Charleston Historic District

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Charleston Historic District
Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul, 126 Coming St. (Charleston).jpg
Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul, 126 Coming St.
Charleston Historic District is located in South Carolina
Charleston Historic District
Charleston Historic District is located in the United States
Charleston Historic District
LocationCharleston, South Carolina
Coordinates32°47′8″N 79°56′13″W / 32.78556°N 79.93694°W / 32.78556; -79.93694Coordinates: 32°47′8″N 79°56′13″W / 32.78556°N 79.93694°W / 32.78556; -79.93694
Architectmultiple, including Robert Mills
Architectural styleGreek Revival, Other, Federal
NRHP reference #66000964[1] (original)
70000923[1] (increase 1)
78002497[1] (increase 2)
84002028; 85001833; 86000588 (increase 3)
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966
Boundary increasesJanuary 30, 1970
July 16, 1978
August 2, 1984
Designated NHLDOctober 9, 1960[2]

The Charleston Historic District, alternatively known as Charleston Old and Historic District, is a National Historic Landmark District in Charleston, South Carolina.[3][4] The district, which covers most of the historic peninsular heart of the city, contains an unparalleled collection of 18th and 19th-century architecture, including many distinctive Charleston "single houses". It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.[2]

Description and history[edit]

The city of Charleston was founded in 1670, with its main historic colonial heart laid out in 1680 on the peninsula at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Since that time, the city has been a major commercial and trade center on the southeastern seaboard of North America. Its architecture reflects numerous significant periods of development, with high-quality examples of different architectural styles resulting from the city's continued importance through more than 300 years of history. Significant among these are the many Charleston "single houses", which are typically a single room in depth, and oriented with the short access toward the street, with the entrance area on a long side. These types of houses are built using all types of building materials, including wood, brick, and stucco. In Ansonborough, there are blocks of fine Greek Revival houses, built in the wake of an 1838 fire.[5]

Broad Street, a major east-west thoroughfare since the early days, is home to a fine collection of Federal period houses, many of which have been converted to commercial uses. It is also where a number of important early civic and institutional buildings are located, including the 1752 St. Michael's Episcopal Church, the 1767 Exchange, and the 1792 Charleston County Courthouse.[5]

The city of Charleston legislatively established the "Old and Historic District" as a local historic district. In 1960, a portion of this district was designated a National Historic Landmark District for its architectural significance. When initially listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, the district was defined as "An area roughly bounded by Broad, Bay, S. Battery and Ashley and an area along Church bounded by Cumberland and Chalmers".[1] Significant boundary enlargements of the National Register district in 1970 and 1978 have resulted in it now coinciding with the locally legislated district, extending in parts as far north as Calhoun Street. The district was enlarged to add individual buildings in 1984, 1985 and 1986.[6]


The Charleston Historic District's Board of Architectural Review (BAR) has come under fire in recent years, specifically as it relates to the proposed redevelopment of the "Sergeant Jasper" property located adjacent to the historic district.

Initially built as a 14-story apartment building in 1950, the Sergeant Jasper's owners, The Beach Company of Charleston, SC, proposed a redevelopment of the property in 2014. As the Palmetto Business Daily reports, several concepts for the property's redevelopment were rejected by the BAR. As a result, The Beach Company filed suit over what it claims is an "arbitrary and capricious" review process by the BAR.

The Sergeant Jasper stakeholders went into court-ordered mediation over the project on April 6, 2014.

In a Palmetto Business Daily interview, Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Marc Scribner criticized the BAR, saying that, "The unelected bureaucrats on the Board of Architectural Review and nosy neighbors may have all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings about proposed real estate projects. But it is still unconstitutional to deny property owners their due process rights.”


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Charleston Historic District". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2008-03-18.
  3. ^ Stockton, Robert P.; Mrs. S. Henry Edmunds (November 4, 1977). "Old and Historic Charleston (Extended)" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. National Park Service. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  4. ^ "Charleston Historic District". Photographs. National Park Service. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  5. ^ a b "1966 NRHP nomination for Charleston Historic District". National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
  6. ^ "1988 Statement of Significance for Charleston Historic District". National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-11-05.

External links[edit]

Media related to Charleston Old and Historic District at Wikimedia Commons