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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Charleston Walking Tour

We took a nice walk around the historic district of Charleston today. We learned something of the beginning of the city as well as its time during the Civil War. Our first stop was the South Carolina Society for French Huguenots. Apparently, all of the early settlers of the city formed their own private clubs, many of which are still active today. The significance of this society's building is that it is home to two very ornate, wrought iron lanterns. Prior to the Civil War iron was found everywhere, but most of the folks gave up their iron to aid in the making of weapons during the war. Therefore, there is not a lot of original ironwork found today.

We were then shown an example of a "single house." This type of house is called a "single" because it is one room wide. Most homes were built with patios that ran down the side of the house that would get the best breeze. On the same street, all of the patios on the houses would be on the same side as the others because they found the breeze best in that direction.

In 1886 there was a horrible earthquake in Charleston. Today it would be rated 7.5 or higher on the Richter scale. The wooden houses withstood the earthquake best because they gave as the ground shook. The brick or stone homes suffered more damage and many leaned. In order to straighten these homes, iron bars were inserted through the houses and then tightened until the house was upright again. Most people have decorated the bolts of these bars, using such facades as lions'
heads, flowers, unicorns and other fanciful decorations.

The first house built near the Charleston Harbor was by a sea captain, in the early 1700s. The area between Meeting Street and E. Bay Street was marshy canals. This house was built on stilts and faced the harbor so the captain could watch his ship and others.

We toured two houses. The first, The Edmonston-Alston House was built in 1825. The second, The Nathaniel Russell House was built in 1808. Although 2000 structures were lost in the bombing of Charleston during the Civil War (it was bombed for almost 600 consecutive days), many of the homes on the waterfront suffered little damage. This was due to the cannon shooting farther into the city, past these homes. The Russell House was hit 3 times by bombs but only the 3rd floor suffered any damage.

Another interesting house on the tour is the George Eveleigh House. This house was built in 1743, prior to the American Revolutionary War. It is one of the few left that are that old.

We also saw the largest house in the city. It is Calhoun House and is 24,000 square feet of house!!!

After our tour was finished, we walked back to The Battery to take some additional pictures.
The park is beautifully maintained and houses several monuments to its founders and defenders. The houses along E. Bay Street are just gorgeous. I can't imagine trying to keep up the maintenance of these homes!!

Hope you enjoy the pictures. There are more on our Webshots site. We want to take one more scenic drive out to Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms. I was told that's were there are some huge homes. Other than that, we plan to just relax and enjoy the rest of our stay here. We leave Monday for Williamsburg.

Until the next time. . .


  1. Linds7:39 AM

    Charleston looks gorgeous! I love the houses. I want to go!!!

  2. Anonymous9:06 AM

    I agree, I love seeing wonderful old homes and Mansions! I've enjoyed seeing these pictures Terry! I would love to tour the old South sometime!