High-Dollar Houses

I often take visitors to Charleston who join my walking tours down the street where I grew up in the famous South of Broad district. Legare Street was not such a pricey location when my parents bought a large 1850’s side-hall single house for less than $40,000. Back then, your average family could have afforded a house on Legare, which is one of the most picturesque and fabled in the historic city. Most of the scenic block between Tradd Street and South Battery are houses built in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was quite common to have a residence that sprawled in excess of 8,000 square feet. The long years of decline after the Civil War showed in the aging houses, as most people who owned them back then had extra money for new paint or renovations. No, we just lived in the old houses, as did other families, and Legare was filled with children played in the streets every afternoon, and with the aromas of Southern cuisine being prepared in the old kitchens. Jus this past year, two houses on the street sold for more than $10 million, so times have changed, even though the old houses look pretty much the same.

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