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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!”

Monday, 01 October 2018 11:43

286 Calhoun Street | Jonathan Lucas House

This is the third of three early 19th century houses nestled within the medical complex on the way to the Ashley River. We've explored the other houses in the last two posts. Again, we're in a marshy area close to the saw and rice mills located close to the Ashley River.

The Lucas House is not dwarfed by the surrounding tall, sterile medical buildings; instead, this house stands out as elegant and imposing...

Monday, 24 September 2018 12:38

268 Calhoun Street | Sebring-Aimar House

268 Calhoun Street, an antebellum plantation-style house completed in 1846, was built by banker Edward Sebring. This striking Greek Revival building in the middle of the busy Medical University of South Carolina complex overlooked the Mill Pond across from what is now Calhoun Street. This was a marshy area in 1846 close to the saw mills. Sebring’s house was next door to the house we visited in last week’s post on 274 Calhoun Street.

Monday, 17 September 2018 10:59

274 Calhoun Street

Several weeks ago we looked at the column ruins of 131 Rutledge Avenue, now known as Cannon Park and named after Daniel Cannon, an owner of saw mills near this area. In fact, the area was named “Cannonborough” after him.

Around the corner on Calhoun Street is 274 Calhoun Street, a two and one-half story cypress double house, built by Daniel Cannon for his daughter. He began construction in 1802; unfortunately, Cannon died not long after construction was started, and the house was finally completed in 1815.

Monday, 10 September 2018 12:45

60 Meeting Street

We're going back down Meeting Street to visit 60 Meeting, a three-story, pre-Revolutionary house that is still a single-family residence. Fortunately, we have an easy way to determine what 60 Meeting originally looked like. Simply look at the pink house on the Tradd Street side of 60 Meeting, and you'll see what the house looked like when it was first constructed. I frequently point out this difference between the two structures on my walking tours, as it helps people understand how drastically a façade can change depending on the style.

Tuesday, 04 September 2018 09:33

360 Meeting Street - The Charleston Museum

I visited The Charleston Museum recently at 360 Meeting Street; while I have been there several times, there are always new exhibits, and several of the permanent exhibits had changed. As I wrote last week, The Charleston Museum is the oldest in America, dating from 1773, and its collection is excellent.

On display are two of my favorites from childhood -- the Egyptian mummy and the whale skeleton. 

Monday, 27 August 2018 12:27

Cannon Park - 131 Rutledge Avenue

From my photograph you can see that there is no structure at Cannon Park; however, the site and remaining columns speak to a previous structure.

The property at 131 Rutledge Avenue was originally a pond, later filled in and donated in 1880 to the city as “Cannon’s Mall,” named after Daniel Cannon, an owner of saw mills near this area. Not long after the donation, Charleston hired Frederick Law Olmstead to draw up a landscape design for the property; Olmstead is a name associated with many of the city parks in the United States, notably Central Park in New York. He also laid out the grounds of the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.

Monday, 20 August 2018 13:59

95 Rutledge Avenue

Judge John Faucheraud Grimke started building this house in 1815 at which time he was living at 321 East Bay Street with his many children; Grimke is the father of the famous abolitionist sisters, Sarah and Angelina Grimke. However, it appears that the Grimkes never lived at 95 Rutledge. Grimke sold it to Thomas Bannister Seabrook who completed the construction around 1826.

Thursday, 16 August 2018 14:43

61 Meeting Street

This week we visit 61 Meeting Street, formerly the 1750’s stable for 59 Meeting Street. Most people would have no idea this house ever housed horses and hay. If you’re ever in town during the annual private homes and gardens tours, check to see if 61 Meeting on tour; if so, make certain you visit this Charleston treasure.

Monday, 06 August 2018 09:59

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 09:44

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.

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