46 Tradd Street - Alfred Hutty House

46 Tradd Street, a three-story brick house, was built in 1770 by William Vanderhorst for his son. The Vanderhorst (pronounced in Charleston as “Vandross”) family originally came from the Netherlands to New Amsterdam, or New York as it was later called. One of the New York Vanderhorsts moved to Charles Town in the late 17 th century, and through the years became well-known in Lowcountry society. Arnoldus Vanderhorst fought in the Revolutionary War and was Mayor of Charleston when President George Washington spent a week here in 1791 as part of his Southern Tour.

However, the name that 46 Tradd will always be known for is not a Vanderhorst but Alfred Hutty who purchased 46 Tradd in 1927. Hutty, born in 1877 in Michigan, was an artist working in graphics, painting and stained glass. He purchased a farm in Woodstock, NY where he and his family lived; he discovered Charleston in 1919 and fell in love with the city and surrounding landscape. Supposedly he visited here and wired his wife back home with the following: “Come quickly. Have found heaven.”

Hutty was hired to teach in Charleston at the Carolina Art Association’s art school and soon “made his mark”; while he sketched and painted, Hutty is most known for his proficiency in etching. He was an integral part of the “Charleston Renaissance” which celebrated a renaissance in literature, visual arts and music here between the two World Wars. With his purchase of 46 Tradd, Hutty was situated literally around the corner from writer DuBose Heyward and artists Alice Ravenel Huger Smith and Elizabeth O’Neill Verner, all of whom lived on Church Street close to Tradd.

Hutty made various changes to 46 Tradd; he is responsible for the elegant exterior entry and staircase. The original brick kitchen house in the rear was converted into Hutty’s art studio. He demolished a crumbling brick store on the west part of the property and built the brick wall
and gateway.

46 Tradd was purchased a few years ago and underwent a major restoration and landscaping of the property. I walked by 46 Tradd many times over the past few years when the gate was open as the renovation work was going on and I was surprised at how large and deep the property was. The day finally came when I walked by, the gate was closed, the work was complete.

To my delight, I was assigned as a garden docent for this property in June for Spoleto’s “Behind the Garden Gate.” The white gardenias were in bloom; Japanese maples, mahonia, farfugium, ivy and holly ferns filled the landscape with serenity. The landscaping in the rear revolved around a magnificent live oak tree, behind which was a long and sturdy table and chairs for dining al fresco with the steeple of St. Michael’s Church rising beyond the rear garden wall. The restoration and landscaping becomes a work of art in itself; I think Alfred Hutty would be quite pleased with the result.

Next week we will continue our journey through Charleston as we explore her history and buildings.