Lamentable Loss

We are so fortunate to have such a scenic city here in Charleston, with such a wealth of magnificent historic architecture, and visitors who join my walking tours are impressed with the photogenic locations throughout – but there could have been even more. We have lost some of our best buildings, not to fire or storms, but at the hand of short-sighted individuals who apparently had little appreciation for history or architecture. The most lamentable loss, in my opinion, was the Charleston Hotel. This magnificent classical structure was completed in 1839 with a grand two-story portico of Corinthian columns that stretched an entire block. Old pictures show that it was a showcase of the Meeting Street business district, but in 1960, it was torn down to build an ugly one-story motor court. A bank building was approved on the location years later, and at first there was hope that the grand old facade would be reborn, but instead we got a cheap-looking, scaled-down version of the original that looks almost as bad as the motor court.

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