms when it was built around 1898.

The property formerly was the site of an antebellum home that was destroyed during the Civil War.

Claudia Phelps founded the Garden Club of Aiken, and she also held a meeting at Rose Hill that led to the establishment of the Garden Club of South Carolina in April 1930.

Claudia Phelps was the Garden Club of South Carolina’s first and only life president.

Eva Mueller and her son, Stephen, acquired Rose Hill in 2002, and their goal was to share the estate with the public, according to rosehillestate.com.

They renovated and repurposed the various structures on the property.

Rose Hill became a venue for weddings and other events. It also offered accommodations for travelers.

In addition, there was a restaurant on the site.

Court documents, identified Eva Mueller and Stephen Mueller as the owners of Rose Hill when it went into foreclosure.

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