By JIM PARKER
The Post and Courier
In today’s parlance, an ad in a colonial broadsheet might describe a particular Charleston property this way:
“Stunning brick home from prestigious Fenwick family. Ample space with two — count ’em, two — bedrooms fit for a king. Friends will be envious of oceanfront setting. Ultramodern kitchen with rarely-before-seen hanging kettle and bread warmer; a sight to behold. It’s Church Street living at ‘outside-the-walled-city’ prices.”
Okay, so that’s a bit tongue-in-cheek. But it does sum up suspected features of 22½ Church St., built as early as 1695 as one of the oldest surviving houses in Charleston, according to owner James Yanney. Believed to be on the site of the original Fenwick tenements, two-level 22½ Church is for rent for $2,500 a month.
“We are willing to do short-term but are looking for six months (or longer on the lease),” Yanney says.
The residence evolved over time into a carriage house of sorts for much larger 22 Church St., framed in the late 18th century. A partially covered walk beside the two houses is believed to be the driveway where horse-drawn carriages would trundle by.
Yanney owns the two properties, which are divided by an alcove. He redid both homes so that they are in keeping with the time period.
The 22½ Church home with two bedrooms and two full baths is fitted with 21st century conveniences such stainless steel oven, microwave and refrigerator; stackable washer and dryer; and a bedet. The house comes furnished as a rental and has a full complement of utensils, pots and pans, he says.
Both bedrooms sport closets and armoires, and there’s a family room toward the courtyard side of the house. A second bathroom is on the end nearest to 22 Church, which is accessible through the alcove.
Original hardwood floors are among the centuries-old touches at 22½ Church. There’s a kitchen hearth with kettle that showcases a rare bricked “warmer” — discovered behind a false wall — that makes use of ambient heat from the fireplace.
The carriage house’s origins are sketchy.
According to the “Streets of Charleston,” three Adamesque period houses stand “on the site of a row of tenements built before 1775 by Edward Fenwick and destroyed by fire or other means before 1785. Old plats show that the kitchens of the three tenements survived.” Daniel Brown, a mariner and shipbuilder, would frame 22 Church in the 1790s on the tenement site.
Fenwick roots in the colonies formally date to 1703, when John Fenwick arrived in Charleston from England. He would build the notable Fenwick Hall on Johns Island around 1730. According to www.fenwickhall.com, a brother Robert Fenwick was a pirate who frequented Charleston as early at 1692.
Interestingly, the 22½ Church Street courtyard “was on the water in the 17th century,” Yanney says. Atlantic Street was not built yet, and ocean tides would rush up.
There’s also a Civil War tunnel system, he says. Artifacts such as toothbrushes, smoking pipes and soldier buttons have been found as well as an early camping space saver, “a pewter cup that expands,” Yanney says.
The centuries-old rental is directly behind 22 Church and has two separate entrances. Head south on Meeting Street, take a left on Broad Street, and turn right on Church. Continue through the curve at Water Street. On the left is 22 Church and down the walkway is 22½ Church St.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or email@example.com
Original floors mark this bedroom and elsewhere in the house for rent at 22 1/2 Church, which the householder says could date to 1695 (Jim Parker/Staff 3-26-2013).×
This upstairs bathroom includes a bowl sink (Jim Parker/Staff 3-26-2013).×
The house for lease showcases two bedrooms (Jim Parker/Staff 3-29-2013).×
The family room at 22 1/2 Church St. is a mix of today’s casual and centuries-old (Jim Parker/Staff 3-29-2013).×
Modern appliances highlight the kitchen at 22 1/2 Church (Jim Parker/Staff 3-29-2013).×
A rarely seen oven these days with warming section on the side is in 22 1/2 Church St. (Jim Parker/Staff 3-29-2013).×
According to the owner, the backyard was once front beach (Jim Parker/Staff 3-29-2013).×
Flowering trees showcase the courtyard at 22 1/2 Church St. (Jim Parker/Staff 3-29-2013).×
A walkway beside the two houses leads to a covered section where horses would parade through. (Jim Parker/Staff 3-29-2013).×
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