59 Meeting Street - Branford Horry House

This week, we visit 59 Meeting Street at the corner of Meeting and Tradd Streets. Looking at my photograph, pretend the two-story portico is not there and you will see the structure that was built in 1750 (well, the front door was probably not painted red).

This fine Georgian three-story, stuccoed brick double house belonged to William Branford and his wife Elizabeth Savage, who had inherited the large property from her uncle. Branford was a planter with substantial acreage outside Charles Town; one of his properties was Old Town Plantation, part of the original settlement in 1670 farther up the Ashley River from the peninsula.

59 Meeting Street was laid out a bit differently than other properties in Charles Town. The majority of structures in the most historic district of the city front on narrow, deep lots with the dependency structures behind the big house. 59 Meeting instead had the dependencies to the side. The stable house fronts on Meeting Street and is now a private residence. Behind the stable house was the kitchen building, which was later demolished.

The house stayed in the family for many years. Ann Branford, daughter of William and Elizabeth, married Thomas Horry of French Huguenot heritage. Ann and Thomas' son Elias Horry, owner of several plantations, served several terms as Mayor of Charleston; he was also President of the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company. It was Elias who updated 59 Meeting in the Regency style by adding the double portico with the first two orders of Greek columns.

Subsequent owners of 59 Meeting Street have been faithful stewards of this historic property through the years. Much of the original woodwork and molding remains due to the preservation efforts of these owners. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places and was one of the homes open to the public in 1948 for Historic Charleston Foundation's First Annual Festival of Homes.

Next week, we will visit next door, 61 Meeting Street, the original stable house to 59 Meeting.