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Monday, 07 January 2019 15:31

The Confederate Home | 60-64 Broad Street

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Broad Street has some wonderful structures and lots of stories. This week we visit 60-64 Broad Street or the Confederate Home, originally known as the Home for the Mothers, Widows, and Daughters of Confederate Soldiers.

During its strange and storied history, this property has been a residence which hosted a United States President, served as a hotel, a Federal courthouse, a college, apartment building and wedding destination.

Gilbert Chalmers, the original owner and builder of this property would not have recognized his property today. The façade of the original building was drastically changed with a mansard roof after the earthquake of 1886 damaged the property. Chalmers built a double tenement here in 1800 and his daughter inherited the property. Chalmers was born in Scotland in 1746; he died in Charleston in 1805 and is buried in the First Scots Presbyterian Church
graveyard.

Governor John Geddes first married Chalmers’ daughter, Harriet; after Harriet’s death he married Chalmers’ other daughter, Anne. In 1819 Governor Geddes hosted President James Monroe at this property. Geddes also served as one of Charleston’s mayors.

The property was sold in 1834 to another Charleston Scot, Angus Stewart, who opened the property as the Carolina Hotel. After the Civil War, the building was rented to the Home for the Mothers, Widows, and Daughters of Confederate Soldiers, an organization founded by Mary Amarintha Yates Snowdon and her sister Isabel. The sisters mortgaged their home to pay for the rent, and in 1874 the Confederate Home was able to purchase the property which was also used as the Confederate College for young women.

From Broad Street the property appears as a large house, but on entry, it is evident that the property is huge. Entering from the Broad Street entrance, one sees three stories of apartments overlooking a large courtyard and garden. In the spirit of Amarintha and Isabel’s vision, these apartments provide safe and affordable housing for older women; my grandfather’s sister from Edisto Island, Annie Seabrook Whaley, lived there after her father’s death. In addition to apartments, today some units are rented to local artists as studios, and the courtyard provides a lovely venue for weddings and receptions.

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!”

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