Virtual History and Architecture Tours of Charleston Houses

The Preservation Society of Charleston will create five video house tours of historically and architecturally important homes in Charleston. Each of the privately-owned properties has a unique narrative history and architectural significance to Charleston. The videos will launch weekly starting October 18, corresponding with the in-person Fall tours (outdoor only). SC Humanities supported this program with a Mini Grant.

The videos will be narrated by the Preservation Society of Charleston’s Executive Director, Kristopher King, and will include photographs; primary source maps; and commentary from other contractors, architects, and preservationists edited into the house tour footage. The tours will be available for purchase in October.

The featured homes are:

1 Water Street – This home is located 1 block north of Charleston’s lower battery on the peninsula of Charleston at the converge of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. The house is a unique example of the Italianate style. The tour includes a description of the notable architectural features and the challenges of its siting in a high flood area.

43 Legare – This home is an exemplar of 1750s Charleston Single House and one of the largest pre-Revolutionary houses in the city. During the tour, Kristopher King will take viewers through the interior of the home to discuss the typical layout of a Single House, the alterations that occurred over time, and the restoration of the house by local firm Richard Marks Restoration.

173 Broad Street – This virtual tour is of an 1873 home that has been in the same family for four generations.

89 East Bay – This 1787 home is located on the famed Rainbow Row on Charleston’s East Bay Street. This house is notable for its original windows, ornamental ironwork, heart pine floors, and original mantels and woodworking. The 20th century effort to save and restore Rainbow Row is also an important part of this home’s history.

5 East Battery – This hard hat virtual tour walks viewers through an in-process multi-year restoration of one of Charleston’s most visible homes on High Battery. It is known colloquially as The Pink House for its notable paint color, but historically it is called the John Ravenel House.

The Preservation Society has hosted in-person home tours, walking tours, and garden tours for more than 60 years, and they want to expand their reach with these virtual offerings. Beyond the necessity due the Covid-19 pandemic, the online content is another way to provide the same high level of educational programming to a wider audience.

For more information about the virtual and in-person Fall tours, visit

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 20-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.

Image courtesy of the Preservation Society of Charleston