Charleston Harbor is where locals like to say “the Ashley and Cooper Rivers come together to form the Atlantic Ocean.” While this might be a little hyperbole, the waterway is and always has been crucial to life in Charleston, SC.
The city was founded on its banks because of the prime location, providing easy access to water transportation before inland roadways were available. Downtown Charleston’s finest homes were built along the harbor, and meant to be seen from the water. Merchants would watch their ships enter the local waterways from piazzas or widow’s walks. The location was also ideal for defense and sprung several fortifications including Fort Moultrie, Fort Sumter, Fort Johnson and Castle Pinckney – all of which figured prominently in the Civil War. The Confederate H.L. Hunleycarried out the first successful wartime submarine attack in the harbor. On the night of February 17, 1864, it sunk the Union USS Housatonic before disappearing for over 100 years. In 2000, spectators again lined the banks of the harbor to watch the Hunley ceremoniously be raised from its watery resting spot.
CHARLESTON HARBOR PORTS
From Colonial times until the present, Charleston has been one of the busiest posts on the east coast. In its earliest days, it transported lumber, rice, cotton, tobacco, naval stores, indigo, and animal furs and skins. This trade made Charleston one of the wealthiest cities in the Americas. Today, it services containerized as well as breakbulk shipments, plus cars. The South Carolina State Ports Authority owns and operates public terminals in downtown Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, and North Charleston. There are private terminals as well. The Army Corps of Engineers is currently deepening the harbor to accommodate the largest post-Panamax vessels.
Charleston Harbor also serves as home port and a port of call for cruise ships by Carnival and Royal Caribbean. Tourists are able to stroll the streets of our historic district for a day, while locals and visitors can sail to the Bahamas and other Caribbean locales right from home.
South Carolina Aquarium – with exhibits and hands-on activities highlighting South Carolina habitats “from the mountains to the sea.”
Fort Sumter Tours – enjoy a boat ride through Charleston Harbor out to the fort where the Civil War started.
Charleston Harbor Tours – another option to cruise through history and sights.
Battery – with its grand antebellum mansions and White Point Gardens.
Riley Waterfront Park – home of the famous Pineapple Fountain, as well as a popular splash fountain, pier with bench swings and green space.
Ravenel Bridge – connecting Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, with stunning views from its popular walking and biking lanes.
Memorial Waterfront Park – located East of the Cooper, tucked under the bridge. It features a pier, playground and sweetgrass basket pavilion.
Boating and Sailing – the ultimate way to enjoy Charleston Harbor and its beautiful weather.
Charleston Harbor is one of the most picturesque, as well as most utilized, areas of Charleston. Disher, Hamrick & Myers lists properties with views of the harbor from downtown Charleston, as well as James Island and Mt. Pleasant. Currently, we have several homes with panoramic harbor views available.
Take a step back into history and explore the beautiful antebellum neighborhood South of Broad in Charleston, South Carolina. The district dates back to 1721 and features rare historic homes amongst cobblestone streets. One of the true gems of the South, this neighborhood is a beloved part of downtown Charleston. It boasts traditional southern architecture and homes that look straight out of an American storybook.
While Charleston has many beautiful and unique neighborhoods to offer residents and visitors alike, South Broad is arguably the most renowned. Located between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, many of its well-preserved homes offer views of the Charleston Harbor. It encompasses the original walled city of Charleston as well as early-20th century infill projects. Famous Rainbow Row is located South Broad. This stretch of East Bay Street hosts several colonial Georgian row homes painted different pastel colors and is a top tourist attraction in Charleston. The Four Corners of Law, so-named by Robert Ripley, is at the intersection of Meeting and Broad Streets. In this part of town you’ll see guests in horse-drawn carriages viewing the grand mansions.
Some key sites to visit South of Broad include:
Battery and White Point Gardens: a public park with Spanish moss-draped oaks and Civil War cannons. It is bounded by a seawall walkway where Charlestonians like to say the Ashley and Cooper Rivers combine to create the Atlantic Ocean.
Sword Gate House: the oldest residence on Legare Street, with its famous wrought iron gates that match the pair at the Citadel. Interested in owning this piece of Charleston history? It’s currently on the market.
Edmonston-Alston House: also open to the public. Stand on the porch where General P.G.T. Beauregard watched the bombardment of Ft. Sumter, starting the Civil War. Still owned by the Alstons, its collection houses many historic family pieces.
Calhoun Mansion: the largest private home in Charleston. You may tour this Italianate beauty’s extensive collection of decorative arts and furniture, and even access the widow’s walk for an incomparable birds-eye view of the lower peninsula.
Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon: one of the America’s most-important Colonial civic structures. Your tour includes one of the few places to see an exposed part of Charleston’s original wall.
Don’t take offense if someone refers to you as an SOB; in Charleston, it’s a moniker for those who live South of Broad. A popular restaurant just up East Bay Street has made a clever play on this term, calling itself SNOB, for Slightly North of Broad. Enjoy their local shrimp and grits for dinner or Sunday brunch.
While the area is mostly residential, you’ll also find plenty to entertain. Stroll through the shops and art galleries along Broad Street and the French Quarter or attend one of the quarterly Art Walks. For a bite to eat, enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese plate at goat.sheep.cow, which is housed in a building over 200 years old. In nice weather, why not pack a picnic lunch for White Point Gardens? For a relaxed meal in a social atmosphere, you have the Blind Tiger Pub, named for Charleston’s infamous speakeasies. If you prefer a fine-dining option, try Oak Steakhouse.
As you explore the alleyways and streets South of Broad, you’ll notice the unique Charleston Single House style of architecture that lends the city much of its historic charm. Most of the homes are covered by easements to retain this historic look and fabric of the city. Disher, Hamrick & Myers currently has several beautiful historical property listings South of Broad that will fulfill all your southern home dreams. Let our team of Charleston real estate agents show you a piece of history you just can’t find anywhere else!
The 12th annual Charleston Wine & Food Festival is taking place Wednesday – Sunday, March 1-5. If you are a foodie, you won’t want to miss this premier event! Charleston is known around the world as one of the most cultured cities in the south. From our beautiful historic homes to our rich southern history, visitors from around the globe can’t get enough of our unique character and culture. But Charleston is also recognized a top culinary destination and you won’t get the full Charleston experience if you aren’t sampling our local cuisines. The first weekend in March is a special opportunity to celebrate our culinary distinctions, taste our southern fare and toast to everything that makes Charleston the gem of the south!
The backbone of the Charleston Wine & Food Festival is the Culinary Village located in Marion Square. Here, you can sample local food and spirits, meet purveyors and chefs, watch cooking demonstrations and purchase goods. More than 100 other events are also planned throughout the week. Highlights for festival goers include:
Most events are conveniently located in downtown Charleston within walking distance of Marion Square. Others are throughout the surrounding areas and have shuttle service to the venues.
All festival events do require tickets, which fit a variety of budgets. There are even hotel packages to help you plan your full weekend. Note that this event is for adults only – no children under 21 or pets are allowed – so be sure to secure a sitter. Locals can receive discounted tickets to the Culinary Village on Sunday, March 5. Those who want to participate behind the scenes can sign up to volunteer by filling out this form. Find more information including a full calendar, event details and tickets by visiting the official Charleston Wine & Food Festival website at charlestonwineandfood.com. See you there!
It’s that time of year again, but don’t wait for tax time to save money. You can do it year round by keeping in mind your qualified deductions. One of the best tax tips to save money is with good organization and planning. Keep records and notes on what you can write off so you are prepared to file at the end of the year. Here are some tax tips homeowners and residents of Charleston, SC should keep in mind this year:
It was a stormy year for the Charleston area. Flooding and damage from Hurricane Matthew affected lot of homeowners. Did you know that homeowner losses that are not covered by insurance can be deducted on your taxes? If you went through a natural disaster and suffered a loss on your home that led to receiving federal aid, then you may be able to deduct costs that were not covered under your insurance. Likewise, if you experienced a wildfire, flood, hurricane, tornado or anything similar that created major property loss, you’ll want to consider ALL write-off options with a tax professional.
MOVED TO CHARLESTON?
Did you move to Charleston for a job? Then you can deduct moving costs for that new job. The new job has to be at least 50 miles from your previous home. If you used your vehicle as transportation for the move, you could deduct mileage costs, parking and tolls. Be sure to calculate the costs of your move and save.
If you installed alternative energy in your southern abode, you can deduct some of the cost through a renewable energy tax credit. You’ll receive a 30% rebate on money spent on green items like solar, geothermal and wind. There is no cap.
Homeowners can also deduct some of their mortgage interest, as well as property taxes, for year-end savings.
If you are self-employed and have a home office in your Charleston house, you can get a tax deduction on a portion of your utilities, rent/office, as well as other items such as career memberships, education and subscriptions. Save your receipts for all your qualified business deductions and make sure to write it all off when filing your taxes. The self-employed may apply for tax deductions that regular business employees can’t. They can deduct items like part of the rent and utilities as well as equipment, work trucks, cars, vans and more.
DON’T WAIT FOR THE BIG REFUND; MAKE YOUR MONEY WORK NOW
If you normally get a big refund, it may mean you are having too much tax taken out of your regular paycheck. It’s like giving the Federal government a free loan! An important tax tip is to adjust your W4 with your employer to get more of your money upfront. Then utilize it immediately and invest it better. There are many online withholding calculators you can use to run different numbers and figure out what works best for your situation.
FUND YOUR 401K
You can lower your taxes by reducing the actual income that is taxable. One of the best and most productive ways to do this is to invest in your employer’s 401K plan. There are limitations on the amounts you can invest. In 2016, if you are under 50 years old, you can contribute up to $18,000. Employees that are 50 or older may contribute an additional $6000, for a total of up to $24,000. This extra amount allows a graceful catch-up period to improve retirement outcome. 401K deductions are taken out of your paycheck before taxes, but you will pay a tax later when it becomes your retirement income.
Another tax tip is to fund a Roth IRA or Roth 401K. These make good investments if you are worried about your taxes increasing over time and having to pay them on retirement income. You don’t get an upfront tax break with a Roth contribution, but when you start tapping into your retirement later, Uncle Sam can’t tax that income because he already did.
NO RETIREMENT PLAN OR SELF-EMPLOYED?
Perhaps you have no retirement plan through work or you are self-employed. No problem. You can fund your own retirement plans with an IRA or a Roth IRA as well. People under 50 can contribute $5500; over 50 can pay in $6500 a year. For help getting started, contact a financial planner. Financial experts like Dave Ramsey keep a directory of endorsed local providers that can teach you more about retirement planning and investing. He also has ELPs for taxes as well. You can also learn more about retirement resources through AARP.
FLEX PLANS AND HEALTHCARE
If your employer offers a health flex plan or medical reimbursement account, you can save up to 35% on taxes. You can use the pretax dollars in the account towards medical costs, prescriptions, coinsurance, copays and more — up to $2500.
Paying childcare costs with a childcare reimbursement account offered through your job can save you about one-third of the cost. You will not have an income tax or social security deduction on that portion of your salary. Don’t wait to deduct those bills later. Set up an account and receive the full benefits your company offers you.
You can claim any charity money donated to a tax-deductible charity as a deduction. Transportation to charitable events is also deductible. Track mileage and deduct it come tax time. You’ll feel good about giving back, and the government will give you a break for doing your part.
Always consider your expenses, lifestyle and costs when approaching your taxes. Many Americans leave hundreds of dollars on the table that they could claim in deductions when filing. Don’t make the same mistake. Follow these tax tips to save yourself money this year.
The Holy City has many spectacular views and landmarks, but perhaps none so remarkable as the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge. Tens of thousands cross Highway 17 between Charleston and Mt. Pleasant on it every day. However many – especially newcomers to the area – don’t know its story. The DHM Blog takes a look at how we got the engineering marvel that is the Ravenel Bridge.
DESIGN BY THE NUMBERS
The Ravenel Bridge is a cable-stayed suspension bridge with dual diamond towers, each rising 575 feet. At 1546 feet, the main span was the longest in the Western Hemisphere when it was completed. It is now the third longest. 128 cables connect the towers above to the roadway below. There are 8 lanes for vehicular traffic plus bicycle and pedestrian lanes. Interestingly, the original design did not call for the bike or walk lane. Grass-roots enthusiasts backed by Charleston Moves led the call for what is now one of the most popular outdoor activities in Charleston. It is officially known as Wonder’s Way, memorializing late bicyclist Garrett Wonders.
Have you ever noticed the tops of the diamonds seem incomplete? That’s because the initial design called for them to be topped with large beacons of light that would be seen for miles. However, wildlife conservationists pointed out this could confuse endangered sea turtle hatchlings from following the moon to the waterline. As a result, the bridge only has functional, not decorative, lighting.
The Ravenel Bridge replaced the functionally obsolete 2-lane Grace Bridge (1929) and 3-lane Pearman Bridge (1966), locally known as the “Old Cooper River Bridge” and the “New Cooper River Bridge.” As any local can tell you, driving over the Old Bridge, especially at night or in the rain, was a daunting experience not for the weak of heart. In fact, many people refused to drive the bridge, limiting population growth in Mt. Pleasant. An interesting piece of trivia is that the towers of the Ravenel are named for the original bridges: Grace and Pearman. In fact, sculptures made with metal salvaged from the old bridges can be found on each of the towers.
By 1995, the twin spans were both functionally obsolete. In addition, they limited port traffic, as their clearance above the Cooper River (once among the highest in the world) couldn’t accommodate large, modern shipping vessels. Credit for spear-heading the 20-year funding effort to replace the bridges goes to retired US Congressman Arthur Ravenel, Jr. The overall price of the new bridge that would be named after him totaled approximately $700 million. Funding came from local, state, and federal sources through the SC Infrastructure Bank, which was created for that purpose.
CONSTRUCTION & OPENING CEREMONIES
Construction began with a groundbreaking ceremony in Mt. Pleasant in 2001. The bridge was a design-build project in a joint venture between two companies (Tidewater Skanska of Norfolk, Virginia and Flatiron Constructors of Longmont, Colorado) operating under the name Palmetto Bridge Constructors. Erection of the two approaches from Mt. Pleasant and the Charleston peninsula, as well as the two towers, was simultaneous. Each span rose from the shore to eventually meet in the middle of Charleston Harbor. All construction occurred while the old bridges remained fully operational – crossing directly over the old spans and cars passing below in some places!
As the bridge was being built, locals wondered what they would call it. The “New, New Bridge”? Just the “Cooper River Bridge”? More colloquial suggestions included the “Cuz-way” for “Cousin Arthur.” As a testament to his part in securing the funding, the bridge was named after Arthur Ravenel Jr. and is known simply as the “Ravenel Bridge,” rather than by a nickname.
A week of festivities led up to the official opening of the bridge. It included a gourmet dinner served on the bridge and the opportunity for all citizens to walk the lanes before they opened to vehicular traffic. People of all ages and abilities came from the tri-county area and beyond to do so. It’s said the number of people who turned out that day equaled the entire population of Charleston. The evening before the opening, a concert with a fireworks display (the largest in Charleston history) lit up the sky. The bridge officially opened on July 16, 2005 – amazingly a year ahead of schedule and under budget.
Engineers designed the Ravenel Bridge to withstand earthquakes, high winds of a hurricane, and even being hit by ships (which actually happened to the Grace in 1946). One thing they apparently did not take into consideration was the unusual occurrence of ice on the cables. In January 2014, an rare ice storm hit the area and massive icicles formed on the cables then broke off, pelting drivers below like missiles. Thankfully no one was injured. However, as a safety precaution, the bridge was closed for several days. This severely disrupted traffic and thrust Charlestonians back into the days before a bridge crossed the Cooper River. This hazard has since been addressed.
A NEW ERA
The final chapter in the story of the Ravenel Bridge was the demolition of the old bridges, completed in 2007. The explosions used to bring down the last of the old spans were heard and felt for miles around. With that, the Charleston skyline forever changed and one era ended while a new one began. The only physical remnant of the old bridges is a support from the Pearman Bridge left standing along East Bay Street across from aptly-named Grace Bridge Street.
Crossing the bridge is now a marvel instead of a hazard. The population of Mt. Pleasant has expanded accordingly. Community parks are housed underneath it, with additional amenities to come. Perhaps its most famous use is for the annual Cooper Bridge Run, one of the largest 10Ks in the country. The race was first hosted on the Ravenel in 2006. The bridge has been featured in popular culture in music, movies, and television shows.
The Ravenel Bridge has also become a community gathering place. After the tragic shootings at Emanuel AME Church, a local group of women organized a show of support. They invited citizens to come together and hold hands across the pedestrian lane from Charleston to Mt. Pleasant as part of the Charleston Strong movement. On June 21, 2015, this “Unity Chain” drew upwards of 15,000 participants and became national news.
The Ravenel Bridge has quickly become an iconic and well-loved landmark in Charleston. In addition to vehicular traffic above and boats below, pedestrians and bicyclists cross the bridge day and night in all weather. Walking the bridge is a mainstay for tourists and athletes as well as commuters. Photographing the spans from the roadway, the water or the air is an art form in itself. Views of the bridge are a huge real estate selling point. DHM has several homes and condos for sale with amazing bridge views: Dockside 10FG, Dockside 11D, Dockside 2H and 52 Simons Street.
We would love to hear your stories of traveling over the old bridges as well as the Ravenel Bridge. Please share your memories along with photos in the comments.
How do you celebrate Christmas in Charleston and where did those traditions originate? The South is rich in history, and Charleston is no exception. Did you know that Southern states were the first to adopt Christmas as a legal holiday? (Alabama in 1836, followed by Louisiana and Arkansas in 1838.) Over the years, it’s no surprise that many regional Southern holiday traditions have spread around the country.
CHARLESTON’S POINSETTIA ROOTS
Today we hail the poinsettia as the official plant of the Christmas season. Did you know this is thanks to a South Carolina gentleman by the name of Joel Robert Poinsett? Poinsett was in the US House of Representatives and also served as the Minister to Mexico. While on a trip to Mexico in 1925, he discovered the festive red-colored flower. He brought it home to Charleston and introduced it as a holiday adornment. The rest is history. Today, throughout the South and the nation you will see these beautiful flowers displayed on the inside and outside of homes during the Yuletide season.
CITRUS FOR THE SEASON
It is a Southern holiday tradition to this day for Santa to leave some citrus fruit in children’s stockings. No, it’s not a gimmick to take up space. Years ago, finding citrus in your stocking in the middle of winter was a luxury. Citrus was only available during certain seasons of the year, so to receive an orange at Christmas was a special and expensive treat. Decorating wreaths, trees and holiday decor with different citrus fruits is still a tradition today. In fact, take a tour around Downtown Charleston or visit one of the museum houses to see citrus and evergreen decorations on the outsides as well as interiors of historic Charleston homes. To view some beautiful examples, visit The Charleston Museum’s blog showcasing the Garden Club of Charleston’s traditional holiday decorations at the Joseph Manigault House. They will be on display to the public through December 31.
FRIED TURKEY, OYSTERS & PECAN PIE
What would a Southern meal be without any of these delicacies? Fresh oysters are popular during the holiday season because their harvest is best during the coldest time of year. (Remember the old adage that oysters are good during months that have an “R” in their names.) Deep frying as a preparation for turkey also originated in the South. And don’t forget the pecan pie for dessert. The documented history of this recipe dates back to the 1880s. Legend says the French in New Orleans made a version of it after Native Americans introduced them to the pecan tree. Today this gooey, delicious Southern treat has spread across the country and is a staple this time of year. Visit Southern Living for a variety of delicious pecan pie recipes and other traditional Southern holiday foods.
What holiday treats and traditions does your family celebrate? Please share in the comments. Disher, Hamrick & Myers wishes HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all!
Near record low mortgage rates are causing many families to consider if now a good time to buy a home in Charleston, SC. Financial experts may advise waiting until you have enough money saved for a down payment, but that could be hard to accomplish for first time buyers. With today’s interest rates being so low and tempting, many people want to buy before the rates change.
2016 mortgage rates in Charleston, SC have mostly hovered below 4%. But according to the National Association of Realtors, they may crawl up a bit, possibly reaching 4.5% by the end of the year. Any hike in interest rates could change the housing market. The decision for many consumers is whether to buy now while mortgage rates are still low or risk an increase. Nobody knows for sure when the Federal Reserve will raise rates again, but if you are well-prepared, now may be the perfect time to buy a house in Charleston, SC.
GETTING THE BEST MORTGAGE RATES
To get the best mortgage rate, make sure you know your credit history. Your credit report is essential when dealing with lenders, and you can obtain it free from all three credit bureaus. Before shopping for a mortgage, make sure all of your bills are paid on time and your debt to income ratio is on the lower end. It is best to pay off your monthly credit card bills or at least go above the minimum payment. You should also know your FICO score, which you can order online. Some credit card companies even post it on your account for free.
Having a solid down payment when applying for a mortgage has its benefits. Lenders will want to know what you can put down to help them figure out what they can lend out to you. Most lenders require at least 3% and FHA loans require 3.5%. Of course 20% down is always the best choice if you can afford it, as it allows you avoid PMI (private mortgage insurance) payments.
BUDGETING FOR YOUR NEW HOME
Most lenders will base your monthly payment on 28% of your take home pay. They refer to this as the housing ratio. Financial experts recommend to budget about the same percentage of your salary to be able to afford your new home. Your monthly payment will include the principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI) costs. Most people will qualify for a loan amount of 3 times their annual income. For help in calculating mortgage payments, use this handy online tool.
Before you shop, it’s best to get preapproved for a loan. You won’t know what you can afford unless you know what banks are willing to loan you. You will have a more successful home search if you have a clear budget in place and know what your price range is. With the right data available for review, many lenders can preapprove you for a mortgage quickly. To be prepared to apply, first gather the following information that most lenders will require:
Name and Address(es) for the last 2 years
Estimated household income
Estimated household expenses
Employment and income history
Paycheck stubs from the last 30 days
W-2 or I-9 tax forms from the last 2 years
Personal assets such as CDs, IRAs, property, savings and checking accounts
There are many lenders to choose from in today’s mortgage business. Your Disher, Hamrick & Myers real estate agent will present referrals for stable, reputable lenders. You may also find a good mortgage through your local bank or private credit union. Either way, you should shop around to see who offers the best and most appropriate loan for your situation.
FINDING THE RIGHT HOME TO BUY
The important thing when shopping for a mortgage and a home is to explore your options and get the right payment and home for you. At Disher, Hamrick & Myers, our experienced team of Charleston REALTORS® will guide you through the process of selecting the right home and discuss any concerns about proper financing. To get the help you need, call 843.577.4115 today.
Disher, Hamrick & Myers is proud to be located in the heart of the city’s original commercial district on Broad Street in the French Quarter of historic downtown Charleston. And one of our neighborhood’s favorite events is coming up on December 2. The first Friday in March, May, October and December is the Charleston Gallery Association’s French Quarter Art Walk. Over 40 galleries and shops stay open from 5-8 in the evening to welcome art lovers and guests. Many serve wine and light refreshments and host artists and exhibit openings. USAToday named the art walk one of the 10BEST “Free Things to Do” in Charleston.
Highlights of the last art walk of the year will include:
All the participants are within walking distance and maps can be picked up at any location. You may start at any one and visit as many as you wish at your own pace. Strike up a lively conversation with a gallery owner or artist. Discuss your reaction to a painting or sculpture, and maybe even find a piece to add to your own collection. Art prices are very accessible, ranging from prints and original pieces available for under $50 to larger pieces of fine art and jewelry priced in the tens of thousands of dollars. There is truly the opportunity for everyone to find something they can afford and enjoy.
Architecture buffs should be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to see inside and behind the buildings normally only glimpsed from the street front. To make the most of your experience, venture off the beaten path to shops and galleries that are located in alleyways or on the second or third levels of buildings. The streets will be bustling with locals and visitors of all ages.
After the art walk, treat yourself to a cocktail or dinner at one of the French Quarter’s restaurants, like the upscale Oak Steakhouse or Disher, Hamrick & Myers’ neighbor, the recently reopened Blind Tiger Pub. The weather should be pleasantly warm and sunny, presenting the perfect opportunity to stroll the historic streets of downtown Charleston. Beautiful weather, art, architecture, food, drink and company – what more could you ask for on a Friday evening? We look forward to seeing you all there!
Disher, Hamrick & Myers takes this opportunity to look back at a school that operated South of Broad for almost 50 years: the Andrew B. Murray Vocational School. The school was named for Andrew Buist Murray, who had grown up in the Charleston Orphan House. He became one of the city’s most successful businessmen and one of its richest citizens and most prolific patrons. He also served on City Council.
ANDREW MURRAY & CONSTRUCTION
Beginning in 1909, Murray encouraged the city to fill in mash land on the peninsula. Among the streets created were Murray Boulevard on the Battery, which was named for him, and Chisolm Street. The latter was named for a family that ran a rice and lumber mill in the area since 1830. (The area now known as the Horse Lot was the mill pond. It was filled in and is now a public park.) To give back to the city, Murray donated the land at 3 Chisolm Street along most of the money to build a vocational school – the first of its kind in South Carolina.
Construction on Murray Vocational School began in 1922 and was completed in 1923. The 3-story main building was designed by architect David B. Hyer, who had been superintendent of construction at the Charleston Navy Yard and also built Buist Academy on Calhoun Street. Its Neoclassical Revival style was popular for civic buildings at the time. Construction was considered fireproof. Interior spaces included shops, offices, a lunch room, classrooms, a library, lab, print shop and lecture room. A 2-story brick custodian’s cottage was also on the property. Today it is the only school caretaker’s housing remaining in the city.
MURRAY VOCATIONAL SCHOOL CLASSES
Boys over the age of 14 initially could enroll in one of two tracks: auto mechanics or wood working. Practical hands-on instruction took up half the day, while general instruction in related fields of science, math and drawing comprised the other half. As most institutions of the time, the school was segregated and only served whites. It was also originally all-male. In the 1930s girls were admitted, but with a different set of courses: cosmetology, home economics or sales. During WWII, focus switched to preparing students for the war effort.
In 1950 the school expanded with a new auto shop because cars since the 1940s were too big to fit in the old location. This structure also served as a gym and still stands today. Murray Vocational School held public school day classes, as well as night classes for adults, until 1970. Then from 1970-1995 it was the Charleston School District offices. The building was abandoned when the school district completed its new headquarters on Calhoun Street. It was also briefly used by the US Coast Guard, but stood mostly vacant from 1995-2001. In 2002 it was named to the National Register of Historic Places, eligible for both its architecture and its historic value representing a vocational school and a segregated school.
3 CHISOLM STREET TODAY
In the early 2000s, the main school building, gym/shop and caretakers’s cottage were restored and converted into condominiums. A very successful example of adaptive reuse, the exterior remains largely the same as when it was the Murray Vocational School . Many original interior features were also preserved. The renovation received a Carolopolis Award in 2003.
Today, 3 Chisolm Street condos take advantage of the building’s civic and industrial past with soaring ceilings, striking large-scale windows, and wide-open living spaces. The courtyard is beautifully landscaped and offers residents an outdoor gathering space. The “Horse Lot” park is right across the street for exercise or dog-walking. Colonial Lake is a short walk away. Off-street parking is included. If you desire a contemporary loft lifestyle while still being South of Broad in Historic Downtown Charleston, 3 Chisolm Street is for you! Disher, Hamrick & Myers has sold several condominiums in this building. Please contact one of our agents today if you would like to make 3 Chisolm Street your Downtown Charleston home.
Want the Kiawah Island lifestyle — including membership to the exclusive Governor’s Club at Kiawah Island Resort — without the Kiawah Island price tag?
You’ll definitely want to discover Kiawah River Estates. Single family homes are available starting at a very accessible $200,000 and go up to several million dollars.
This gated golf course community is located on the southern tip of John’s Island, less than 2 miles across the marsh from Kiawah Island. It’s conveniently near the shopping and dining destination of Freshfields Village. Originally a cotton and indigo plantation, the neighborhood was developed in the early 1990s as Hope Plantation. In late 2005 it was rebranded as Kiawah River Estates. The land is a nature-lover’s paradise with lush landscapes punctuated by picturesque native wildlife. Outdoor activities abound with beaches, Bohicket Marina and the Mullet Hall Equestrian Center all within a short drive. Downtown Charleston is approximately 35 minutes away by car.
Kiawah River Estates amenities include a clubhouse, tennis courts, swimming pool, exercise room and community dock. Many homes back up to the semi-private Oak Point Golf Course, owned by Kiawah Island Resort. This Clyde Johnston-designed, Scottish-American par 72 has been rated among “America’s Best” golf courses by Golfweek magazine.
Residents also have access to four public golf courses on Kiawah Island: the Ocean Course, Cougar Point, Osprey Point and Turtle Point. You may join the nearby Seabrook Island Club for access to two golf courses, tennis, an equestrian center, fitness center, swimming pools and restaurants.
GOVERNOR’S CLUB AT KIAWAH ISLAND RESORT
In addition to its own amenities, Kiawah River Estates residents have access to the exclusive Governor’s Club at Kiawah Island Resort. This is the only opportunity to join the Governor’s Club without living behind the gates of Kiawah. Membership includes golf, tennis, pool and/or social categories. All levels include access to each of four Kiawah Island Golf Resort pools and optional access to The Sanctuary indoor pool. In addition to guest allowances, you may also add non-resident family members to pool membership. There is no initiation fee to join the Governor’s Club and annual membership starts at just $2500. Members also enjoy shopping and dining discounts and private beach access.
Kiawah Island Resort has received numerous accolades including:
#1 Golf Resort in the US – Golf World magazine
Most Excellent Golf Resort – Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence
#1 island in North American and #2 island in the world – Condé Nast Traveler
OPENING EVERY DOOR
Disher, Hamrick & Myers’ Real Estate agent Debbie McKendree recently sold a home in Kiawah River Estates and is happy to help you navigate this wonderful community. If you are interested in buying or selling a home here, contact her at 843.373.4466.