Fond memories of old Charleston
Robert Behre’s reporting on lost Charleston buildings brought back memories of the old city in the 1950s.
As a boy growing up in Hampton Park Terrace, I recall my grandfather taking me to see the boats at the old yacht basin (now Long Lake).
We would see a number of Victorian houses in the vicinity, including a row on President Street on what is now a part of MUSC’s campus. To a young boy they looked spooky, like the house in the movie “Psycho.”
There was an old drugstore on the corner of Calhoun Street and Rutledge Avenue. Another drugstore was across the street.
Both are gone.
Across the street was the musty Charleston Museum (now just columns, a part of Cannon Park).
Down the street was the office of my pediatrian, Dr. Joseph I. Waring, a fine gentleman and a historian also.
Glancing through the 1939 Charleston Year Book shows buildings to be demolished for two housing projects — Robert Mills Manor and Ansonborough Homes.
A row of buildings on Franklin Street was demolished as were many single houses torn down for the Ansonborough Homes. Even though they were dilapidated, these structures today likely would be spared due to stricter regulations.
It’s hard to believe that such gems as the Orphan House and three hotels — the Charleston Hotel on Meeting Street, the Timrod at Hibernian Hall near the Mills House, and the Argyle at the corner of Meeting and Hasell streets, are gone along with a row of ornate warehouses on Meeting Street at Pinckney, and an old mansion at Meeting and George streets.
The 1939 Year Book also shows the sunken gardens in Hampton Park with picturesque bridges and date palms.
As beautiful as Charleston is today, looking back one is struck by the number of buildings which have disappeared, to be replaced by mundane structures.
Buildings on King Street where Charleston Place is located were lost. Perhaps the best of that row was Felder’s Barber Shop, once Peacock Alley restaurant.
The barber shop had tiled floors, mirrored walls, overhead fans and a stuffed owl in a glass case.
How I hated to get a haircut, even though the barbers were among the city’s best.