Historic Houses & Architecture In Charleston, SC
Originally named Charles Town after King Charles the II, colonial Charleston was the first comprehensively planned town in the thirteen colonies thanks to enlightenment thinker John Locke’s Grand Model city planning proposal.
Learn more about some of Charleston’s most historic homes below or jump directly to our full gallery of historic homes to explore the city’s rich architectural history.
Charleston's Early History
Despite backing from the king, eight lords proprietors, and John Locke’s city planning, Charleston did not come to fruition easily. The city would be hit by smallpox, earthquakes, fires, yellow fever, malaria, and even pirate raids. At one point the city was considered one of the least healthy locations in the thirteen colonies for European settlers.
However, Charleston managed to remain an epicenter for southern trade, generating wealth and prosperity for its residents. In turn, its wealth helped fund some of the finest Georgian influenced architecture and historic homes in all of the United States.
The city remains today as the third largest city in the state of South Carolina, and has multiple historic homes that have been recognized as National Landmarks.
The William Blacklock House
William Blacklock was a wealthy merchant from England that in 1794 purchased land just northwest of the original Charles Town settlement. The Blacklock house would be a five-bay, two-story estate with influences of American Federal-style architecture as well as classically Palladian proportions.
What Blackrock could not have known was that nearly two hundred years later an architectural survey of Charleston would award the Blacklock house the, “highest architectural design in quality, sophistication, and proportions.” It has been declared a National Historic Landmark since 1973.
Othniel Beale House, Rainbow Row Charleston
Rainbow row is one of Charleston’s most iconic architectural attractions. This waterfront row of thirteen homes has been painted bright pastel colors since as early as 1931.
The bright colors helped to spruce up the formerly run-down homes, and may have even kept them a little bit cooler in the hot Charleston summers. The Othniel Beale house was the first house on rainbow row to undergo restoration which would set off a chain of preservation acts that to this day still have authority over the homes.
Explore More Historic Charleston Homes
- DANIEL BLAKE TENEMENTS
- DR. RAMSAY’S HOUSE
- DRAYTON HALL PLANTATION – CHARLESTON, SC
- FAIRFIELD PLANTATION (LYNCH HOUSE)
- GLEBE HOUSE
- MAGWOOD-MORELAND HOUSE
- MEYER-PEACE HOUSE
- MORRIS-GADSDEN HOUSE
- MOSES C. LEVY HOUSE
- OAKLAND PLANTATION
- OLD JEWISH ORPHANAGE
- OTHNIEL BEALE HOUSE
- RALPH IZARD HOUSE
- ROBINSON-AIKEN-RHETT HOUSE
- SAMUEL EDWARD AXSON HOUSE
- THOMAS ELFE HOUSE
- WILLIAM BLACKLOCK HOUSE: ARCHITECTURE, MOULDINGS, & DRAWINGS