Handsome’s Historical Homes

Deborah C. Fisher, broker-in-charge of acclaimed real estate firm Handsome Properties, discusses the Charleston real estate market and its many historical treasures.

Quest: Tell me about Charleston’s rich history and how it relates to the homes Handsome Properties represents.
Debbie Fisher:
The colony of “Charles Towne” was originally granted by King Charles II of England to eight Lords Proprietors in 1663. The City Plan, also known as the “Grand Model,” was established in 1670 and is still in place today at the heart of the historic district of Charleston. By 1750, this bustling colonial settlement prospered with many settlers moving from England, Barbados, and Virginia and became the fourth largest port in the colonies through exports of rice, indigo, and cotton. This vibrant new colony with its economic opportunity also enjoyed religious freedom, attracting settlers from the Caribbean, France, Scotland, Ireland, and Germany, allowing freedom to practice religious faiths such as Protestantism, Catholicism, and Judaism. With these gifted and intelligent immigrants came expertise and knowledge in architecture, building techniques, ironwork, carpentry, and plasterwork. This great body of early craftsmanship is still evident in the city of Charleston today with its luxurious 17th, 18th, and 19th century mansions, plantations, churches, and buildings. Charleston remains a vibrant, refreshing southern city with tolerance, diversity, and magnificent beauty for all.

Q: Tell us about the historic properties listed with the firm.
36 Chapel Street is a double house from the early 19th century, federal in style, and is a perfect example of the expertise and craftsmanship that existed during that time period. It is laid out much like a plantation house and still includes beautiful gardens that wrap the entire property behind a large privacy fence.

36 Chapel Street in Charleston.

117 Broad Street, or the current Governor’s House Inn, was built in the Georgian style in 1760 near the Four Corners of Law, in the center of the historic district. Established as a grand residence of approximately 9,887 square feet, it is currently an inn, which could easily be converted back to a private home.

The Governor’s Inn at 117 Broad Street in Charleston.

75-77 Church Street is a single residence in the section of the historic Peninsula known as the “Old Walled City.” This property also includes a brick carriage house that dates back to 1810. The residence and carriage house comprise approximately 5,929 square feet, including six bedrooms. These two structures are considered valuable and notable to the city.

75-77 Church Street in Charleston.

32 Legare Street, also known as the Sword Gate House, is one of the largest estates on the Peninsula. This 17,000+ square-foot estate, dating back to the late 18th century, includes a large main residence and carriage house with three suites. The Sword Gate House, named for its grand gated entrance, is considered one of the finest estates in Charleston, and is located on one of the most exclusive streets South of Broad.

Q: Why have these homes sustained their value over centuries?
The location in the city center of Charleston has always been the exclusive address for residences since the 18th century. Also, the historic architecture, condition, and craftsmanship have contributed to maintaining the value of these historic estates.

Q: Beyond real estate, what does Charleston have to offer?
Charleston has become a major culinary destination with many award-winning restaurants and renowned chefs; it also hosts a very popular food and wine festival every year. There is a strong arts community with many galleries and performing arts centers. The mild winter climate allows for many outdoor activities such as visiting the beautiful beaches, sailing, and fishing.