Historic Heightening

On my walking tours of historic #Charleston, I have recently been taking visitors past this 1830’s house on Water Street, where a very unusual transformation is currently taking place. The house was built in a low elevation area that was filled from Vandrhorst Creek, that once flowed from Charleston Harbor inland to the center of the city peninsula. Like many older Charleston structures built in former wetlands, the old house has suffered from flooding when high tides and heavy rain cause the old creek to become wet all over again. The current owners decided enough was enough, and are having the historic house raised 8 feet. To do this, the structure ‘s foundation was exposed, and contractors found that the old house had been built on a “raft” – a matrix of cypress and cedar planks beneath the ground above the water table, intended to keep it from sinking into the soft ground. The raft was built in layers, and is several feet thick, requiring augers to cut holes through for 75 cylindrical steel supports that will be cork-screwed down eighty feet to the hard clay marl. The grand old house will soon have a new life higher above the street and any flooding waters, and will be a landmark for the fascinating ingenuity used to build in the colonial and antebellum eras. <img.src=”Charleston Architecture” alt=”House Raising”

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