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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!
Diary of a Charleston Tour Guide

Diary of a Charleston Tour Guide

“Local history, occasional anecdotes, personal reflections of a Charleston tour guide.”

Monday, 11 March 2019 09:48

2 Amherst Street

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This week, we travel to the other side of the Charleston peninsula as we visit 2 Amherst Street, located on the corner of East Bay and Amherst Streets, completed around 1808 and associated through the years with three old Charleston families. The house is a little different from other Charleston houses; 2 Amherst has a double piazza that crosses the front and then wraps part of the two sides of the house. Even from the exterior, this house exudes a charm of its own.

Monday, 04 March 2019 09:56

99 Bull Street

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As founder and owner of the newspaper, Captain Dawson was involved in civic affairs, kept abreast of national and international news and communicated the same to his readers. He was a leader in the community and uniquely positioned to have a clear picture of the issues of the day, of which there were many. After the Civil War and during the Reconstruction era, the entire South was in a major, and frequently volatile, transition. Dawson used the paper, his "voice," to bring clarity to the situations surrounding Charleston and the South. I would imagine that Dawson was aware of the good, the bad, and the ugly in Charleston; it appears he did not hesitate to confront what came his way. That boldness led to his premature death.

Monday, 25 February 2019 09:34

109 Broad Street

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This week we stay on Broad Street and travel west to visit 109 Broad. The lot was owned by Martin Campbell before the American Revolution, having been purchased in 1773. There is some confusion over the actual date of the house construction, probably pre-Revolutionary, perhaps 1776, or soon after the American Revolution around 1783. In any event, we know the house was standing by 1783.

This week we stay on Broad Street and travel west to visit 109 Broad. The lot was owned by Martin Campbell before the American Revolution, having been purchased in 1773. There is some confusion over the actual date of the house construction, probably pre-Revolutionary, perhaps 1776, or soon after the American Revolution around 1783. In any event, we know the house was standing by 1783.

Monday, 18 February 2019 08:42

50 Broad Street

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This week we visit another original bank building at 50 Broad Street. This two-story building atop a raised basement was built in 1798 to house the Bank of South Carolina. Presently 50 Broad Street is no longer a bank, but has housed different businesses through its illustrious life.

Brick and marble are the prominent exterior features of 50 Broad and would seem to symbolize the solidity of the bank. Since Charleston has no stone, the imported white marble also symbolized the costliness of the building. The local brick, probably from the Boone Hall area, is laid out in a pattern known as the Flemish bond, where each row or "course" alternates a header, stretcher, header, stretcher, etc. More time and labor are required for this style of brickwork and thus Flemish bond is more expensive. It is also considered the most attractive of brickwork patterns.

Monday, 11 February 2019 10:36

46 Broad Street

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This week we'll go back up Broad Street to 46 Broad where South State Bank is now located. This building is new by historic Charleston standards, having been constructed less than 100 years ago.

46 Broad was built as a bank in 1929, certainly not the most auspicious year for banking since the Great Crash (of the stock market) occurred in October of that year and ushered in the Great Depression. From its beginnings to the present, banking has remained the business of 46 Broad. Built by Olaf Otto, a civil engineer who also designed the Savannah River Bridge, this building stands out with its portico of fluted columns and ionic capitals.

Monday, 04 February 2019 09:43

119 Broad Street

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This week we visit 119 Broad Street, across the street from last week's post on 114 Broad Street. The property was purchased by Morton Waring in 1803 and his house was completed by 1807. Waring had accumulated his wealth as a factor, or a middleman between seller and purchaser of crops and other goods ...

Monday, 28 January 2019 12:24

114 Broad Street - Colonel Thomas Pinckney House

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This week we visit 114 Broad Street, another Charleston house in the grand tradition, constructed of brick over a raised basement with a cascading staircase from each side of the portico. The construction was begun by Ralph Izard before 1800 but not completed until Colonel Thomas Pinckney purchased it in 1829. He and his wife, Eliza, the daughter of Ralph Izard, completed the house, hiring the Horlbeck brothers, builders of the Old Exchange Building, to finish construction. If you visit the Gibbes Museum of Art, make sure to see the miniatures in its collection of Thomas and Eliza Pinckney; they are an extremely attractive couple.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019 10:05

110 Broad Street - The William Harvey House

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This week we visit the William Harvey House at 110 Broad Street. 110 Broad Street is one of our earlier structures, dating from 1728, and has been altered and renovated several times. Today this structure remains a single-family residence.

In addition to this early pre-Revolutionary house having escaped the 5 great fires of Charleston, the owners and inhabitants of 110 Broad are a fascinating part of the history of this city.

Monday, 14 January 2019 13:15

The Daniel Ravenel House - 68 Broad Street

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68 Broad Street is Charleston's oldest legacy house, completed by 1800. This brick single house replaced an earlier wooden residence that burned in the great fire of 1796. The original property was more extensive than it appears now, as it included the Washington Park property until that property was condemned and landscaped as the park.

Monday, 07 January 2019 15:31

The Confederate Home | 60-64 Broad Street

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Broad Street has some wonderful structures and lots of stories. This week we visit 60-64 Broad Street or the Confederate Home, originally known as the Home for the Mothers, Widows, and Daughters of Confederate Soldiers.

During its strange and storied history, this property has been a residence which hosted a United States President, served as a hotel, a Federal courthouse, a college, apartment building and wedding destination.

Wednesday, 02 January 2019 09:51

New Year Greetings from The Charleston Hat Man | 43-47 Broad Street

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Happy New Year 2019! The Charleston Hat Man is one of our favorite iconic images and has been around for more than 100 years. This image is on the Church Street corner of 47 Broad Street.

43-47 Broad Street was built in 1855 by Charles Love and Conrad Wienges, saddlers and harness makers. In 1870, Charles Plenge bought the building and altered the façade, specifically adding a cornice with the name "Plenge." C. Charles Plenge was born in 1827 in Kassel, Germany and later emigrated to Charleston. Plenge established and operated a haberdashery at 43-47 Broad Street, selling men's clothing, hats, and other accessories. Mr. Plenge died in 1877, before the date of the Charleston Hat Man painting, which appears to be in the early 1890s.

Thursday, 27 December 2018 08:42

18 Bull Street - Blacklock House

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Holiday greetings are evident at the Blacklock House at 18 Bull Street. At the time of its construction in 1800, 18 Bull Street was considered more of a suburban retreat, as the area did not yet have much surrounding construction. As Charleston grew, houses sprang up in the area, but 18 Bull still stands out as a grand mansion in the area and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

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