Category: Historic Charleston
If you’re a long-time Charlestonian, chances are you’ve lived in a Charleston single house at some point in your life. Many visitors have come away remembering this iconic Charleston architecture. Charleston singles are, after all, common throughout the peninsula and beyond. From the mansions South of Broad to modest neighborhoods extending past the crosstown, the Charleston single is part of the city’s makeup and charm.
So what makes up a Charleston single house? Several things, like its long, narrow shape, distinguish the style from others, while the somewhat private porch is often the most favored feature of all. Of course, there’s rhyme and reason to its design, mainly relating to local conditions — namely the city’s hot and humid summers. Yes, even centuries ago, Charleston was known for being muggy on summer days and sultry in the evenings!
Here are a few of the features you’ll find in a Charleston single house and reasons behind their particular design:
1. Long, narrow shape
In order to build a single house, you need only a long, narrow lot, which is how the city was laid out in its early days. The tall, slender homes are typically placed quite closely to the neighboring home, perhaps too close for comfort in some cases. The single house has a narrow side, with the long side of the house – the traditional “front” – being perpendicular to the street. The plain, short facade is what faces the street.
While the house is long and narrow, it is also only one room wide, when viewed from the street — which gives the single house its name! But what the home lacks in width it makes up for in length and height. As mentioned before, the house is quite long, while many Charleston single houses are also several tiers high.
3. The Front Door
What may appear to be a front door — the one facing the street — is only an entrance to the private porch. The actual front door is down the middle of the porch. This was intended to give more privacy to the homeowners during the more modest Victorian period.
4. Interior Layout
Though the architectural form of the single house comes in everything from Federal to Victorian styles, the most consistent feature will always be its interior layout. A front door along the long side of the house leads you into a foyer and stairwell, and there’s a room to the left, usually a bedroom, and to the right — which normally serves as the living room, with the kitchen being on the other side of the living room — an open archway separating the two. The same floor plan is generally repeated upstairs.
Single houses have side porches — oops, pardon, I mean piazzas. Accessible via the aforementioned door on the street-side of the house, the piazza is strategically placed on the long side of the house to increase the odds of catching a cool breeze— definitely a factor to consider in a city that gets so hot and muggy during summers. They are also a pretty sweet spot to enjoy a cup of tea or an afternoon snooze!
If you are looking for a Charleston single to call your own, stop by The Real Estate Studio where our experienced, professional agents are always here to answer questions or show property.
This is a unique rental investment opportunity, or condominium conversion, in historic, downtown Charleston. Adjacent to the prestigious Wentworth Mansion, this Harleston Village property is a short walk to dining and shopping along King Street, as well as College of Charleston, and the Medical University of South Carolina. These rentals are fantastic for young professionals, medical students, or small families.
With a total of 16 bedrooms and rare 16 off-street parking spaces, these have the potential to produce more than $275,000 in annual gross revenues. There are 3 separate, adjacent fee-simple properties that allow for multiple objectives. Extensive renovations have been done over the past three years. Listing includes 135.5, 137, & 139 Wentworth Street. The single family house is circa 1847 (form tax records) but the age is unknown on multi-unit properties.
If you are interested in this investment opportunity, or any other properties on the Charleston peninsula, stop by The Real Estate Studio or contact Chris Anderson.
As we evaluate the final quarter of 2016 (so far), not much has changed since the year began. Market predictions have been, in a word, predictable. A relatively comfortable pace of activity has been maintained thanks to continuing low unemployment and mortgage rates. The one basic drag on market acceleration has been inventory decline, and there is little to indicate that the low inventory situation will resolve anytime soon.
Market Stats through October 2016
In a city as old as Charleston, it is no surprise we have a few lingering spirits. Here our some of our favorite Holy City haunted tales as well as some events you can enjoy this Halloween season.
1. Old Jail
One of the most popular Charleston ghost tales is of Lavinia Fisher who is suspected of still haunting the Old Jail. Lavinia and her husband John owned the Six Mile House right outside of Charleston where weary travelers could stop and spend the night. It is reported that the couple would poison guests and send them to bed over a trap door where they would wait until the traveler was asleep then pull the trap door releasing the bed and the guest. John Peoples was the lucky soul who claims he escaped the twisted couple. By denying Lavinia’s special tea he was able to get out the window after the bed fell through floor and ran to police who after investigation found the bodies of multiple missing people. The couple was found guilty and sentenced to the gallows. In South Carolina at the time, a married women could escape the death penalty, but the judge squashed that plan and and hung John first which made Lavinia a widow and eligible to hang. It’s said that Lavinia wore a wedding dress to her hanging, hoping her beauty and the pity of her state would cause some man in the crowd to swoon, and marry her at the last moment. Unsuccessful, when she realized that wasn’t going to happen, her mood quickly changed. They had to drag her up on the gallows, kicking and screaming.
This 1888 Victorian home now houses a great Southern restaurant, Poogan’s Porch, but it was the former residence of Zoe Amand, a spinster schoolteacher who died on the second floor of the home in 1954. Outside observers and hotel guests at The Mills House across the street have reported seeing her inside the restaurant after it is closed.
122 East Bay Street once imprisoned many pirates and patriots as they were awaiting execution. Prisoners were chained and starved and their moans were heard throughout the dungeon. Staff members to this day have reported hearing these moans as well as eerie footsteps on the upper floors.
At 20 South Battery, several ghosts sightings have been reported at this 1843 inn. Room Eight is said to be the home to the Headless Torso, reputedly a Civil War soldier, a terrifying apparition which moans menacingly. Room Ten has a spirit known as the Gentleman Caller, who is a spectral presence which is fond of ladies who stay in the room, often lightly petting their hair as they sleep.
This building has been around since 1809 and has an incredibly rich history. It began as a theatre that suffered from a fire bringing actors and audience members to their death. The Planter’s Hotel was built on the property shortly after the catastrophe and was then converted back into a theatre we still enjoy today. Performers and spectators alike have claimed to see spirits wandering around and even out on the stage.
See for yourself, check out Dracula, King of the vampires on stage now at the theatre.
Have we sparked your curiosity? Contact Bull Dog Tours for their Ghost & Gaveyards Tour or check out the Old Jail Tour and see the ghost of Lavinia Fisher yourself! Looking for something appropriate for the kiddos? Try Family Fright Nights at Magnolia Planation or The Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch & Maze. Happy Halloween in the Holy City!
As anticipated at the outset of the year, demand has remained high through the first three quarters of 2016, propping up sales and prices despite heavy reductions in inventory and months of supply across the country. With rental prices and employment opportunities in a consistent climb, year-over-year increases in home buying are probable for the rest of the year but not guaranteed.
Market Stats through September 2016
Nestled in between Charleston’s historic Station 8 firehouse and James Simmons Elementary, this 1920’s home keeps its original charm while hosting a new, functional, open and airy floor plan. Completely renovated this year, down to the studs with a new roof, hardie plank siding, plumbing, electrical, HVAC and duct work, spray foam insulation, foundation, windows (with one original in hallway), flooring, doors, hardware, and a back deck for entertaining. The kitchen features large, granite island and countertops, farmhouse sink, and is open to the living space. Each bedroom has their own full bath. There is off street parking for one car. The large back lot allows room for a future master suite expansion or for a storage building. Contact Emily Gildea, REALTOR for more details.
Charlestonians have a fond familiarity with Colonial Lake. Originally called Rutledge Street Pond, the lake is located in the heart of the Harleston Village, which stretches from Broad to Calhoun streets and Lockwood Drive to King Street. From sunbathers and students to runners and dog walkers, Colonial Lake is a special part of many folks’ daily lives — and has been since as far back as the 1700s.
In honor of Colonial Lake’s recent restoration, we thought it fitting to give you a brief history into the life of the beloved wee body of water. Here are 7 things you may not have known about Colonial Lake:
1. The area in which the lake sits was established for public use in 1768 by an Act of the Commons House of Assembly. The lake, evolving from a pond, would not come into existence until later on in 1869, complete with the wide walkways and picturesque promenade enjoyed now for well over a century.
2. Back then, the area west of the pond was an undeveloped area — unlike now where Harleston is a lively neighborhood complete with everything from tennis courts and fine-dining restaurants to antique shops, art galleries, and the College of Charleston.
3. Colonial Lake was once a popular spot for parking one’s boat, so much so that it soon became illegal to park your boat there without a license. By 1910, folks even staged boat races in the pond — the same year that Palmetto trees were planted in the park’s promenade.
4. In the early to mid ’70s, passersby could enjoy the lake’s fountains. They were removed in ’77 because of complaints of its saltwater overspray.
5. You can fish in Colonial Lake. A tidal lake after all, Colonial Lake has been known to deliver mullet, mud minnows, shrimp, and flounder when the tide is high. Its pipe runs from the lake, under the streets, and into the Charleston Harbor, so if it’s big enough to swim through the pipe, it just may wind up in Colonial Lake. For example, six years ago, a College of Charleston retrieved a 45-inch red drum from its waters.
6. In 2008, a deer was pulled out of Colonial Lake, believe it or not. Various witnesses reported seeing the deer wandering around the historic downtown area before running down Rutledge Avenue and into the water. It took rescuers several hours to sedate the animal and remove it from the lake.
7. You’d be forgiven if you hadn’t heard that the Park is officially open again. Fenced away in January of 2015, Colonial Park has experienced extensive renovations, much to its regulars’ dismay. However, a year-and-a-half and four-million dollars later, the Park got its official unveiling earlier this summer.
At long last, Harleston Village’s centerpiece, the place where locals often go to contemplate, has returned to its old, if more beautifully landscaped, self.
Since Charleston weather is picnic-permitting more often than not, Colonial Lake gets plenty of enjoyment year-round — be it for local joggers during the dog days of summer or for visitors and residents alike in the Christmas season, when a Christmas tree is lit in the center of the water.
What’s your favorite time of year to enjoy Colonial Lake?
Charleston-area home sales increased in August after dipping for the first time in five years in July. Conventional wisdom indicates that year-over-year declines may be present for the remainder of the year, given the low inventory situation in most markets. Demand is certainly present and has created competitive situations that have kept prices up. Rental prices are also up, which may lure more toward home ownership.