Charleston was a walled fortress city between the years of 1690 and 1720, a period of constant danger from hostile French and Spanish invaders, Native American tribes, and pirates. In all drawings from that time, the walls are depicted as straight and sharply angular, with no evidence of haphazard construction. While the bastions may have begun as crude earthworks, it seems clear that by the early 18th century they had been engineered and refined to a fairly high degree of sophistication.
The outer wall was in a shape of a trapezoid anchored at the corners by four bastions: Granville Bastion and Craven Bastion on the wide side of the trapezoid along the waterfront, and Carteret Bastion and Colleton Bastion anchoring the narrow inland side. Midway between Granville and Craven bastions was a semicircular waterfront projection called the Half-Moon Battery, above which stood the original Court of Guard. TheOld Exchange building was constructed upon this spot in the mid-18th century.
The waterfront wall was a single structure, but the inland walls consisted of double barriers separated by a moat. Little is known about the nature of the moat. It may have simply been an open space between the inner and outer walls, or it may have been a trench. There is no indication whether water from the Cooper River was channeled into this moat, but given Charleston’s water table and climate, it seems likely that it collected standing water for at least portions of the year.
This walking tour will begin at the intersection of present-day Broad and Meeting streets, known today as the Four Corners of the Law. In the days of the Walled City this is where entrance to the fortress was gained by two drawbridges...
United States Post Office
83 Broad Street
The United States Post Office and Courthouse was built in 1896 and designed by local architect John Henry Deveraux. An Irish immigrant, Deveraux became a noted architect in Charleston by the late 1860s. His Renaissance Revival style building with lavish interior is indicative of elaborate public buildings of the late 19th century. Deveraux used grey granite from Winnsboro, South Carolina, a square corner tower, rusticated quoins, and balustraded balconies to create a palatial and imposing exterior. The Post Office occupies the first floor, decorated with carved mahogany woodwork, a marble staircase, brass and ironwork, and stone columns.
WALK WEST ALONG BROAD STREET TO THE CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST AND THEN HEAD BACK TO THE INTERSECTION WITH MEETING STREET.
Cathedral of St. John The Baptist
122 Broad Street
The original Gothic church on this site burned in 1861. The slightly larger Cathedral of St. John The Baptist replacement was started in 1890 and dedicated 17 years later. A brownstone 100-foot tower never built.
John Rutledge House
116 Broad Street
John Rutledge, Colonial governor of South Carolina during the Revolution, built this house for his wife circa 1763. Its appearance was dramatically altered in 1853 when terra cotta window lintels and intricate cast ironwork were added. The cast-ironwork was executed by German-born blacksmith Christopher Werner and includes palmetto and eagle designs.
Thomas Pinckney House
114 Broad Street
This was the winter residence of Colonel Thomas Pinckney who otherwise was engaged in his rice lands at Fairfield Plantation on the Santee River. Completed in 1829, the two-and-a-half story brick dwelling is one of the finest Classical Revival homes in the city. Sold by the Pinckney family to the Roman Catholic bishop of Charleston in 1866, it has remained a residence for the city’s bishops ever since.
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church
80 Meeting Street
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, a National Historic Landmark, is one of the finest Colonial American churches in the country and the oldest church in Charleston. Although the architect is unknown, the church was built between 1752 and 1761 and resembles 18th-century English pattern book examples widely used throughout the colonies. Prominent and elegant features of the two-story stuccoed brick church are its giant classical portico and a 186-foot high massively proportioned steeple. During the Revolutionary period, the church tower was a target for British ship gunners. In the hopes of decreasing it’s visibility the white tower was painted black, which made it even more visible against the blue sky. Contributing to the war effort, the lead roof was melted down for bullets. The steeple continued to function as a navigational landmark and observation post during all subsequent major American military conflicts, as well as a fire lookout until the late 19th century. St. Michael’s has amazingly survived several hurricanes, wars, fires, earthquakes and a cyclone with little alteration to its architecture. The interior of the church still retains its traditional 18th-century English design, with a three-sided second story gallery and native cedar box-pews. The pews, including Number 43 used by George Washington in 1791 and General Robert E. Lee in 1861, have recently been restored to their 18th-century finish. St. Michael’s bells are among the city’s most beloved treasures, imported from England in 1764. During the Revolutionary War the bells were taken to England as a prize of war, but a London merchant purchased and returned them. During the Civil War, they were sent to Columbia, but cracked in a great fire there in 1865. The metal fragments were salvaged and sent to England to be recast in their original moulds and rehung. The scroll ironwork on the churchyard gate is the most famous in the city.
TURN LEFT AND WALK NORTH ON MEETING STREET.
Charleston City Hall
80 Broad Street
This site was originally set aside as a public market within the Civic Square of the Grand Modell, the 17th-century plan of the city. A beef market stood here from 1739 until it was destroyed by fire in 1796. This central intersection is now called “Four Corners of the Law,” as the four buildings surrounding it reflect four arms of law--ecclesiastical, state, federal and City Hall’s municipal law. Charleston’s City Hall building was constructed between 1800 and 1804 in the Adamesque style by Charlestonian Gabriel Manigault. City Hall’s semi-circular projection on the north side and round basement windows are characteristic features of Manigault. The white marble trim is believed to have originated in Italy before it was cut in Philadelphia. The original red brick walls offered a striking contrast to this marble trim before the walls were covered with stucco in 1882.
105 Meeting Street
Hibernian Hall, a National Historic Landmark, was built in 1840 to provide a meeting place for the Hibernian Society, an Irish benevolent organization founded in 1801. The Hall is the only extant building associated with the National Democratic Convention of 1860, one of the most critical political assemblies in this nation’s history. Hibernian Hall served as the convention headquarters for the faction supporting Stephen A. Douglas. It was hoped that Douglas would bridge the gap between the northern and southern delegates on the issue of extending slavery to the territories. The first floor of the Hall was used for meetings, while the second floor was filled with hundreds of cots for the delegates. The convention disintegrated no candidate was able to summon a two-thirds majority vote. This divisiveness resulted in a split in the Democratic party, and the election of Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate. Hibernian Hall was the first semi-public building of pure Greek style to be built in the city, and the only building in Charleston designed by architect Thomas U. Walter of Philadelphia. Walter’s design included an Ionic pediment which collapsed in the earthquake of 1886 and was replaced by a Corinthian pediment with brackets and a center circular-arched window. The dignified exterior of the Hall does not allude to the flamboyant ballroom and double stairhall within. The Irish harp carved in the panel above the main door and within the iron gates, as well as a stone from Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway, reflect the ethnic heritage of the Hall’s founders. Christopher Werner, one of Charleston’s foremost ironworkers, is responsible for the Hall’s gates.
Although this park was officially named Washington Square in 1881 in commemoration of the centennial of the surrender of the British at Yorktown in 1781, it is still often referred to as City Hall Park, its old name. The site of the park was originally covered with houses. In 1818, when the Bank of the United States bought the adjacent land and tore down houses to form this park. The fence and gate were erected in 1824. Monuments in the park include the battered statue of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, who championed the cause of the American colonies against the Stamp Act. The work of Joseph Wilton, an English sculptor, the statue was erected at the crossing of Broad and Meeting Streets on July 5, 1770, and was this country’s first monument erected to a public man. Charleston’s statue of Pitt cost $1,000, a sum voted in May, 1766 by the Commons of the Assembly. In typical 18th century style, the statue portrays Pitt as a Roman orator clad in a toga, with one arm holding a scroll. The other arm, which was upraised, was broken off in 1780 by a shell fired from a British battery on James Island. The head was broken off accidentally when the statue was removed from the intersection in 1794, when it was considered an obstruction to traffic. It was first stored and later set up in the yard of the Orphan House, where the children described the figure as “George Washington just getting out of bed.” In 1891, the statue was moved to Washington Square. Other monuments commemorate the Confederate military; the Washington Light Infantry; the Charleston-born poet Henry Timrod ; Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, commander of Confederate forces in Charleston during the Civil War; Elizabeth Jackson, mother of President Andrew Jackson, who died in a Charleston epidemic after serving as a volunteer nurse; and Francis Salvador, the first Jew elected to public office in America and the first Jew to die for his country in America. Salvador, who was elected to the First and Second Provincial Congresses of South Carolina, was killed and scalped by pro-British Cherokees in Ninety-Six District, on Aug. 1, 1776, at the age of 29.
100 Meeting Street
The Fireproof Building, originally called the Charleston District Record Building, was the most fire protected building in America at the time of its construction in 1827. It is now believed to be the oldest building of fireproof construction in the United States. The Fireproof Building is also characteristic of the work of Robert Mills, the first native-born American to be trained as an architect, and a Charleston native. The Fireproof Building was constructed in a simple Greek Doric style, with minimal ornamentation, and conveys a sense of order and serenity. Because the building was designed to store public records safely, no flammable materials were used in its construction. The building consists primarily of solid masonry, with window sashes and shutters of iron. The high columnar porticoes on an arcaded basement and the triple windows are typical of Mills. Inside, an oval hall contains a cantilevered stone staircase, lit by a cupola. Of such sound construction, the Fireproof Building survived the 1886 earthquake unharmed, except for the exterior stairs. Currently the building is the headquarters for the South Carolina Historical Society, a private non-profit organization founded in 1856.
Chalmers Street is the longest cobblestone way left in the city.
Mills House Hotel
115 Meeting Street
This reconstruction of the original Mills House stands on the site on which Otis Mills, a grain merchant and real estate developer, built his grand hotel in 1853. Designed by architect John E. Earle, the building had running water and steam heat, the first such installations on a large scale in the city. The five story, 125-room hotel cost $200,000 to build. The cast iron balcony on the facade came from Philadelphia, and terra cotta window cornices were ordered from Worcester, Mass. The entrance porch has rusticated columns supporting arches. Gen. Robert E. Lee was a guest at the hotel in 1861 and watched the great fire of that year from the balcony until the proximity of the fire forced him to leave the hotel. The staff of the hotel saved it by hanging wet blankets out the windows, so that the building was blackened but not destroyed. Gen. Pierre G.T. Beauregard, the confederate commander, used the hotel as his headquarters until Mills invited him to use his own residence in Meeting Street. A later guest was Theodore Roosevelt. For many years, the hotel was named the St. John’s. In 1968 the old hotel was torn down and the present building was erected, in the same Italianate style as the original. In the reconstruction, the old ironwork was retained and the terra cotta was copied in fiberglass. The building is two stories higher.
Gibbes Memorial Art Gallery
135 Meeting House
This is the best example of Beaux Art style architecture in the city, erected in 1904 as the headquarters of the Carolina Art Association founded in 1857. The James S. Gibbes Memorial Art Gallery is named for James Shoolbred Gibbes (1819-1888), a wealthy merchant who bequeathed to the city an estate of nearly $120,000 to be used for the erection or purchase of a building for an art gallery and school and possibly a conservatory of music. Designed by architect Frank P. Milburn the building has a South Carolina granite base and exterior walls of pressed brick and Indiana limestone, and a red tile roof. The sculpture gallery, beneath the exterior dome, has an inner dome of art glass, 16 feet in diameter and 30 feet high.
Charleston Gas Light Company
141 Meeting Street
Architect Edward Brickell White designed this Palladian building, built in 1876-78 for the Charleston Gas Light Co., a forerunner of the South Carolina Electric and Gas Co., whose office it now houses. The Charleston Gas Light company was incorporated in 1846, and in 1848 the city streets began to be lighted by gas. The original plant of the company was on the west side of Church Street, between Cumberland and Market. The iron gates were brought from that location when this building was erected.
Circular Congregational Church
150 Meeting Street
The Independent or Congregational Church was established here about 1681. Its members were French Huguenots, Scots and Irish Presbyterians and Congregationalists from New and old England. The first building, erected before 1695, was the White Meeting House, which gave Meeting Street its name. A new meeting house was built in 1732. It was used as a hospital by the British during the Revolution. In 1804-06, the first circular church, designed by architect Robert Mills, was built. It was a Pantheon style building which is believed to have been the first domed church in America. The auditorium seated 2,000. Mills’ design was altered by the German architect Charles Reichardt, who added a spire in 1838, and by Jones & Lee, who changed the portico (which projected over the sidewalk) from Tuscan to Corinthian and made other changes in 1852-53. The structure was burned in the great fire of 1861 and the ruins stood until shaken down by the 1886 earthquake. Using bricks from the old structure, the present building, designed by architects Stevenson & Green, was built in 1890-92. It is in the Romanesque Revival style of Henry Hobson Richardson, the Louisiana born Boston architect. The grave yard is one of the oldest in the city.
TURN RIGHT ON CUMBERLAND STREET (towards the water).
Nicholas Trott House
83-85 Cumberland Street
Although unproven, and likely untrue, it has been maintained that Judge Nicholas Trott built the city’s first brick house here. The best guess is that 85 Cumberland is the original building and 83 Cumberland was probably the kitchen. It is accepted, however, that these are early 18th century Charleston buildings.
79 Cumberland Street
The Powder Magazine was authorized by the Commons House of Assembly in 1703 and completed by 1713. It is the only surviving public building from the Lords Proprietors’ period, which ended in 1719. It is a low square building with a steep hip roof and gables on all sides. lt has thick walls and vaulting of brick, with the vaulted roof partly supported by a substantial brick pier. The roof is covered with pan tiles. In 1770, the building was condemned as being of no further use. However, it was needed during the Revolution and saw use. But when a shell burst within 3 feet of the building, the powder in it was moved elsewhere.
TURN RIGHT ON CHURCH STREET.
St. Philip’s Episcopal Church
142 Church Street
St. Philip’s Episcopal Church houses the oldest congregation in South Carolina and was the first Anglican church established south of Virginia. This church is the third building to house the congregation, which was formed by Charles Town colonists. The first church, built in 1681, was a small wooden building located at the present site of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. In the early 18th century, the congregation built a second brick church at the site of the current church. It burned in 1835. The current St. Philip’s was constructed from 1835 to 1838 by architect Joseph Hyde, while the steeple, designed by E.B. White, was added a decade later. Hyde’s design for the church incorporated some of the feature’s of the former building, as the vestry proposed, while introducing new elements. St. Philip’s, like the earlier church, extends into the center of Church Street, following the contemporary practice of parish churches in England. While planning for St. Philip’s, the city proposed widening the street. A persuasive argument was made by the vestry that a steeple was more ornamental than a street. Compromising, the church was built slightly to the east, while the street curves around the projecting tower and steeple. A unique feature of the church’s exterior are three separate Tuscan porticoes, one on each of its Church Street facades. Hyde added Roman columns and entablatures to the interior, as well as high Corinthian arcades and a chancel. The chancel was damaged during the Civil War, when St. Philip’s steeple was used for siting during Union bombardment of the city. Bells once encased in the steeple were melted for Confederate cannon. Many prominent people are buried in the graveyard, which is divided into two parts. The western yard was initially set aside for the burial of “strangers and transient white persons,” but church members were later buried there. Several colonial Governors and five Episcopal bishops are buried here, as well as John C. Calhoun (former Vice President of the United States), Rawlins Lowndes (President of South Carolina in 1778-79), and Dubose Heyward (author and playwright). The view of Church Street punctuated by St. Philip’s remains one of Charleston’s most photographed spots.
Alexander Peronneau Tenements
141-143 Church Street
These two rental properties were built in 1740 by French Huguenot Alexander Peronneau, one of city’s earliest town houses. The house at 143 is a double tenement and 141 is a single tenement.
French Huguenot Church
136 Church Street
The French Huguenot Church, a National Historic Landmark, is the third church to be constructed on this site. Completed in 1845, it was the first Gothic Revival building constructed in Charleston, and is an excellent example of the versatility of local architect Edward Brickell White. The stucco over brick Huguenot church is ornamented with windows, buttresses, and decorative details typical of the Gothic Revival. The use of iron for many of these decorative details was unusual, but reflects the difficulty of obtaining carved stonework during the antebellum period in Charleston. Today it remains unaltered, even the clear glass windows are original.
French Huguenot Church Rectory
134 Church Street
This classic Charleston single house with a privacy door opening onto the piazza served as the rectory for the French Huguenot Church until 1871.
Dock Street Theatre
135 Church Street
Dock Street Theatre is Charleston’s last surviving hotel from the antebellum period. The silhouette of its wrought iron balcony against the spire of St. Philip’s church may be the single most photographed spot in the city. The main portion of the building was constructed by Alexander Calder and his wife around 1809 as Planter’s Hotel. The hotel was used extensively by planters from the midlands of South Carolina, who traveled to Charleston during horse-racing season. It was noted for its wonderful food and drinks during this era, and the South’s famous Planter’s Punch may have originated here. In the 1930s, the building was restored by the City of Charleston as a Works Progress Administration project. During this project, a large section was constructed behind the hotel containing a stage and auditorium characteristic of the 18th century. The renovated building took the name of a 1730s theater which stood on the Queen Street (formerly Dock Street) side of the property.
132 Church Street
Paul Douxsaint, a French Huguenot, built a house here around 1726 but this one apparently was rebuilt after the city fire of 1796. In the 19th century Daniel Macaulay, from the family of one of Charleston’s leading Scottish merchants, lived in the house that had become decidedly Federal in style. Macaulay House, 1796, Notice the bootscrape and carriage step outside.
TURN RIGHT ON CHALMERS STREET.
German Friendly Society
29 Chalmers Street
The German Friendly Society, founded in 1766, formerly had a hall on Archdale Street, and has been located here since 1942. This building dates to 1829 and was originally used as a bible depository.
TURN AROUND AND WALK DOWN CHALMERS STREET TOWARDS THE WATER.
17 Chalmers Street
The Pink House, built circa 1712 by John Breton, is believed to have been a tavern in Colonial days. It is constructed partly of Bermuda stone, a coral limestone imported in blocks from Bermuda as building material. The building’s gambrel roof is one of a few surviving in Charleston.
German Fire Company Engine House
8 Chalmers Street
The German Fire Company Engine House was built in 1851, designed by Edward C. Jones, one of Charleston’s most talented antebellum architects. The building is in the Romansesque Revival style of the mid-19th century. It was built as the engine house for the Deutschen Feuer Compagnie (German Fire Company) , which was one of several companies organized after the great fire of 1838, which made the necessity of a more efficient fire-fighting system more apparent. The present building replaced a smaller structure built soon after the company was organized. The present building remained in use as an engine house until 1888, when the fire station at Meeting and Wentworth streets was completed. Afterwards the building was a meeting hall, first for the Carolina Light Infantry and later for several black fraternal lodges. In 1982 it was rehabilitated as a law office.
Old Slave Mart Museum
6 Chalmers Street
In 1856 a city ordinance was passed prohibiting the sale of slaves on the north side of the Custom House (the Old Exchange), which had been a tradition since the 18th century. Proponents of the ordinance said the auction sales at the location caused the “blocking up or obstruction of East Bay Street.” The prohibition of public sales resulted in the opening of various sales “rooms,” “yards” and “marts” along Chalmers, State and Queen Streets. One was “Ryan’s Mart,” which utilized a four story brick double tenement, fronting on Queen Street, with a yard extending to Chalmers Street. The building contained the “barracoon” (from the Portuguese word for slave jail) and Ryan’s offices and sales rooms. Auctions were held also in the rear yard on Chalmers Street. In 1859, the property was purchased by Z.B Oakes, an auction master, who in the same year received permission from the City to insert brick trusses in the wall of the German Fire Hall (next door to the west) to support roof timbers for a “shed” which he was erecting. The one story “shed” was given an impressive facade with octagonal pillars (similar to those on the Fire Hall next door) and a high arch enclosed by a large iron gate. Above the arch, in large gilt letters, was the word “MART” and a gilt star. About 1878, the building was converted to a two story tenement dwelling by filling in the arch and inserting a second floor under a new roof. In 1938, this property was purchased by Miriam B. Wilson, who developed it as a museum of African and Afro-American arts, crafts and history.
TURN RIGHT ON STATE STREET.
Union Insurance Company Building
7 State Street
This two story Classic Revival structure was occupied by the Union Insurance company in 1819, making this one of the city’s earliest office buildings. Note the Tuscan pilasters and belt coursing between floors. The company, organized and incorporated in 1807, was located originally on East Bay. The pediment contains the company’s seal, which was similar to the company’s insurance plate, but much larger. In the days when each insurance company had its own fire engine company, it was customary to place on one’s property a plate designating the company which had insured the building. This was to notify the fire engine company of its duty to fight fire on the premises.
TURN LEFT ON BROAD STREET AND LEFT ON EAST BAY STREET.
Farmers & Exchange Bank
141 East Bay Street
The Old Farmers and Exchange Bank, built in 1853-54, is in the eclectic Moorish Revival style - the only such building in the city. Architect Francis D. Lee designed the building, with its horseshoe arches and striped stonework, which are reminiscent of the Alcazar at Seville. To achieve the striped effect, Lee used pale Jersey and darker Connecticut brownstone. Lopez and Trumbo were the contractors. The building was vacant, in disrepair and in danger of demolition for a parking lot until it was purchased and restored in 1970.
CROSS EAST BAY STREET TO GILLON STREET, ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE EXCHANGE.
Original City Wall
north side of Gillon Street
This is a piece of the original wall, torn down almost 300 years ago, that is still standing.
Exchange & Provost Building
122 East Bay Street
As Charleston became the South’s largest port, the Exchange and Custom House was built from 1767 to 1771 for the expanding shipping industry, but also served as a public market and meeting place. After a protest meeting against the Tea Act, confiscated tea was stored here in 1774. The Provincial Congress of South Carolina met here the following year. During the Revolutionary War, the British used the building for barracks and the basement as a military prison. The State Legislature met here in 1788. When George Washington visited Charleston on his southern tour of 1791, a grand ball was held for him on the second floor. The symmetrical Georgian style building is two stories with an elevated basement and hipped roof. The central projecting pavilion on the main side of the building and tall Palladian windows are typical classical details of the Georgian period. Originally the building fronted the harbor, but during the past two centuries several blocks have been created by landfill between the Exchange and the water. In the 19th century the building was used mainly as a post office and customhouse. Port business was no longer conducted at the Exchange after a new United States Custom House was completed several blocks north of the Exchange in 1879. The Exchange was badly damaged by Union artillery fire during the Civil War, and by the 1886 earthquake. In 1913, the building was deeded to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to be preserved as a historical monument. Since 1917 the second floor rooms have been used as offices for various federal agencies, while the main floor rooms serve as a meeting place for the DAR. The basement has been restored and is exhibited to the public as the British Provost Dungeon.
WALK SOUTH ON EAST BAY STREET.
79-107 East Bay Street
Built between 1723 and 1740 by merchants along the waterfront, these colorful stucco houses are said to be the longest cluster of Georgian houses in the United States. Shopkeepers would live upstairs and sell their wares on the ground floor. By the 1930s this was a slum area and after the buildings were renovated they were painted in pastel shades and acquired the nickname “Rainbow Row.”
99-101 East Bay Street
Othniel Beale’s double building was built after the great fire of 1740, which devastated most of the Charlestown waterfront. During the 1740s Beale, who lived here, was in charge of the strengthening of the city’ s fortifications. He also owned a wharf in front of the house. His home retains handsome cypress paneling and other woodwork in the main rooms. The building was restored in the 1930s by Judge and Mrs. Lionel K. Legge. As a gesture of appreciation for their preservation efforts , the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings (now the Preservation Society of Charleston) permitted the Legges to place the iron balcony, owned by the society, on the front of the building.
95 East Bay Street
The identity of the builder of the Flemish gabled building has never been established, but it is fairly certain the house was built soon after the great fire of 1740. Othniel Beale, who built 97 and 99-101 East Bay, may have had something to do with the design and construction of this house, because its facade is related to his by giant order pilasters. It may also have been built by Joseph Shute (for whom Shute’s Folly was named), who was the owner in 1748. Subsequently, the building was owned by Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, the patriot officer and statesman, who was a delegate to the U.S. Constitutional Convention in 1790, minister to France in 1796 and Federalist candidate for President in 1800, 1804 and 1808.
79-81 East Bay Street
This building has undergone several changes. lt retains the walls of two structures - a three story brick building, built c. 1849 by Henry Bulwinkle, a prosperous grocer and grist miller; and a three and one-half story brick building, constructed c. 1778 by Robert Lindsay, a merchant. The two buildings were both severely damaged by the 1886 earthquake after which they were rebuilt behind a common facade by John Henry Klenke, a grocer, as his store and residence. The building was remodeled as a residence in 1953, by eliminating the storefront (except for single cast iron column) and the addition of a new fanlighted door and windows.
TURN AROUND ON EAST BAY STREET AND TURN LEFT ON BROAD STREET.
State Bank of South Carolina
1 Broad Street
The Bankers Trust of South Carolina is housed in this three story, ltalian Renaissance Revival style building faced with Connecticut brownstone, built in 1853. The building was designed by the Charleston architectural firm of Edward C. Jones and Francis D. Lee and built for and estimated cost of $100,000. Due to the Federal bombardment of the city, 1863-65, the State Bank moved up the peninsula to Cannon Street. The building was wrecked during the Federal bombardment of the city during the Civil Warand the State Bank collapsed along with the Confederacy. The building was rehabilitated and enlarged in 1868. For a time it was owned by George A Trenholm, cotton broker, former Treasurer of the Confederacy and blockade runner. When the Federal government sued Trenholm and his associates after the war for import duties on the illegal blockade goods, his company went bankrupt. He reorganized his cotton brokerage business and remade his fortune, however. In 1875, the building was purchased by another local merchant and blockade runner, George Walton Williams, who founded the Carolina Savings Bank here in 1875. Notable architectural features of the exterior include the lion head keystones on the first floor, each of which is different. The Italian Renaissance Revival style is based on the ‘’palazzos’’ of 15th and 16th century ltaly.
Second Bank of the United States
16 Broad Street
South Carolina National Bank occupies this two story, stuccoed brick structure, constructed for use as the Charleston office of the Second Bank of the United States, whose charter was drawn up by John C. Calhoun. The first Bank of the United States had been chartered in 1791 and had established a Charleston office. Its charter lapsed in 1811 and was not renewed. In 1810, however, Calhoun introduced a bill in Congress to re-establish the Bank of the United States. This building was built in 1817 to house the Charleston office, known as the office of Discount and Deposit, of the second bank. Due to mismanagement at other branches, President Andrew Jackson withdrew government deposits in 1833, causing the bank’s collapse in 1834. Several influential South Carolinians including Henry Gourdin, a Charleston businessman and legislator, and Robert Y. Hayne, South Carolina Governor and United States Senator, organized the Bank of Charleston which purchased the property and assets of the Bank of the U.S. By 1848, the Bank of Charleston had branches in several Southern cities. During the Civil war, the bank loaned the Confederate government $1.5 million, and the fall of the Confederacy almost caused the bank to fail. In 1926, the Bank of Charleston merged with the Norwood National Bank of Greenville and the Carolina National Bank of Columbia to form the South Carolina National Bank. The building is in a simplified Classic Revival style, with arched openings, pilasters and a pediment. The magnificent eagle of gilded oak, set within the pediment, dates from l8l7. The building was expanded to the north in 1856. The Directors’ room in the north extension, with its wooden Corinthian pilaster and wainscoting painted to resemble marble, is attributed to Charleston architect Edward C. Jones. The architect of the main building is unknown: some authorities speculate that it was designed by Robert Mills.
South Carolina Loan & Trust
17 Broad Street
Claudian B. Northrop, an attorney, built this building c. 1848, but it was thoroughly remodeled in 1870-71 for the south Carolina Loan and Trust Company. The architects for the remodeling were Abrahams and Seyle (Thomas H. Abrahams and John H. Seyle); the contractor was George W. Egan. Both the facade, with its cast iron storefront and plaster ornamentation in the Italianate style, and the interior, with its fine plasterwork and woodwork, date from the l870-7l remodeling. George S. Cameron was president of the bank, which began operation in 1869. Claudian B. Northrop, during the Confederate War, became interested in becoming a priest, and was ordained in 1867. He was assigned to St. Mary’s as assistant pastor and in 1870 became pastor, a post he filled until his death in 1882. He is buried in St. Mary’s under the floor of the center aisle, before the high altar. Inspired by his example, his nephew, Henry Pinckney Northrop, became a priest also, and eventually Bishop of Charleston.
18 Broad Street
People’s Building, 1911, city’s first skyscraper with classic base-shaft-capital column design The People’s Building was Charleston’s first “skyscraper,” erected in 1910-11 at a cost of $300,000 in the classic base-shaft-capital column design. By many it was seen as a sign of “progress”, while others were afraid it would ruin Charleston’s skyline. President William Howard Taft, who viewed the city from the top of the building, said, ‘’I don’t believe that it did ruin the skyline, but if it did the view from up here makes it worth it.’’ When the building opened in April 1911, people came just to ride the steel frame elevators. The first two floors of the building are faced with Winnsboro granite, while the upper floors are faced with buff-colored brick and terra cotta. The eight story building is constructed of concrete and steel and rated as fireproof. Originally it had, in addition to the banking space, nine rooms on a mezzanine and l3 rooms on each of the upper flours, and the building was steam heated. The People’s Bank closed in 1936 and the building was purchased by the Southeastern Securities Co., Charles L. Mullaly, president. Mullaly installed the two white marble leopards at the main entrance. Carved from Italian marble by an unknown 18th century artist, the leopards were brought to Charleston from an estate near Boston, Mass.
Citizens and Southern Bank Building
46 Broad Street
This was the site of a tavern for well over 100 years, variously called Shepheard’s Tavern, Swallow’s Tavern, The City Tavern and The Corner Tavern. The tavern building was demolished in 1928 for the construction, in 1928-29, of the present building. The Classic style building, faced with Indiana limestone, cost $280,000 to build. Olaf Otto, designer of the Savannah River Bridge, was the civil engineer, architect and builder of the structure, for the Citizens and Southern Bank. The Citizens and Southern Bank was organized as the Citizens Bank of Savannah and merged with the southern Bank of the State of Georgia to become the Citizens and Southern Bank in 1906.
Paul House49 Broad Street
Built circa 1740 by Benjamin Smith, a merchant, this three story, stuccoed brick building with a dentil cornice and quoins, retains Georgian paneling on the upper level. The first level fenestration has been changed several times, the latest change being made in 1963. The building is often called the Paul House, because it was purchased in 1819 by Dunbar Paul and remained in his family for nearly a century. The Pauls operated a grocery store here until 1901. The wrought iron balcony is considered one of the best examples of eighteenth century ironwork in the city. During upgrades in the mid-19th century, Italianate details were carved into the stucco to save money.
Bank of South Carolina
50 Broad Street
The Bank of South Carolina, organized circa 1792 and chartered in 1801, built this substantial structure in 1797-98. The T-shaped building is two stories of brick on a raised cement brick basement. The facade has a pedimented, and slightly projecting center pavilion. Keystone arches delineate the central entrance, the lunette in the pediment and two niches on the Church Street side, while other windows have lintels with keystones and voussoirs; all these features are of white marble. In 1802, the bank became the object of the daring “Ground Mole Plot” in which one Withers entered a drain under the street near the building and for three months tunneled his way towards the vaults, living underground and being supplied with food and water by an accomplice, whose carelessness ultimately betrayed the “mole.” The vault was never entered. The bank remained here until 1835 when it moved to Broad and East Bay streets. The Charleston Library Society acquired the building in 1835 and maintained its library here until 1914, when it moved to King Street. The collection of the South Carolina Historical Society, through the courtesy of the Library Society, was located in the building from 1875 to 1914. During the Library Society’s occupancy, the building was Victorianized with the addition of an elaborate pediment and bracketted cornice. The building was purchased in 1916 by the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, which remained here until 1966. In that year, the Citizens and Southern National Bank bought the building, removed the 19th century roof line embellishments, rehabilitated the interior and replicated the wrought iron fence, based on photographs of the original. The award-winning garden was designed by landscape architect Robert Marvin of Walterboro.
60 Broad Street
Behind the exuberant Victorian facade is a double tenement built circa 1800 by Gilbert Chalmers, a master builder, who put a covered passageway through the center of the building. In 1834 the property was purchased by Angus Stewart who operated the Carolina Hotel here. The hotel was subsequently continued by Archibald Mckenzie. He rented the building in 1867 to the Home for the Mothers, Widows, and Daughters of Confederate soldiers, also known as the Confederate Home. The institution was founded in 1867 by Mrs. Mary Amarinthia Snowden and her sister Mrs. Isabell S. Snowden. The two women mortgaged their home to help finance the hone, which filled a need at a desperate time in the history of the area. The building also housed the Confederate College which provided educational opportunities for young ladies until the early 1920s. Dr. Charle S. Vedder, for 50 years pastor of the Huguenot Church, and other individuals taught at the Confederate College without salary. The Confederate Home purchased the property in 1874. The middle section with the cantilevered piazza (having no visible support) was built between 1872 and 1882. The building was severely damaged in the 1886 earthquake. It was repaired with donations from throughout the country in 1887. At that time, the Victorian Second Empire facade, with the mansard roof and fanciful dormers,was constructed. The Confederate Home today (1984) is made up of apartments of varying sizes, available mainly to people of retirement age, and a few offices and studios.
CONTINUE ON BROAD STREET TO THE TOUR STARTING POINT AT THE INTERSECTION WITH MEETING STREET.