Legare Street Lore

IMG_2114When sightseeing in the historic South of Broad district in downtown Charleston, tour visitors ask about Rainbow Row, the Four Corners of law, the Battery, and White Point Garden, but rarely ask to go by one of the most enchanting spots in the “Holy City” – 8 Legare Street.
This 1857 side-hall single house was built in Charleston’s antebellum heyday, and features the ironwork of the great Christopher Werner, as well as beautiful details in its stucco facade with grand, breezy piazzas.
It was home to a long line of traditional Charleston families, and in 1960, was purchased by a large family with many famous Charleston connections in the city’s storied past. The nearly 8500-square foot structure was just enough to hold the big family of nine, and among the children was a 7-year-old boy who was immensely curious about the nooks and crannies in the stately old house.
One day, he climbed through a dormer window above the third floor piazza, and walked out on the roof, over the crest of the gable and down to within inches of the 45-foot precipice on the northwestern edge of the house, which stretched down along aging brick and stucco, crafted by some pre-Civil War artisan into attractive quoins.
The young boy’s foot slipped, and he caught himself on the eave so high above, and nearly fell to his death. Fortunately, he did not, or you wouldn’t be reading this today, because I was that little boy, and part of the Trouche family which called the grand old house home for 30 years.
Sadly, after we’d all moved away as adults, the three-story climb of stairs to the master bedroom was too much for my father, and not needing so much house for only one couple, my parents asked if any of us wanted it. Even sadder, no one could afford the expense of such a monstrous structure, and it was sold to someone who’s name I’ve forgotten.

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