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Monday, 19 November 2018 14:27

34 Chapel Street

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This week we visit 34 Chapel Street constructed in 1840 using elements of both the Greek Revival and Gothic Revival styles. 34 Chapel is 6,500 square feet and rises above its neighboring structures; the distinctive double bowed piazzas in front are part of what makes this house a “show stopper” on Chapel Street.

34 Chapel was built by a member of the Toomer family, either Dr. Anthony Vanderhorst Toomer or his son, Dr. Henry Vanderhorst Toomer. We met the Vanderhorsts (pronounced “Vandrost” or sometimes “Vandross”) several weeks earlier in the post regarding 28 Chapel Street. The Toomers settled in the Lowcountry in the 18 th century and several are mentioned for their service and bravery as patriots in the American Revolution, including Joshua Toomer whom Banastre Tarleton’s men led a search to capture but failed. Joshua Toomer married the daughter of William Vanderhorst who owned Richmond Plantation in Mount Pleasant. Their son, Anthony Vanderhorst Toomer became a physician; he was also a planter with extensive land holdings in Lowcountry including Richmond Plantation, which he inherited from his parents. Dr. Anthony Toomer owned various properties in Charleston, and he also owned a home in Rhode Island.

Dr. Anthony Toomer had built an earlier house at 36 Chapel Street, next door to 34 Chapel. 36 Chapel, dating from 1809, is a fine Federal style house with double piazzas. Today, however, the house is partially hidden behind foliage while the view of 34 Chapel is unobstructed and enhanced by the lone, tall palmetto tree in front.

Dr. Anthony Toomer’s son, another celebrated Charleston physician, Dr. Henry V. Toomer, lived with his family at 34 Chapel Street. Unfortunately, Dr. Henry Toomer died prematurely; he was treating those with yellow fever during Charleston’s 1858 Epidemic, became infected and died at the age of 45.

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!”