ALWAYS ATTRACTIVEHistoric Charleston is the ideal place to visit or plan a trip simply because it is always enjoyable year round. We have an amazingly scenic city with so much grand historic architecture, and dazzling gardens that feature some blooms and color each season. Add to that the fact that we have boundless waterfront and oceanfront, as well as first class restaurants and hotels – you just can’t beat a visit to Charleston.
Those who come a visit on tours of historic Charleston invariably remark about the oddball numbers on some of the street addresses in the old city. Residential numbers came after the Revolution, and since then, some other buildings have sneaked in among them, so to speak. Either these where old kitchen and carriage houses that were later made into residences or larger house whose parts were divided, leaving us with many 1/2 addresses and a few zeros.
Bridges spanning the Ashley and Cooper rivers to the old city have been struck violently more times than a piñata, creating both tragedy and comedy. The first wooden bridge across the Ashley was built in 1810, but hit by hurricane and destroyed 3 years later. Other than a railroad bridge that was destroyed during the Civil War, there was no vehicle traffic across the Ashley until the late 1800’s, when the steel swing bridge design emerged. But the Ashley bridge was badly placed in relation to the channel and was struck by so many ships, it was declared a hazard to navigation in 1921, and one tug going through was struck in the stern when the revolving trestle did an out-of-control 360. The new bridge opened in 1926 didn’t fare much better, being plowed into by the SS Fort Fetterman in 1955, and cars were redirected across a rail trestle upriver for weeks until it was fixed.
It is a statuesque natural sculpture that shadows the South, known for hardiness and hardness, offering great benefits to nature and the human eye. It is an evergreen that loses its leaves, whose dead membranes carry on through centuries of age, once found throughout the seven seas, and literally brought colonial shipbuilding to its knees. The Live Oak is known scientifically as Quercus (kwerkus) Virginiana, as it was in 1610 that Virginians first identified this American giant as a separate species. Growing easily in acidic or alkaline soil, and tolerating both moist and sandy soil, the Live Oak is at home along the Southern U.S. coast. Being very impervious to rot and insects, the Live Oak can live centuries, adding mass to its trunk as inner xylem layers that transport water and minerals continuously die and are replaced. Its spreading canopy has an enormous tensile strength that can extend well over 100 feet, with heights reaching up to 75 feet, and the Angel Oak on Johns Island, which is named for the Angel family by the way, provides more than 17,000 square feet of shade.
It is named for its physical beauty, and famed for its spiritual duty, a graceful Southern jewel made more radiant from the North. Reborn from the pages of Life, focused heavenward through the eyes of a saint, a place whose soil and water beckon with the edible and the the incredible, it is more Des Moines than the city in Iowa, and less a Moncks Corner than the town in South Carolina. Mepkin was created in the 17th century as a corn and wheat plantation along the Cooper River, and named for the Cusabo Indian word meaning “serene and lovely”, but its grand oaks and dazzling banks of azaleas would eventually leave the crops in the dust. Mepkin was purchased in 1936 with wealth made from Life magazine by publisher Henry Luce, whose wife Clare Booth Luce had been inspired by Southern poet Sidney Lanier to come South and find a place relaxing to the soul. She commissioned New York landscape architect Loutrell Briggs to create a dazzling floral display along the bluffs of the Cooper called Mepkin Garden, and after converting to Catholicism, she donated part of it to Trappist Monks in 1949 for the purpose of an abbey.
Charleston Footprints Walking Tours is the highest rated on Google reviews. I conduct all the tours as a 7th generation Charlestonian, and I have an extensive knowledge of the city’s history, architecture, legends, gardens, ironwork, fortifications, and can answer any question about Charleston with knowledge and confidence. It is a two-hour walking tour of Charleston, ideal for visitors and tourists who want to get a complete overview of the city.
The captivating color found throughout Charleston in its architecture, gardens, wildlife, and landscapes. Aesthetic beauty has both an inspiring and a calming effect, and the opportunity to immerse ourselves in this picturesque palette perhaps explains the traditional unhurried nature of Charlestonians, compelling so many to visit and embrace the abundance on display each day, while inspiring one of our own known for visual portrayals of the city to say long ago, “The slower measure which we tread has brought many to visit us who have run the race too rapidly.”
Hailed once as the tallest building in the world, the Washington monument was the brainchild of a Charlestonian who won fame for designing a lunatic asylum. The Washington Monument was designed in 1836 by Charleston-born architect Robert Mills, who had become nationally-heralded for creating imposing classical structures with innovative fireproof concepts, such as our own Fireproof Building and the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum, both finished in 1827. Mills based his original design on the popularity of Roman and Greek styles that were popular at that time, and his version called for a obelisk with surrounding columns at its base. The original design was altered and completed in 1884.<img.src=”Charleston Architecture” alt=”Robert Mills”
On my walking tours of historic Charleston, I like to give visitors information from top to bottom, literally. One of the scenic aspects found in many of the older buildings in the city comes from changes made long after they were built. One such common look is the Mansard roof. The high-hipped style of this rood became very popular in the Victorian era – late 1800’s and early 1900’s. That was a time when many residents of Charleston were cash poor after the Civil War and usually could not afford to build new houses. So what they often did was to add a new detail to the house that was already there, and today you’ll see numerous Mansard roofs on buildings that were built many years before that became stylish. <img.src=”Charleston Architecture” alt=”Mansard Roof”
St. Philip’s is the oldest congregation in the city, but not the oldest structure. The original St. Philip’s church was built in 1680, where St. Michael’s stands today, and after the parish was split in two in 1706, a new St. Philip’s was planned on what is now Church Street. The 1723 structure burned in 1835, and the current church was begun the same year.
The grand interior was designed by architect Joseph Hyde, who replicated the Mannerist style of that English architect James Gibbs featured in St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London. The exception details of plasterer Thomas Weaver and wood-joiner William Axson give the church nave a spectacular appearance, and the splendor of processional ceremonies is enhanced by a more recent addition – the 1970’s antiphonal organ, with its horizontal pipes that send sound waves booming across to the chancel and back.
The 198-foot steeple was added in 1848, designed by Edward Brickell White, and all eleven of the original bells were donated to the Confederacy and melted down for cannon. <img.src=”Charleston Architecture” alt=”St. Philip’s Church”