When you consider that Charleston is one of the oldest cities in the South, it is not a surprise that there are a number of historic homes that you can visit. There are some houses that are worth viewing while you are in Charleston as they offer an insight into the lives of people long gone.
<strong>The Calhoun Mansion</strong>
In terms of elegance, the Calhoun Mansion is unequaled in Charleston. The house was finished in 1876 and was described as the best private residence in the South. The house is a Gilded Age museum and still the largest private home and house museum in the city.
The Calhoun Mansion has 35 rooms and fireplaces along with Tiffany decorations such as the stenciled vaulted ceiling in the music room. There is also a Japanese water garden and 3 levels of piazzas as well as a tower that overlooks the city and harbor. If you wish to visit the mansion, tours start at 11 am and continue every half hour until 5 pm for a cost of $16 per person.
Drayton Hall is different to other historic houses in Charleston because it is the oldest unrestored plantation house which is still open to public viewing. The house is also the earliest example of Palladian architecture in the country. The main house is in near original condition which is impressive considering it has been through 7 generations of Drayton’s, natural disasters, the Revolutionary wars and the Civil War.
It is important to note that the house is unfurnished and was never modernized. This means that there is no electric lighting or plumbing within the house. Admission to the house starts at 9:30 am and guided tours are offered every half hour. There are a number of interactive programs that take place at the house and it is recommended that you check the website before visiting.
If you are looking for a historic home to visit within urban Charleston, the Aiken-Rhett house is the perfect option. This is the city’s most intact antebellum urban complex. It was finished in 1820 and still stands in an unaltered state today.
The interior of the house has been unchanged since 1858 and provides a great look into the lives of past Charleston residents. The house has been conserved and stabilized to ensure that it is safe for all visitors.