70 Tradd Street was built in 1774 by Judge Robert Pringle. It is difficult to see the depth of the house and later piazza due to the high gate in front of the driveway, but the house is on a double lot, ensuring enough property for a long driveway and garden to the side. The bay window, added to the front of the house in the Victorian era, adds to the interest of the street façade of 70 Tradd. As you can see from the photograph, the house invites passersby to stop and look.
Robert Pringle was born in Scotland and worked as a merchant in London until coming to Charles Town in 1725. He married well -- twice. His first wife Jane Allen died, and the couple had no children. He married Judith Bull in 1751 and had three sons by her. Pringle was very involved in the Charleston community, professionally and politically. He was a member of the Assembly and acted as an assistant judge. Additionally, he was active in the leadership of St. Michael's when it opened in 1761.
Only three families have lived here since 70 Tradd was built. The matriarch of this last family, Elizabeth Jenkins Young, died a few years ago at the age of 92. Liz grew up at Brick House on Edisto Island and later married Joseph Rutledge Young whose family home was 70 Tradd. She loved to go back and spend time at the "Brick House compound" as I call it. Brick House burned in 1929, and the shell that remains is on the National Register of Historic Places. Members of the Jenkins family have sine built the cottages on the property surrounding the ruins.
Liz Young was one of the first licensed guides in Charleston, and I wish I had a list of the visitors she squired around the city throughout her career. Movie stars and VIPs, including Prince Charles, would be on that list. She was a leader in Charleston preservation; Liz loved her city, and loved to share it with others. In fact, she was instrumental in my decision to become a licensed tour guide. When I moved back to Charleston in the early 1980s after graduating college and working various jobs, I started doing volunteer docent work at some of the museum houses. At Edisto one weekend, I mentioned to my father that I was considering studying for the licensed guide test. He immediately said "I'm calling Liz and then I want you to go talk to her to see if this is something you really want to pursue." (Liz and Daddy were distant cousins of the same generation who shared lots of Edisto ties.)
I later called Liz, and she immediately invited me right over to 70 Tradd Street, where she talked to me about being a guide, gave me lots of information and some very good advice: "If you want to be an excellent guide, you must consider yourself an ambassador for Charleston." A new Charleston guide was born that day at 70 Tradd.
Since we've been looking at the portion of Tradd Street that was outside the walled city, we'll take a short "Tradd Street Intermission." We'll explore the earliest part of Tradd Street in the New Year, but until then, we'll skip around the historic section to focus on some of the grand houses of Charleston.