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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, or stories of the people living right here in our city today, or simply looking for things to do, places to eat, 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!”

Monday, 06 August 2018 13:59

59 Meeting Street - Branford Horry House

This week, we visit 59 Meeting Street at the corner of Meeting and Tradd Streets. Looking at my photograph, pretend the two-story portico is not there and you will see the structure that was built in 1750 (well, the front door was probably not painted red).

This fine Georgian three-story, stuccoed brick double house belonged to William Branford and his wife Elizabeth Savage...

Monday, 30 July 2018 13:44

46 Tradd Street - Alfred Hutty House

46 Tradd Street, a three-story brick house, was built in 1770 by William Vanderhorst for his son. The Vanderhorst (pronounced in Charleston as “Vandross”) family originally came from the Netherlands to New Amsterdam, or New York as it was later called. One of the New York Vanderhorsts moved to Charles Town in the late 17 th century, and through the years became well-known in Lowcountry society. Arnoldus Vanderhorst fought in the Revolutionary War and was Mayor of Charleston when President George Washington spent a week here in 1791 as part of his Southern Tour.

Monday, 23 July 2018 13:55

59 Church Street - Thomas Rose House

59 Church Street is one of largest early houses in the original walled city of Charles Town; two and a half stories with dormers, the house was built by Lowcountry planter Thomas Rose around 1735. Rose’s wife, Beauler Elliott, inherited the lot with a previous house on it from her father, Thomas Elliott.

Rose tore down the previous house and replaced it with the structure you see today, minus the side piazza. Originally constructed as a double house, the front door was centered with two windows on each side facing Church Street (much like 69 Church Street which we looked at two weeks ago). In 1734, Rose had written his brother in England to send bricklayers to him; 59 Church Street is brick covered with stucco. The house has been painted the soft buttery yellow ever since I can remember. 

76 Church Street was built around 1785 and appears small and charming, which I’m sure it was when DuBose Heyward, Charleston native and author of the novel Porgy, lived there between 1919 and 1924.

69 Church Street is one of the finest properties in Charleston and is packed with history. This Georgian double house was built between 1745-1750, at which time Charles Town was the fourth largest port in America and possibly the wealthiest.

The brick house covered with soft pink stucco is 7,513 square feet, and the property is .29 acres. This large property has five exquisitely landscaped garden rooms, a pool and a kitchen house connected to the main house by a Charleston "hyphen" (a modern term used to describe the connector built to join two structures). Although the photograph does not show it, the ceilings on the third floor are the same height as the first and second floors.

Monday, 02 July 2018 14:00

35 Meeting Street

The lot at 35 Meeting Street was acquired by Stephen Bull in 1694, and his son William built the stuccoed brick house (minus the piazzas, which were added much later) around 1720. Three and one-half stories on top of a raised basement make this single-family residence one of the most imposing houses of the colonial era in Charleston. 35 Meeting Street is also a house infused with the early history of Charles Town.

The Bull family, originally from England, was much involved in the early proprietary and royal governments. Stephen Bull of Kingshurst Hall, Warwickshire, England came to Carolina in 1670 on the first ship to settle here, the "Carolina." He came as the personal representative of Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, one of the eight Lords Proprietors to whom King Charles II gave the land known as Carolina in gratitude for the restoration of the English monarchy. 

Tuesday, 26 June 2018 13:20

34 Meeting Street

Approaching June 28, Carolina Day, and July 4, Independence Day, we visit 34 Meeting Street with its long and storied history, especially in connection with the birth of the United States. The large pre-Revolutionary structure is a double house, two rooms wide and two rooms deep; the piazza was added after 1900. Constructed around 1760 by the Bull family, the house was rented by Lord William Campbell in 1775 while serving as the last royal governor of South Carolina.

143-145 Church Street with its hipped roof, dormers and red shutters is a familiar site to Charlestonians. The structure was originally built with brick and Bermuda stone as a double tenement around 1740 by Alexander Peronneau, a wealthy French Huguenot. The double tenement was renovated and converted into a single-family residence in 1928, at which time the buildings in the back were constructed with brick recycled from Shepheard's Tavern, which had been torn down in 1924.

St. Michael's Church is normally open for visitors during the day Monday through Saturday. If the main doors or the door on the right side are open, you have an invitation to go inside to visit and/or pray.

Behind the altar is an 1893 Tiffany window of St. Michael slaying the dragon. When you go there, notice the magnificent wrought iron altar rail, imported from London in 1772. Years ago when I was a member of St. Michael's, the altar rail was black; I remember when the church, after study and analysis, decided to paint it an historical color. We have no documentation that the altar rail was painted the Prussian blue with gold highlights it bears today, but the blue is a period color, and the altar would have been painted in 1772.

This week we'll visit St. Michael's Anglican Church, 80 Meeting Street, at the fourth Corner of Law. St. Michael's represents God's Law. There has always been a church at this site since Charles Town settled the peninsula in 1680.

If you read the buildings at the Four Corners of Law, you will see that the top of City Hall is not as tall as the top of the Old State House. The United States Post Office has a tower that is much taller than either city Hall or the Old State House. However, the tower is not as tall as St. Michael's steeple, because "nothing is higher than God's Law."

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