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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.

However, fortunes change, and Waring found himself in adverse circumstances. He subdivided the property and sold the lot with the house at 119 Broad Street in 1811 to Mordecai Cohen. Cohen added to the property in 1818 when he purchased the lot to the west of the house. Mordecai Cohen was born in Poland in 1763 and later emigrated to the United States. He soon made his fortune in real estate and banking, and he was known to be one of the wealthiest men in Charleston in the 1830s.

Directly across the street from Cohen's mansion was St. Andrews Society Hall at 118 Broad Street, built around 1815 (this Hall burned to the ground during the last great fire of 1861, and the site is now commemorated with a plaque). St. Andrews Society Hall hosted the Marquis de Lafayette during his stay in Charleston in 1825.

Lafayette took over a year to tour each of the 24 states of the United States in 1824-1825. He arrived in Charleston on March 15, 1825 and stayed three days here, visiting and being entertained by the Charleston elite. In the digitized collection of Lafayette College in Pennsylvania is an invitation to a banquet in Lafayette's honor to be held at City Hall, March 1825 at 4:00 pm. This dinner must have been quite an elegant affair; we know that Charleston borrowed the gold dinner service belonging to Mordecai Cohen to use at that dinner.

Unfortunately, Cohen later experienced his own financial adversity and sold 119 Broad Street in 1844. The property passed through several owners and in 1957, the Roman Catholic Diocese bought 119 Broad Street for $60,000 to use for office space.

In August 2018, the Catholic Diocese sold 119 Broad for $6,250,000. The house is over 8,000 square feet with a carriage house of over 2,000 square feet. Finally, it appears that 119 Broad will be converted into a magnificent residence again.

Next week we will continue to explore Charleston history through her places and people.


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!”

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