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The Charleston Insider

We love Charleston and keep a pulse on what's going on in our community. Whether you are looking for interesting facts about Charleston's history, stories of the people living right here in our city today, or simply looking for things to do, places to eat, and where to stay, we've got you covered!
Amelia Whaley

Amelia Whaley

Amelia ("Mimi") Whaley

Mimi was born in Charleston and grew up on nearby Edisto Island, one of several sea islands settled by planters due to their close proximity to Charleston. In addition to the Whaleys, Seabrooks, Mikells and Baynards, Mimi is also a direct descendant of Paul Grimball, the recipient of an English land grant of over 1,000 acres on Edisto in 1683; he and his family were the first documented white settlers on Edisto. In Charleston and the Lowcountry, it’s common to hear, "Everyone around here is related; it's just whether or not you claim each other…"

Mimi enjoys sharing the history of Charleston and the Lowcountry. A licensed tour guide, she leads historic Charleston walking tours Wednesdays through Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., leaving from Washington Park in the heart of the old city. Reservations are required for these Charleston walking tours which last approximately 2 hours and end in the vicinity of the Charleston Market. Private tours are also available.

Mimi is also an award-winning Charleston artist working in watercolor, oil, acrylic and mixed media. “I’m so fortunate to live in this area and share this special city through touring, writing, talking and painting – all the things I love to do!”

Tuesday, 16 July 2019 09:33

8 South Battery

8 South Battery is one of the oldest houses on South Battery, dating from 1768. This pre-Revolutionary structure was built of wood in the Georgian style by Thomas Savage. In 1785, Savage’s widow sold 8 South Battery to a young couple; the husband, William Washington, was a Revolutionary War hero, and he and his wife Jane Elliott Washington bought this property to serve as their townhouse.

Tuesday, 09 July 2019 14:22

1 Meeting Street

The property at 1 Meeting Street sold in 2014 for $4.2 million; the new owners have spent the past several years in extensive renovation efforts. The photograph shown is taken from the South Battery side of the house because the Meeting Street side with the front door gives little indication to the massive size of this house...

Monday, 01 July 2019 10:24

28 South Battery

This week we simply go next door from last week's post and visit 28 South Battery, built in 1860. While we don't have a sprawling Italian villa like 26 Battery, we do have the second floor arcades that mimic the house next door.

This approximately 5,000 square foot house was built by George S. Cook, the famous Civil War photographer. Cook, an orphan, later attempted several unsuccessful careers, but found his calling when the daguerreotype was born. He would set up a studio in a town, teach photography, then sell his business to his students and move to another town. He finally came to Charleston in 1849, built 28 South Battery the same year South Carolina seceded from the Union, and proceeded to document the Civil War here in photographs. Cook is also known for his photographs of the 1886 earthquake in Charleston.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019 14:37

26 South Battery

This week we visit 26 South Battery, built by one of the sons of Colonel John Ashe whom we met last week when we reviewed his house at 32 South Battery. While Colonel Ashe’s eldest son inherited 32 South Battery, one of his younger sons John Algernon Sydney Ashe inherited the lot at 26 South Battery, one of the largest in the area, and approximately $10,000 to build his
residence.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019 14:31

32 South Battery

This week we visit 32 South Battery, just a few doors down from last week’s post. Built around 1782, 32 South Battery originally enjoyed a front row view of the Ashley River and Charleston Harbor across what is now White Point Gardens, the first public park in Charleston. The view is still good, and the mansion commanded a huge price when it was sold in 2015: $7.72 million.

32 South Battery was built for Colonel John Ashe, a wealthy gentleman who made his fortune in shipping; appropriately, the framing of the house used wooden pegs similar to those in shipbuilding. The construction is attributed to Mr. Miller of the Miller and Fullerton partnership. Miller’s partner was Scottish master builder John Fullerton whose name is associated with several grand houses in Charleston during this era.

Thursday, 13 June 2019 08:20

20 South Battery

This week we simply go around the block to 20 South Battery, an 1843 mansion.  When built, this grand house had a front row view of the Ashley River and Charleston Harbor across what is now White Point Gardens.

 

Thursday, 06 June 2019 09:09

15 Meeting Street - John Edwards House

This week we're strolling back down Meeting Street to Number 15, a pre-Revolutionary house constructed around 1770. Imagine that there is no semicircular piazza on the side (which there wasn't in 1770), and you're looking at a double house in the Georgian style, which is all about harmony and balance, right down to the double staircase leading to the front entry.

Some may wonder what stone was used to build 15 Meeting because that is certainly what the façade appears to be...

Returning to downtown, we visit the Gibbes Museum of Art at 135 Meeting Street. Most locals refer to 135 Meeting as “the Gibbes” (and probably have no idea what the street number is). The Gibbes is the historic hub of the visual arts in Charleston.

Before the Gibbes was built, there was the Carolina Art Association of Charleston, chartered by the state legislature in 1858 to promote the arts, including art classes and exhibitions. There were several interruptions to the local arts, such as the Civil War, and in 1892, lack of funds caused the closure of the Carolina Art Association’s art school.

Monday, 20 May 2019 11:17

Middleton Place

Exploring further afield again, we travel to Middleton Place, not far from Drayton Hall, which we visited several weeks ago. Along Highway 61, you will see the signs and markers for Middleton Place. As with Drayton Hall, this visit will take you back into the early history of our region and our nation.

The Middletons, like the Draytons, came to Carolina from Barbados. In 1678, Edward Middleton arrived in Carolina and established his plantation, The Oaks, near Goose Creek. The plantation was eventually inherited by Edward's grandson Henry Middleton around 1737...

Monday, 13 May 2019 13:30

456 King Street - William Aiken House

We return to town this week and visit 456 King Street, known as the William Aiken House. Its namesake, William Aiken, was an Irish immigrant born in 1788 who came to America at the age of 10. Aiken became prosperous in the cotton and rice business of South Carolina. His name lives on in the South Carolina town and county of Aiken. He was also the father of Governor William Aiken who lived several blocks away on Elizabeth Street in the museum house known as “The Aiken-Rhett House."

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