Hidden Harleston

IMG_2218 Some of historic Charleston’s most beautiful architectural details can be found on streets rarely wandered by tourists. Over in Harleston Village, on streets such as Montagu, Bull, Smith, and Pitt, there are exquisite works in wrought iron, plaster, brick and wood that have stood silently for centuries in one of Charleston’s least-traveled locations. The neighborhood dates back to the 18th century, and was officially laid out as the Village of Harleston shortly before the Revolutionary War. At that time, the streets bordered the marshes of the Ashley River and Coming’s Creek, and opulent houses were built by planters and merchants hoping to enjoy the breezes and wetland scenery.
By the 1880’s, Coming’s Creek was a memory, filled in to create the thoroughfare now called Rutledge Avenue, and it’s easy to see the rise and fall of the street’s contour that follows the old wetland areas. Harleston Village fell on hard times after the Civil War, and many grand old homes fell into disrepair and some were lost. Others, such as the magnificent Isaac Jenkins Mikell house on Rutledge, barely passed the wrecking ball and survived as home to the Charleston Library Society from 1935-1960.
Since the 1980’s, Harleston Village has enjoyed a beautiful restoration, and the old homes are grand once again, and are an inviting spectacle for visitors wishing to see Charleston off the beaten path.

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