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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, 26 February 2018 13:52

Ansonborough: A Great Experiment

We'll explore Ansonborough, the first suburb of Charles Town, for the next few weeks. For an easy reference of what this area covers today, picture yourself on East Bay Street, the east boundary, in front of the Harris Teeter grocery store and consider several streets north to Calhoun Street, several streets south to Hasell Street with the west boundary as Anson Street. Now you've got a snapshot of the area of Ansonborough, somewhat expanded from its original acreage.

Completing our exploration of Rainbow Row (79 East Bay at the corner of East Bay and Tradd Streets to 107 East Bay), we'll stop at 83 and 87 East Bay Street, both of which buildings have a connection to Susan Pringle Frost, founder of the Preservation Society of Charleston in 1920. Frost, who could trace her Charleston roots back to the early years of the settlement, was a court stenographer for many years. She was also a suffragette with a passion for saving Charleston's historic architecture. Being the first woman realtor in Charleston, Frost was in a unique position to realize that passion.

Continuing our exploration of Rainbow Row (79 East Bay at the corner of East Bay and Tradd Streets to 107 East Bay), today we'll stop at 95 East Bay Street. 95 East Bay was built around 1741 by Colonel Othniel Beale, whose residence I wrote about last week.

It's easy to point out Rainbow Row by the curved or Dutch-gabled roof of 95 East Bay, which stands out like a beacon among the rooftops of this row. The house has been renovated, yet retains fine Georgian interior elements. Like the others on this row, the landscaped garden behind the house is long and narrow.

Monday, 05 February 2018 11:31

Rainbow Row Part I - Othniel Beale House

Mention "Rainbow Row" and most people know you're talking about Charleston. This colorful row of early structures extends from 79 East Bay Street at the corner of East Bay and Tradd to 107 East Bay. On my bus and walking tours, Rainbow Row is the one part of the city that everyone wants to see. The next few posts will concentrate on several of the Rainbow Row houses.

Monday, 29 January 2018 16:51

9 East Battery - William Roper House

9 East Battery was built around 1838 by William Roper, a wealthy cotton planter. If you're standing on High Battery, imagine that the 2 houses to the left of 9 East Battery don't exist, and you will have a sense of the landscape in front of this Greek Revival mansion. With no houses in front of it on East Battery until 1848, the Roper House with its massive columns was conspicuous to each ship entering Charleston harbor, a monument to Roper's wealth and stature.

Monday, 22 January 2018 13:28

1 East Battery - Louis DeSaussure House

1 East Battery was built around 1858 by Louis DeSaussure, a wealthy businessman of French Huguenot ancestry. Three stories high and built of brick covered with stucco, this house had an eye view of the Civil War. Approximately two years after the house was completed, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union, and for the next several years, the occupants of 1 East Battery lived with the constant bombardment from the Union ships that made up the blockade behind Fort Sumter.

Monday, 15 January 2018 14:26

64 South Battery - Gibbes House

64 South Battery was built in 1772 by a wealthy shipping magnate, William Gibbes. A wonderful example of a Charleston double house (two rooms wide and two rooms deep) in the Georgian architectural style, 64 South Battery had a pristine view of the Ashley River. Today that view is gone, and it is difficult to imagine the original view with the landfill and houses that now stand in front of 64 South Battery.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018 10:31

138 Wentworth Street - Kerrison Mansion

Set back from the stret on a huge lot, 138 Wentworth Street quietly stands in grandeur, bright white against the green lawn. Designed by architect Russell Warren of Rhode Island and completed in 1838, this Greek Revival mansion was built for Edwin Kerrison, a dry goods merchant.

The four fluted columns on the portico are each topped with a variation of the Corinthian capital known as the "Tower of the Winds" capital...

Wednesday, 03 January 2018 11:52

4 South Battery - Villa Margherita

4 South Battery was built in 1895 by Andrew Simmonds for his young wife, a New Orleans debutante who was given eight names at birth (but everyone just called her Daisy). Andrew, the president of First National Bank in Charleston, constructed this South Battery mansion on the site of an earlier house. As you can see from the photograph, we are not talking an "intimate little cottage."

Tuesday, 26 December 2017 14:20

16 Meeting Street - Calhoun Mansion

16 Meeting Street is one of the grandest Victorian mansions in Charleston and was built in 1876 for approximately $200,000 by George Walton Williams, a successful merchant, wholesale grocer, blockade runner, and banker. The house became known as the Calhoun Mansion because one of the Williams' daughters married Patrick Calhoun, the grandson of John C. Calhoun, U.S. Senator, Vice President of the United States, and Secretary of State.

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