The John Lining House at 106 Broad Street

The next few posts will concentrate on several of our oldest buildings in Charleston, and we will begin with the John Lining House at 106 Broad Street, on the northwest corner of King and Broad Streets. Immediately outside of the original walled city, the Lining House was constructed before 1715. We don't know how long before 1715, but we do have documentation that the dwelling existed in that year. 

The house, an early colonial wooden dwelling close to the ground and noted as the oldest frame residence still standing in Charleston, has seen many owners and much history since 1715. 106 Broad Street is named for Dr. John Lining, whose wife was given the house by her mother. Even though the plaque on the front states "Home of Doctor John Lining...", we have no proof that the Linings ever lived at this address. Regardless, the house has been known by Lining's name ever since I can remember.

Dr. John Lining was a valued member of the new settlement on the peninsula. He was 22 years old when he came to Charles Town from Scotland in 1730, and doctors were important to a community suffering from unsanitary conditions, sickness, disease. Besides his contribution to the community as a physician, Lining's passion for science led him to study botany, human metabolism, and weather phenomena. He conducted the first recorded weather observations in America for the period between 1738 and 1753. Additionally, he studied Benjamin Franklin's experiments in electricity and corresponded with Franklin himself.

Between 1786 and 1802, the Gazette of the State of South Carolina was published at 106 Broad after the property was purchased by Ann Timothy. Her father-in-law Lewis Timothy had been a printing protégé of Benjamin Franklin before moving to Charles Town. Timothy published the Gazette starting in 1734, followed by his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and eventually his grandson.

Through the years, various pharmacies have been located at 106 Broad, with the last being Schwettman's Pharmacy before it closed in 1960. The building was subsequently purchased and restored by the Preservation Society and later used as a private residence once again. Presently, the structure houses a law office.

106 Broad Street may be a small wooden frame building over 300 years old, but I believe it represents something much larger -- the enduring spirit of Charleston that continues to prevail in spite of wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other crises.