Hidden Hues

The French Huguenot church in #Charleston is a very distinctive site that we pass each day on my walking tours. The structure, completed in 1845, is very noticeable for its rare Gothic Revival architecture, highlighted by the towering buttresses with their cast-iron finials spiraling heavenward. The church was designed by Charleston architect Edward Brickell White, whose structures are still some of the most noteworthy in the city, including the grand Market Hall on Meeting Street and the equally-impressive High School of Charleston building on Society Street, just to name a few. Although so much of the building’s character is easy to see at first glance, it took more than a century to observe one of its most impressive details. Old black and white photos showed the brick structure with its stucco veneer, but of course, any color was pure conjecture. Throughout the 20th century, the old church featured mostly the bland sand-colored stucco base. In recent years, the stucco was white-washed, and the church had a white exterior throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries. But in 2014, repairs were made on the back wall from damage that occurred in the earthquake and had never been fixed, and contractors found old stucco wedged between bricks that obviously dated to the 1840’s construction. With new microscopic technology, the old sand particles were closely examined, and coral-colored powdered pigments were found mixed in. From this it was determined by architectural historians that the original exterior color of the church was coral, and the facade was restored.  <img.src=”Charleston Architecture” alt=”French Huguenot Church”

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