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This is where it all began -- the site of the opening battle of the deadliest war in all American history. The estimated 620,000 to 750,000 soldiers and sailors who perished make it deadlier than ALL other American conflicts COMBINED. Thirty per cent of all men of South Carolina who served from 1861-1865 did not survive.

It should come as no surprise as a visitor in Charleston (any more than in Honolulu and Pearl Harbor) when someone speaks about "the war" ...

Fort Sumter has been voted by Conde Nast Readers Choice Awards as a #1 Top US Destination. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Fort Sumter is located at the entrance of historic Charleston, South Carolina's harbor and celebrated its 150th Anniversary in April 2015. Best known as the site upon which the shots that started the American Civil War were fired, a visit to Fort Sumter is an authentic piece of American history.

72 Anson Street dates from 1846, replacing the first house on this lot, which was destroyed by the 1838 fire that burnt much of Ansonborough. If you drive down Anson Street today, 72 Anson is the single house with the red door. Instead of a front door view, I chose to use my recent photograph that shows the side of the house with its white piazza peeking through the white blooms of a magnificent dogwood in the expansive garden. Spring is here!

Views, unsurpassed! Cruise through Charleston harbor as the sun begins to set with an explosion of color. Photo Ops are pletiful with the twin-spanned Ravenel Bridge as backdrop. Patriots Point and the USS Yorktown on the port side of your Fort Sumter Tour boat and historic Charleston's Rainbow Row, High Battery and architectural rooftops to starboard as you cruise through Charleston's famous harbor.

Laurens Street ends in front of 75 Anson Street. This house was built around 1800 by Joseph Legare, whose father owned the property next door at 79 Anson Street.

Legare, pronounced "Luh-gree," is an old Charleston name. It is my understanding that the first Legare immigrated here in the late 17th century. While the Legare ancestry is French and is associated with the Huguenots escaping persecution in France, the early Legares seem to have been members, not of the Huguenot Church on Queen Street, but of the Circular Congregational Church on Meeting Street. Both Joseph Legare and his father, Daniel Legare, are buried there.

Still wandering around Ansonborough, this week we explore 57 Laurens Street, built around 1836 in the Greek Revival style. Two years after this house was built, the fire of 1838 wiped out most of the Ansonborough houses; fortunately, 57 Laurens and several of the homes around it escaped the blaze.

Godfrey KHill the “Gullah Man” always talks about his grandmama. Godfrey says that family is one of the most powerful words ever, and it's important to know that in the Gullah-Geechie culture it’s an action word. To call someone family, you must treat them as your family. That’s one of the many lessons Godfrey has learned from his grandmama. You can find Grandmama Jefferson sitting on Vendue Range inside her tiny little hiding spot just in the front of Waterfront Park across from Harbor View.

Another structure to escape the fire of 1838 in Ansonborough is 55 Laurens Street. Fortunately, Laurens Street is on the north side of Ansonborough, and most of this area was not affected by that fire.

Built in 1818 by James Jervey, this imposing brick mansion retains much of its Federal style ornamentation inside; the exterior brick is laid in Flemish bond (alternating header and stretcher on each row). 55 Laurens is a large double house with a raised basement; the original kitchen building and another dependency building are located on the rear portion of the lot. From the outside, you would never guess that the building is now made up of condominiums and has been sin e the 1980s. In any event, walking among the primarily single houses on this street, 55 Laurens certainly stands out and makes a statement. The house is also reflective of the owner's prominence in the community.

Via PURE Theatre

In conjunction with the Southeastern regional premiere of his play This Random World, playwright Steven Dietz will join PURE Theatre for a special post-show talkback and reception following the Saturday, March 10, 2018 performance. “We are honored to welcome Steven to the Lowcountry and to be able to share our interpretation of This Random World with him,” says Sharon Graci, PURE Theatre’s Artistic Director. “When I first read his play, it resonated so strongly with me that I felt compelled to share it with Charleston. This play focuses on the beautiful inevitability of encounter, so to have Steven joining us for a performance only deepens the insightful themes of the play.”

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.

We'll explore Ansonborough, the first suburb of Charles Town, for the next few weeks. For an easy reference of what this area covers today, picture yourself on East Bay Street, the east boundary, in front of the Harris Teeter grocery store and consider several streets north to Calhoun Street, several streets south to Hasell Street with the west boundary as Anson Street. Now you've got a snapshot of the area of Ansonborough, somewhat expanded from its original acreage.

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