The house at 82 Anson Street in Ansonborough is one of the few buildings that escaped the 1838 fire that destroyed many of the structures in this area. This house was built about 1799, and the interior retains its original Federal style features.
A wealthy merchant with his home on Meeting Street, Josiah Smith built this hosue for his daughter Mary Smith. Mary never married; she died in 1832 and left the property to her nieces and nephews. The house remained in the family until a few years after the Civil War.
When the City of Charleston made plans to build the Gaillard Municipal Auditorium and parking garage in the 1960s, the Historic Charleston Foundation purchased the house as part of its Ansonborough project. To save the house, it was moved in 1967 to a nearby lot whose structure had been demolished. The house was relocated approximately 100 feet south on Anson Street. Slow-going, at perhaps two feet per hour, the move was finally accomplished and the house settled at its present location at 82 Anson Street.
Although the address of this house is on Anson Street, the entrance to the property is actually on Laurens Street, and my accompanying photograph shows the street entrance to the property. Personally, I'm delighted the entrance was changed from Anson Street; if not, you wold miss the elegance of this view of the garden and house.
The house is made of local brick, and its piazzas were recycled from a different property at 321 East Bay, a house built at the same time as 82 Anson. The current owners have created the lovely and spacious garden with the pool. The perimeter is landscaped with tall hedges and bushes, which create a feeling of privacy. I have served as a garden docent here, and one of my favorite features is the aquatic pool with water plants that contributes to a sense of peace and well-being. Interestingly enough, the owners have begun a hedge of live oak trees along the wall bordering the neighbor property on Laurens Street.
If you're in the vicinity, seek out 82 Anson Street, peer through the gate, and breathe in the beauty of this property.
We will continue our wanderings through Ansonborough next week.