Many people who explore the Charleston love to stroll along the famous Charleston Battery, the area that used to house a battery of canons along the seawall to protect the city and the mansions just beyond the wall, but is now a beautiful slate promenade with terrific views of the harbor, do not realize just how big many of the homes are and once they find out they cannot believe that most of the homes are single family residences.
Can you believe that the largest of the Charleston Battery homes is at least 10 times the size of the average American home? The largest home along the battery is 20,000 square feet, or 1,858 square meters! The homes are humongous works of art and we are lucky to have them to admire today.
The Civil War started in the harbor and the families who lived in the homes along the battery used to watch the early battles from their piazzas and roof terraces. Residents soon fled the city as Charleston endured over 18 months of continuous shelling. The effects of the war were hard to miss. The confederates fled in 1865 and intentionally blew up a large gun along the battery, which caused a 500lbs piece of cannon to get lodged into an attic beam at the William Roper House at 9 East Battery; it’s still there today.
Perhaps even more amazing than the survival of these homes and their sheer size (largest home in the city is the Calhoun Mansion and is 24,000sf) is that many of them were built to be nothing other than summer homes. Many of the wealthy residents of Charleston had large plantation homes in the country and came into the city for the summers or for special occasions. Today, most of the homes along the battery and within the historic district at large are lived in all year.
To learn more about the homes and architecture of Charleston, take a stroll with us on our Architecture Tour, which also includes a discounted ticket to tour the Nathaniel Russell House; a beautiful home that shows off the opulent tastes of one of Charleston’s wealthy families in the early 1800s.