The Beauty of Old Charleston Houses

Charleston, South Carolina is one of the oldest cities in the US. While it has its share of suburban sprawl like any other American city, the core of Charleston still has a lot of historic houses, churches and alleys. As a big architecture fan, I love these old Charleston houses with their wraparound verandas. It’s easy to romanticize the Southern lifestyle of sipping sweet tea on the veranda, but it’s also important to remember that many, if not most, of these old buildings were built by slaves. But despite its sordid history, these old houses reflect a part of our history that must be preserved.

Gallery

Charleston Houses 01

Of all the houses I saw, this one had the best veranda.

Charleston Houses 02

I wonder if this brick house has always been whitewashed, or if it were originally bare brick.

Charleston Houses 03

Calhoun Mansion, now a museum. I thought it was named for former Vice President John C. Calhoun, but it actually belonged to his son-in-law.

Charleston Houses 04

These windows are a bit too ornate for my tastes, but I would still love to live in an old house like this.

Charleston Houses 05

Really cool two-way stoop.

Charleston Houses 06

I like the decorative arches on the second floor.

Charleston Houses 07

Very cool old windows, though probably not very energy efficient.

Charleston Houses 08

I really like old buildings where you can tell the bricks have been repaired multiple times throughout the years. These old Charleston houses have a story to tell, even if I don’t know what that story is.

Charleston Houses 09

The “Charleston Strong” banner is a reminder of the shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2015.

Charleston Houses 10

This is an an unusual color for a house. It’s in a nice location though, facing the harbor.

Charleston Houses 11

I like the greenery on this house, even in the middle of January. I bet it’s gorgeous in the spring time.

Charleston Houses 12

It looks like this house once had ivy all over it. Ivy is a double-edged sword. It’s pretty, but it tears up masonry.

Charleston Houses 13

I love the “squareness” of this building’s facade. The simple, unadorned windows give the house a modernist look, while still keeping with a classic Georgian style.

Charleston Houses 14

This Victorian style house reminds me more of something you’d see in Michigan, though the veranda is a good indicator that we’re still in the South.

Charleston Houses 15

I wish we had palmetto trees in Dallas.

Charleston Houses 16

I love the little balcony on the top floor.

Design

Coming from Dallas, with all of its new construction, I’m impressed by the way that these buildings are designed for a hot climate. Many houses and apartments in Dallas, including mine, don’t have windows that open. They were built for air-conditioning. Charleston houses, on the other hand, are better suited for a hot climate, with verandas that shield the houses from the sun, and tall ceilings that let air circulate. I would love to see more of this architectural style used in Dallas, so we can limit the days we have to use air conditioning.

Discussion

Which of these old Charleston houses is your favorite? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer, photographer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at http://steve-lovelace.com.

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2 Responses

  1. May 27, 2017

    […] Charleston, South Carolina is nicknamed the “Holy City”. Unlike other Holy Cities like Jerusalem, Rome or Mecca, it’s not the center of a great religion and/or a place of pilgrimage. Rather, Charleston is called holy because of the sheer number of churches. Back in colonial days, each colony was dominated by one established church. Think the Puritans in Massachusetts or the Quakers in Pennsylvania. But from the very outset, Charleston was a cosmopolitan city. Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics and even Jews lived side by side. We take this for granted today, but it was pretty revolutionary at the time. Because of this history, there are a lot of old churches in the narrow streets and alleys of the city. I walked around on a sunny afternoon and snapped some photos of some of the most famous Charleston churches. […]

  2. May 27, 2017

    […] here is so shiny and new. Even our oldest buildings are a century old at most, while Charleston has houses and churches from before the American Revolution. I took a lot of pictures on the trip, so […]

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