The Joggling Board in Charleston, SC Homes

If you’re not from the Lowcountry, you might be curious about those long green planks on rockers that grace the piazzas of many Charleston, SC homes. They’re called joggling boards, and their history and folklore are quite interesting.

CREATION OF THE JOGGLING BOARD

Joggling boards are typically 16 feet long and made of flexible pine painted Charleston green (a tint so dark it almost appears black). Although they are mainly used for decoration or fun seating today, they actually started out as an exercise device. According to legend, the first joggling board was built at Acton Plantation in Sumter County in the early 1800s. The owner of the plantation, Cleland Kinloch, was a widower who invited his widowed sister Mary Huger to run the household. That woman developed rheumatoid arthritis that made it too painful for her to do many activities. Riding in a carriage that was outfitted with a rocking chair was one of the few things she could enjoy. Upon hearing this, the Kinlochs’ relatives in Scotland devised an apparatus that would simulate the movement of a carriage ride and gently “joggle” its occupant back and forth, up and down, providing a little exercise and joint pain relief. The result was the joggling board.

Soon many houses in Charleston and across the state had joggling boards. They provided a fun way to relax on your porch or in your yard as you enjoyed the breezes and took a break from the southern heat. Throughout the 19th century they became so ubiquitous that they made their way into some of life’s most important events.

COURTING BENCHES

EA Joggling boardOne of the more colorful stories in Southern lore says that no house with a joggling board on its front porch has an unmarried daughter living there. Back in the days when proper young couples couldn’t be alone together without supervision, the distance of the joggling board was deemed adequate protection. So if the young lady sat on one end and her suitor on the other, they were far enough apart not to require a chaperone. But as they talked and joggled, they’d slowly move closer to each other. If they got so close that his hand touched her knee, her reputation for purity would be ruined and he’d be forced to propose marriage. Imagine a father concerned that his daughter may become a spinster deciding that his best option was to get a joggling board!

Another popular use was to rock babies to sleep. Nannies were often seen soothing fussy infants with the gentle swaying motion.

JOGGLING BOARDS TODAY

In the 20th century, the cost of suitable lumber increased to the point where joggling boards fell out of fashion. Today, however, they are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. One of the first companies to bring them back is based in Charleston.  They harken back to a more genteel time and still provide an enjoyable place to sit. Plus they require less space than a porch swing. As not all houses have expansive porches, modern versions are built in various smaller sizes. They are particularly well-loved by children.

If you would like to see and try out a joggling board, they are found in several museum houses in Charleston. Please visit the Edmondston-Alston House or the Nathaniel Russell House in downtown Charleston or Middleton Place in West Ashley.

Would you like to have a joggling board in your Charleston home?

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Six Spring Blooms in Charleston Gardens

Spring is a colorful time in Charleston, SC. From the lawns of historic plantations to decorative flowers in parks, the city rebounds from winter with a burst of pigments and hues. From Hampton Park to Magnolia Plantation, there are so many places to catch a glimpse of the vibrant spring blossoms. Take the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and soak in the sights of these 6 blooms, which you will see everywhere in Charleston gardens this spring.

 

AZALEAS

azaleaWant to catch a glimpse of azaleas in full bloom? You’ll have plenty of opportunities to view these shade-tolerant blooms in Charleston, where they blossom for several weeks. Azalea Park in nearby Summerville is filled with hot pink azaleas, as well as other flowering plants like lavender, wisteria and white dogwoods. The annual Flowertown Festival, held in April, brings thousands of guests to view its flora and enjoy food, craft booths and family fun activities.

 

DAFFODILS

daffodil

Daffodils take hold in spring in Charleston gardens. You can find them as early as February in most parts of the city. These perennials bloom until the end of April and continue to come back every season. Typically planted in the fall, daffodils are resistant to deer and other pests and hold up well to the hustle and bustle of the city.  They display blooms that are white, yellow, orange, pink or tricolor. They are often seen as a harbinger of spring.

 

CAMELLIAS

camellia

Charleston is home to hundreds of types of camellias, including the “Reine des Fleurs” or “Queen of Flowers.”  This specimen is the only surviving one of the first four camellias planted and cultivated in America – in 1786! You can see it today at Middleton Place, which hosts camellia walks throughout the spring. On this tour, you’ll learn about the different forms these flowers take and see other ancient camellias as well as more modern cultivars.

 

SOUTHERN MAGNOLIAS

southern magnolia

The city is famous for its magnolias, which are native to South Carolina. These trees come into bloom in May, producing gorgeous foliage in spring and early summer. Their saucer-like white flowers emit a wonderful scent that is used in many locally-produced perfumes, candles, soaps and home fragrances. This iconic tree lends its name to the famous Magnolia Plantation, where romantic gardens allow it and other plants to grow informally, as nature intended.

 

NOISETTE ROSES

Noisette rose

Take the time to pause and smell the roses in Charleston. Here, they bloom in late April and continue until the first frost, which is usually not until November. Charleston is the birthplace of one of the most famous garden roses, the Noisette rose. In fact, it’s the only class of rose to originate in the US. No surprise, they’re a favorite in Charleston gardens. You can also find them growing in public attractions like Boone Hall and Hampton Park.

 

HYDRANGEAS

hydrangea

If you’re a hydrangea lover, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to view them throughout Charleston in early summer. That’s when thousands of these large blossoms, which make beautiful cuttings, are in bloom. Hydrangeas present in many colors, including a rarity for the flower kingdom: blue. Interestingly, their hue depends on the pH of the surrounding soil, creating shades from white to pink to purple to blue. The floral clusters also dry very well, so you can enjoy their beauty into fall.

 

No matter where you roam in Charleston – from parks to plantations – there are plenty of places to catch a glimpse of these beautiful spring colors. Make sure you bring the camera and enjoy the colorful palate this spring!

 

Author David Wheeler is a landscape design writer and nature enthusiast. He is an avid traveler and loves to spend his time hiking and strolling through magnificent gardens, learning about rare and native flowers across the world.

 

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French Quarter Art Walk

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 tomorrow, Friday, December 6: the Charleston Gallery Association’s French Quarter Art Walk. This will be the last Art Walk of the year. Over 40 galleries and shops will 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.

ART WALK INSIDER TIPS

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. Prints and original pieces are available for under $50. Larger pieces of fine art and jewelry are priced up to the tens of thousands of dollars. There is truly the opportunity for everyone to find something they can afford and enjoy.

French Quarter art walkArchitecture 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.

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF DECEMBER 6, 2019

This Friday’s Art Walk includes special events at the following galleries:

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 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!

 

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A Tale of Two Charleston Live Theatres

Charleston is home to many firsts, including America’s first museum, first golf course, first regularly-scheduled passenger train, and of course the first historic district. But did you know we also had the first theatre – which predates America itself?

That’s right, New York’s Broadway isn’t the only place famous for offering live stage performances. To this day, Charleston, South Carolina continues to present many different entertainment options, making it an enticing place to live or visit.

Two Charleston theatres are DHM’s neighbors in the French Quarter neighborhood of downtown Charleston. Each has its own place in our nation’s dramatic history. Here are their stories.

 

THE DOCK STREET THEATRE

The oldest and most famous place to experience live theatre in Charleston is the historic Dock Street Theatre. It is located on the corner of Church Street and Queen Street, which was previously named Dock Street. The original structure on the site dated to 1736 and was the very first building in the colonies constructed exclusively for live theatre.

Its first production was of George Farquhar’s rather risqué play, The Recruiting Officer. This popular 18th century script was also the first to be staged on Broadway, and continues to be performed contemporarily. The first opera recital in America, Flora, also took place at the Dock Street.

Iron Balcony at Planters Hotel, Docks Street Theatre, CharlestonThat original building was probably lost along with many of its neighbors in the Great Fire of 1740. Roughly 70 years later, in 1809, the current building was erected on the site. It operated as the Planter’s Hotel for the next 136 years. In 1835, a balcony trimmed with exquisite iron railings was added. That balcony still exists above the current entrance.

Unfortunately, the Civil War destroyed much of the rest of the hotel. It stood in disrepair until the Great Depression, when it was slated for demolition. However, in 1935, the building was purchased by the City of Charleston and renovated as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. The interior of the existing hotel was retrofitted to return the building to its original purpose as a live theatre.

Stage at the Dock Street Theatre, CharlestonMore than 100 years after its first opening performance, the restored Dock Street Theatre held a second grand opening in November 1937. Following historic precedent, it staged a revival of The Recruiting Officer. The revitalized theatre enjoyed decades as Charleston’s primary venue for stage performances. It earned recognition on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

But by the 21st century, the stage was showing its age. Dated facilities and uncomfortable seating drew from its appeal. This time, the City of Charleston undertook a state-of-the-art renovation. Completed in March 2010, it leaves the Dock Street well-equipped to enter its fourth century at the heart of Charleston’s artistic community.

Dock Street Theatre, Charleston, SCSince 1978, Charleston Stage has been the resident theatrical company at the Dock Street. They produce more than 100 performances each year. Today, you can experience live theatre in America’s first playhouse, as countless residents and visitors alike have over the years. The current schedule is available here.

 

THE QUEEN STREET PLAYHOUSE

While the Dock Street is the oldest physical theatre in Charleston, the Footlight Players are the longest existing theatre company in the city. Formed in 1931, they originally acted on various stages around Charleston, including the Dock Street. In fact, they are the troupe who performed at the 1937 second opening of the Dock Street Theatre. They remained in residence there until 1941.

Queen Street Playhouse, Charleston, SCBy that time, the Players realized the need for their own performance space. They had purchased a c. 1850 cotton warehouse at 20 Queen Street back in 1934. That facility initially functioned as storage and scenery construction space, but soon proved an ideal location for their needs. Volunteers remodeled the building into a true community playhouse.

Over the next few decades, the Footlight Players regularly performed at their own theatre as well as the Dock Street and other locations throughout the city. In 1986, they moved exclusively to the Queen Street location. However, it was more than 30 years later, in August 2018, that the current name was adopted. Today, the Footlight Players host dozens of live performances each year at the rebranded Queen Street Playhouse.

 

OTHER CHARLESTON THEATRES

There are plenty of other live theatre venues in the Charleston area. Light-hearted comedy, mystery, magic, and musical shows make for a fun night on the town. Pure Theatre and the Woolfe Street Playhouse are more contemporary spaces, while the grand Gaillard Center and the North Charleston Performing Arts Center bring in national and international artists and productions. And don’t forget our local college and university drama departments. Even with all these choices, the Dock Street Theatre and Queen Street Playhouse retain their own revered places in Charleston’s dramatic history.

 

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DHM Proudly Sponsors the Fall Tours

Disher, Hamrick & Myers Real Estate is proud to sponsor The Preservation Society of Charleston’s 43rd Annual Fall Tours of Homes, History, & Architecture. This year, the tours take place from October 3 – November 2. This highly-anticipated event is The Preservation Society’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Founded in 1920, the organization’s goals are to recognize, protect, and advocate for the Lowcountry’s historic places.

If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside the grand historic estates in downtown Charleston, this is your chance. Volunteer homeowners open their doors to you and welcome you into their homes. Each tour includes 6-8 properties within walking distance, with guides stationed to help you navigate your way, as well as docents in each home to tell you more about its history, architecture, furnishings, and art.

In addition to the ever-popular house tours, there are garden tours, which let you peek behind the gates into private oases. Each Thursday, a curated tour of gardens is led by industry professionals, for those who desire a deeper dive into Charleston’s horticulture.

Then on Fridays, professional and amateur photographers alike are invited to attend a 3-hour walkabout that will teach them how to take stunning architectural photographs for their own collections. Be sure to bring a camera or phone to capture your masterpieces.

And early birds can take a morning history walk through downtown’s streets. While these strolls do not include admission into private homes or gardens, they are a wonderful opportunity to learn more about our beautiful city. Topics vary and include ironwork, the Grimke Sisters, architecture, and even our graveyards.

So put on your walking shoes and join DHM in supporting the Preservation Society for the 2019 Fall Tours!

 

MORE INFORMATION            PURCHASE TICKETS

 

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Best Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors in Charleston This Summer

It would be hard to find a more beautiful place to live than Charleston, SC. People come here for the history and beaches, and end up staying for the mild weather and beautiful scenery. The location is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, as well as those who have an appreciation for native plants and wildlife. You’ll find plenty of activities to enjoy under the warm southern sun. So get outside and check out these places to enjoy the summer in Charleston!

CHARLESTON HARBOR

Charleston Harbor and the Ravenel BridgeCharleston’s prime location on the waterfront makes it easy to access a variety of water activities. You can enjoy a sunset sail on a charter boat or test your skills by angling for a big fish. Kayak and stand-up paddle board rentals are also quite popular if you want to explore Charleston Harbor from the water. You can also catch a boat out to Fort Sumter, to see where the Civil War began. Or cross the Ravenel Bridge to the Mt. Pleasant side of the harbor to tour the USS Yorktown.

WATERFRONT PARK

Pineapple Fountain in Waterfront Park, CharlestonVisitors and locals alike are quite fond of Waterfront Park. This beautiful park stretches along 10 acres of harborfront property in downtown Charleston. It’s perfect for a morning jog or evening stroll. Bring a book, grab one of the many benches and enjoy the breeze coming off the water. Walk down the public pier and sway in one of the hanging porch swings. Take in the sights of boats and marine life. Let the kids splash around in the Pineapple Fountain, a symbol of Southern hospitality.

JAMES ISLAND COUNTY PARK

Searching for an adventure? Look no further than James Island County Park, just a short drive from Charleston. This park features great activities for anyone looking for an adrenaline rush. You’ll find a 50-foot climbing wall that’s popular with guests. Many organizations take advantage of the challenge course for a team-building exercise. Enjoy a walk or jog down one the miles of paved trails lined by subtropical loving plants. Bring some friends and challenge them to the 18-hole disc golf course. Cool off in the seasonal Splash Zone Water Park. A visit to James Island County Park is perfect for those afternoons when you need to get out of the house.

MCLEOD PLANTATION HISTORIC SITE

McLeod Plantation There are many plantations in the Charleston area that date back centuries. McLeod Plantation Historic Site, est. 1851, sits on 37 acres on James Island. Here, you’ll learn how critical sea island cotton and the plantation system were to Charleston. You’ll also learn about the lives of the free and enslaved men and women who built and ran McLeod. Walking paths take you past 19th-century buildings, which you can also tour. Keep an eye out for the many native plants that cover the area. Be sure stop by the McLeod Oak Tree, which dates back more than 600 years.

GO WEST

Angel Oak, John's Island, SCThe famous Angel Oak is located just a short drive west from Charleston, on Johns Island. You can’t miss this beautiful tree that is at least 400 years old and covers more than 17,000 square feet. The tree itself is stunning, but there are also other outdoor activities to enjoy on this side of town. Travel a little further up picturesque Maybank Highway to Wadmalaw Island. Here, check out Charleston’s only winery, Deep Water Vineyard, and sample some of their muscadine wines. Or tour the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only tea plantation in the US.

 

Author John Williams is an outdoor living expert and explorer. When he’s not traveling to nature’s well-known beauty spots, he tends to the greenery surrounding his home.

 

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French Quarter Art Walk

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. 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.

ART WALK INSIDER TIPS

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.

French Quarter art walkArchitecture 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 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!

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North Central Charleston

North Central is one of several neighborhoods on Charleston’s upper peninsula currently undergoing a residential revival. The area is bounded to the north by Mount Pleasant Street, the south by Congress Street, the west by Rutledge Avenue and the east by I-26. This up-and-coming, yet still diverse, community is composed mainly of early- and mid-20th century cottages and bungalows. Many of these older structures are undergoing renovations, joining new construction of high-end apartments and condo communities. For now, North Central remains one of the more affordable areas of downtown Charleston. Home and rent prices couple with proximity to Upper King Street and NoMo to make this a highly desirable and quickly-growing neighborhood.

Adding to its convenience, North Central is rated the 9th most walkable neighborhood in Charleston with a Walk Score and bike score of 74. Most errands, shopping, dining, nightlife and even commuting can be accomplished on foot or 2 wheels. It also borders other emerging neighborhoods of Cannonborough/Elliotborough, Hampton Park and Wagener Terrace. As a result, it’s attractive to young professionals, college and medical school students and downtown professional workers, along with families and long-time residents.

North Central mural

A mural on the corner of Senate Street and Strawberry Lane shows the layout of North Central in 1872.

Upcoming projects impacting the vicinity include the proposed Lowcounrty Low Line park, which will travel through North Central and add community green space. In addition, Historic Charleston Foundation and the City of Charleston have designated preserving the vernacular historic fabric and diversity of North Central as their top priority. Their goals of their Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative include promoting and facilitating:

  1. Historic preservation and revitalization
  2. Affordable housing
  3. Home ownership
  4. Livability and quality of life

With these longer-term initiatives in place, it’s safe to say North Central will only become a more popular and desirable destination to live.

 

WHERE TO EAT in NORTH CENTRAL

North Central is home to some of Charleston’s hippest restaurants and lounges. No matter what you are in the mood for, you have many delicious dining options including:

Rodney Scott’s BBQ – James Beard Award-winning pitmaster Rodney Scott serves up slow-smoked BBQ and all the fixins’.

Huriyali – Nutritious fresh cold pressed juices, smoothies, sandwiches and salads.

The Park Cafe – Breakfast served daily along with lighter fare prepared tastefully in an understated but refined setting.

The Harbinger Cafe & Bakery –  Locally-sourced and seasonal breakfast and lunch as well as a curated selection of top-notch baked goods.

Moe’s Crosstown Tavern – A “vintage pub” with burgers, wraps, quesadillas and sandwiches served alongside cold drinks and the latest game on TV.

Faculty Lounge – A low-key cocktail joint offering beer specials, tap wine and bar snacks, plus dance nights.

 

If you are interested in learning more about North Central Charleston or making it your home, be sure to contact us at 843.577.4115 today.

View All Homes For Sale in North Central

 

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The Best Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors in Charleston This Fall

The fall season is a busy time in Charleston, with plenty of events and activities to do. You’ll enjoy the cooling temperatures that still allow for plenty of time spent outdoors. Charleston is known to be the top city to visit in the Carolinas, one of the best places to live and even one of the top places for dogs–so you can be sure to find a variety of things to do outdoors. From parks, to tours, to water activities, there is always something to do in Charleston. Check out these best ways to enjoy the outdoors in Charleston this fall.

 

SEE FALL COLORS

Hampton Park is the place to to see the beauty of the season with the changing fall leaves. This 60-acre park is one of the largest in Charleston and features beautiful gardens as well as plenty of deciduous trees. You’ll find paved walkways to stroll along with adequate restroom facilities. Use different trails throughout the park to see a wide variety of trees and shrubs that will begin to change color with the cooling fall temperatures.

 

GO SAILING

sailboats outdoors - fall in Charleston

Getting out on the water is a prime activity in Charleston. Consider one of the many charters that will take you sailing. Fall is a great time to sail, as it isn’t too hot on the water. Consider a sunset sail to view the beautiful sunsets over the water as well the coastline in its full fall glory. Dinner options are available for those wanting to eat aboard, as well as more educational opportunities for those wishing to learn the ropes of sailing.

 

TAKE A GHOST TOUR

Taking a ghost tour in the fall is fitting for the spooky season. Charleston is well-known for being not only a historic settlement, but also a place filled haunted buildings. There are many different options for ghost tours, but the most popular is the Haunted Jail Tour. You’ll learn a lot about the history of Charleston as well as past residents…that may still be hanging around.

 

ENJOY A CARRIAGE RIDE

There is nothing better than snuggling up with a loved one and enjoying a ride through downtown. Charleston is known for horse-drawn carriages that take you all around the city. Many different tour companies welcome you on board for a lovely stroll through the historic area. Take a carriage ride during the day to get a great view of the fall colors that dot the area.

 

CATCH YOUR DINNER

friends fishing outdoors - fall in CharlestonKnown for its fantastic fishing opportunities, Charleston is a place you can catch your own dinner. Many fishing guides take you out on the Lowcountry’s tidal waters that supply redfish, speckled sea trout and flounder. Other favorite spots are the reefs near the shoreline, where you can catch varieties like black sea bass and king mackerel. Residents and tourists alike can try their hand at the world-class fishing available in the area’s waters.

 

ATTEND AN OYSTER ROAST

And if you prefer not to have to catch your own dinner, but still want to enjoy a Lowcountry seafood specialty, be sure to attend an oyster roast. Oyster season kicks off in the fall and continues through any month with an R. Most weekends, you’ll find locals and visitors shucking buckets of the steamed bivalves. Just be sure to bring your oyster gloves, knives and hot sauce!

 

GET IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

The Holiday Festival of Lights opens in early November and has been voted one of the best Christmas light displays in the country. The show is located at James Island County Park and is a driving tour that you can enjoy from the comfort of your car. However, make sure to park and explore all of the other things that the Holiday Festival of Lights has to offer, like the sand sculpture, holiday train and carousel. While it may be the end of fall, the Festival of Lights will quickly put you in the holiday spirit.

Not only does the Charleston area boast many outdoor activities, but the full range of activities caters to a broad demographic. Those looking for a relaxing time outside can take a carriage ride or walk through a park. Thrill seekers can find ghost tours, fishing charters and sailing out on the water for more upbeat activities. Whatever you choose, consider one of these best ways to enjoy the outdoors in Charleston this autumn.

What are your favorite fall activities in Charleston? Let us know (and post your pics!) in the comments.

Author David Wheeler is a landscape design writer and nature enthusiast. He is an avid traveler and loves to spend his time hiking and strolling through magnificent gardens, learning about rare and native flowers across the world.

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Crafts House – Adaptive Reuse From School to Condos

Charleston is a city full of successful adaptive architecture. Recently, the American College of the Building Arts opened its campus in the former Trolley Barn. The DHM Blog has previously profiled the condominiums at 3 Chisolm Street in the old Murray Vocational School. But this isn’t the only area school building repurposed into residences. The Crafts House at 67 Legare Street was originally home to a free school for children founded by antebellum Charleston lawyer, poet and philanthropist, William Crafts (1787-1826). Crafts was a Harvard University graduate who served in both houses of the South Carolina General Assembly.

Crafts was an advocate for free public education, and as such, purchased the property at the corner of the current Queen and Legare Streets for this purpose. He built his first school, designed by Edward C. Jones, in 1859. He called it the Friend Street School after the road’s original name. That building burned in a fire during the Civil War in 1861. A new Gothic Revival building designed by architects Abrahams and Seyle replaced it in 1881. This style, featuring buttresses and lancet arches, mimics that of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist just across Legare Street.

Crafts House Condos in downtown Charleston

By the turn of the 20th century, the Crafts School accommodated over 1200 students in 14 classrooms. In 1915, a three-story wing (seen on the right side of the accompanying photo) was added by David Hyer, who also designed Buist Academy. The Crafts School served the area’s children until the 1970s. After that, the building was used as administrative offices until the mid-1980s, when it was remodeled into condominiums. Today, the Crafts House features 31 one- and two- bedroom units in the heart of Harleston Village. Residents can enjoy views of St. Michael’s, St. Phillip’s, and St. John’s Church steeples while listening to their sonorous chiming of the hours from the nicely landscaped gardens surround the building.

 

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