Owner of THE BRENNAMAN GROUP, Bob Brennaman and agent with THE BRENNAMAN GROUP, Carey Nikonchuck, take the viewer on a guided tour of different areas of downtown Charleston. In this first of a series, Bob and Carey visit Radcliffeborough. Both Bob and Carey are graduates of the College of Charleston and Carey went on to receive a Master’s Degree at the University of Charleston. Bob has lived in Charleston for 26 years and Carey grew up on the Isle of Palms, just outside of Charleston.
Radcliffeborough is bordered by Calhoun Street, King Street, Radcliffe Street and all the way over to Smith Street. Radcliffeborough was originally farm land and it became a neighborhood in the early 19th century. Thomas Radcliffe purchased the property and had it surveyed in the late 18th century and they set up the property into blocks or lots. Radcliffe passed away in 1806 and his wife, Lucretia Radcliffe took over and continued the development of Radcliffeborough. One of the largest land donations she gave was for the property that is today, The Cathedral of St. Luke-St. Paul, erected in 1618. It was originally known as the 3rd Episcopal of Charleston and it had a nickname, THE PLANTER’S CHURCH, because many of the planters who came to Charleston had homes here and used this as their home church when they were in town for long periods of time.
Next on the tour is 135 Cummings Street. It was built in 1830 by a silversmith or jeweler, named William Whiteman who constructed it as an investment. It was built as a tenement home, basically rental property. Today it’s actually a single family home.
Continuing the tour of Radcliffeborough, Ashley Hall is an all-girls’ school on the very edge of the neighborhood. It was founded in 1909 by Mary Vardrine McBee, who headed the institution for many years. It is the only girls’ college preparatory school in the state. Originally accepting boarding students, Ashley Hall transitioned to a day school in 1974.
Nearby is 89 Warren Street which was built in 1823. The gentleman who lived here was Chancellor Benjamin Duncan and after the War Between the States, he was the Chief Justice of South Carolina and what is really interesting is that this home overlooked what was then Cummings Creek that actually ran through this area of Radcliffeborough.
Warren Street may have been named for Sir Peter Warren, who was a young British Admiral who lived there for a time but interestingly, Lucretia Radcliffe’s maiden name was Warren, so it’s probable that Warren Street was named after Lucretia Warren Radcliffe. In buildings along the streets of Radcliffeborough, one can see stucco that has worn through the years. In the 18th and 19th centuries, brick was considered a ‘poor man’s’ material. There was no access to stone in the Lowcountry, so brick was used for construction, but was made to look like stone by covering the brick with stucco and scoring it. There are also large metal bolts in some of the buildings. Charleston had a major earthquake in 1886 and buildings were repaired and then large rods were run through the floor boards from one end of the structure to the other and bolted. Slowly, over time, the bolts were tightened to literally pull the homes back together. Some of the bolts are just basic, but there are beautifully designed bolts throughout the Holy City.
Next on the tour is the oldest Methodist structure and the 3rd oldest church structure still standing in Charleston. The church is an architectural reminder of the significant relationship between African Americans and the Methodist Church in Charleston.
The home at 220 Calhoun Street was originally built as a single family home, but today has been subdivided into apartments. This home is near the College of Charleston and many like this are being used to house students.
214 Calhoun Street was built in 1835 by the carpenter, Frederick Shaffer, for his own use. This home is a fine example of Greek Revival architecture.
Marion Square is a six acre park currently used for the FARMER’S MARKET on weekends. Originally Marion Square was the parade ground for the military arsenal (1842-1922) that was built in Charleston. The arsenal is now known as the Military College of the South, THE CITADEL, and the college was moved in 1922 to a different location on the Charleston Peninsula.
On Upper King Street are lots of great restaurants and shopping. One of the extraordinary restaurants is HALLS CHOP HOUSE, that you must try when you’re in Charleston. One of the favorite neighborhood spots in Radcliffeborough is CLOSED FOR BUSINESS where Bob and Carey visit with Ben Lucas, and wrap up their tour with lunch. For more of the Downtown Series Tour, please check us out at thebrennamangroup.com. You can contact Bob Brennaman at (843) 345-6074 or [email protected].