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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, 04 December 2017 11:29

70 Tradd Street - Judge Robert Pringle House

70 Tradd Street was built in 1774 by Judge Robert Pringle. It is difficult to see the depth of the house and later piazza due to the high gate in front of the driveway, but the house is on a double lot, ensuring enough property for a long driveway and garden to the side. The bay window, added to the front of the house in the Victorian era, adds to the interest of the street façade of 70 Tradd. As you can see from the photograph, the house invites passersby to stop and look.

At 102 Tradd Street, the two-story wooden house built around 1760, we again meet the Grimke and Fraser families. The first time we ran into them was at 55 King Street, the Grimke-Fraser tenements built around 1762 and later used by artist Charles Fraser as his residence.

Originally owned by Frederick Grimke, who built the tenements at 55 King, 102 Tradd became the home of the Frasers; Grimke's daughter Mary married Alexander Fraser and they lived here with their children. One of their sons, Frederick, scratched part of his name...

Monday, 20 November 2017 09:59

106 Tradd Street - The John Stuart House

106 Tradd is a single house -- but one with a difference. Yes, it's still one room wide, but it is one of the few early residences built with a side hall. As you can see, the front door is not a false door leading to a piazza. This front door opens into the side hall. The typical single house built before 1800 had its main doorway on the side, usually in the center.

The house at 106 Tradd Street was built around 1772 by Colonel John Stuart. Stuart, originally from Scotland, became an important man in Charles Town before the American Revolution; in 1762, he was appointed the King's superintendent...

Monday, 13 November 2017 09:42

126 Tradd Street

As we continue exploring Tradd Street, we’ll visit number 126 (next door to the Humphrey Sommers House we visited last week), which was built around 1732 by Alexander Smith. In 1790, Dr. Peter Fayssoux and his wife Ann became owners of the property. Dr. Fayssoux, born in Charles Town, was of French Huguenot heritage; he was one of many Huguenots in Charles Town who rose to prominence and served his city and community well.

Monday, 06 November 2017 09:05

128 Tradd Street

Tradd Street spans the width of the peninsula; if there weren't any houses, you could probably stand in the center and see the Ashley River at one end and the Cooper River at the other end. Seeing 128 Tradd and the surrounding area today, it is difficult to imagine that when the house was built in 1765, it would have overlooked a creek and the marshes of the Ashley River.

Monday, 30 October 2017 09:10

4 Logan Street

4 Logan Street is the grand antebellum house between Tradd and Broad Streets. (The Latin "ante bellum" means "before the war"; in Charleston and throughout the South, the word antebellum specifically refers to the period before the Civil War.) Built in 1852, 4 Logan survived the last great Charleston fire in December 1861, which ravaged Charleston almost a year to the date of South Carolina's secession from the Union on December 20, 1860.

Thursday, 19 October 2017 09:10

69 Meeting Street

69 Meeting Street is one of my favorite houses in Charleston. Dr. John Poyas built this rather grand single house (one room wide, two rooms deep) on a large double lot around 1800.

The house commands our attention for several reasons. First, it stands alone with no close neighbor to the north except...

Thursday, 12 October 2017 11:08

The Powder Magazine

Built in 1712, the Powder Magazine located at 21 Cumberland Street is the oldest public building still surviving in Charleston. It is also, in my opinion, the most medieval-looking building in Charleston -- a relatively small, thick, stuccoed building with a vaulted roof of pan tiles.

One look at the Powder Magazine and I am transported to an earlier age when Charles Town was one of three walled cities in North America...

Thursday, 05 October 2017 08:49

54 Hasell Street - Colonel William Rhett House

54 Hasell Street is perhaps the oldest residence in Charleston – by that I mean the oldest building built specifically as a residence (instead of later being used as one), dating from 1712.  At the time this house was built, it was “in the country”. Colonel William Rhett (and, yes, if Rhett Butler had been real, Col. Rhett would have been “his people”) purchased property outside of the original walled city, about 2 blocks north of Major Daniels’ Creek where the City Market is now situated.  Rhett called his new property of about 30 acres “Rhettsbury”.

Thursday, 28 September 2017 09:58

17 Chalmers Street - The Pink House

17 Chalmers Street is known as the Pink House primarily because...it's pink.

The Pink House is a favorite of artists, photographers, and visitors for several reasons. First is the color. Second is the wonderful gambrel tile roof. Third is the unusual shape when viewed from the left corner side; instead of being blocked by a house on the left, there is a parking lot. Fourth is the fact that the street in front is paved with cobblestones. All of which adds up to extremely and undeniably picturesque.

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