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Ashley Avenue (171-219)

Photo: 178 Ashley Ave. Wickliffe House c.1850

Other photos this page:

192 Ashley Ave. c.1859

216 Ashley Ave. c.1853

217 Ashley Ave.

171 Ashley Ave.

-- U.S. Arsenal and Porter Academy Buildings, Medical University of South Carolina. The United States Arsenal was built here in 1844, with a main building designed by Charleston architect Edward Brickell White who may also have designed the auxiliary buildings. The main building was demolished after the Medlcal College of South Carolina bought the property in 1963, but two arsenal buildings remain in the northeast corner of th Medical University campus. They are St. Luke's chapel (a remodeled artillery shed) and Colcock hall, a two story brick building with a clerestory roof. The arsenal was occupied by South Carolina troops on Dec. 30, 1860, ten days after the adoption of the Ordinance of Secession. It was an important prize for the Confederacy because it contained nearly 18,000 muskets, about 3,400 rifles more than 1,000 pistols, and several large pieces of ordinance, including five 24-pound field howitzers -- arms enough to equip three divisions. The arsenal was re-occupied in 1865 by Federal troops who remained until all occupying troops were withdrawn from South Carolina in 1879. The abandoned arsenal was leased by the Federal government in 1879 to the Rev. A. Toomer Porter for 99 years at $1.00 a year, for the use of the Holy Communion Church Institute. Ten years later, title to the property was conveyed to the school. The Holy Communion Church lnstitute occupied the property in 1880. The school, founded by Dr. Porter in 1867, was renamed the Porter Academy in 1886 and subsequently called Porter Military Academy. In 1883, to provide the school with a chapel, Dr. Porter removed the roof of the large artillery shed, raised the walls four feet, put a Gothic roof on it and inserted stained glass windows. The filled-in arched openings of the former gun shed can still be seen. The chapel was first called St. Timothy's and, after the acquisition by the Medical College, was renamed St Luke's, for the patron of healing. The chapel is non sectarian. Colcock Hall, the other remaining arsenal building, is named for Charles J. Colcock, who became headmaster in 1890 and rector of the school in 1902, when Dr . Porter died. Dr. Porter also built several buildings, of which the only remaining is the crenellated Gothic library building, also in the northeast corner of the campus. The library, a gift of the Rev. Charles Frederick Hoffman, rector of All Angels Episcopal Church, New York, was designed by the New York architectural firm, J. B. Snooks & Co. , and built in 1891-94. The design is octagonal, with square reading rooms in the angles of the octagon. The building now houses the Waring Historical Library, named for Dr. Joseph I. Waring, Medical University professor and medical historian. A later buildlng behind the Waring Historical Library houses the Macaulay Museum of Dental History. Porter Military Academy merged in 1963 with the Gaud School and the Watt school to form Porter-Gaud school, which has been located on Albemarle Road since 1963.
(Stockton, DYKYC, August 24, 1970; Ravenel, Architects , p. 189,192; Legerton, p. 30-31; Rhett & Steel, p. 88-89; Burton, Siege of Charleston, p. 5,8,15,320,322; Porter, Led On! , p. i-iii, 340-368, 340-434.)


178 Ashley Ave. c.1850

IMAGE: TOP OF PAGE -- This outstanding Greek Revival mansion was built c. 1850 by John Hume Lucas, a wealthy planter. The house has two stories of wood on a rusticated masonry basement. The columns of the front portico and the giant order columns of the piazza have Tower of the Winds capitals, a form of Greek Corinthian which was very popular with Charleston architects and builders. The house also has rich plasterwork and woodwork of the period, in the interior. The house was donated by Miss Margaret Wickliffe of West Union, S.C., to the Health Sciences Foundation of the Medical University of South Carolina, and restored in 1977 as the faculty house.
(Stockton, DYKYC, Aug. 8, 1977; Waddell, "Introduction of Greek Revival," 7. Wiffin, 42)


192 Ashley Ave. c.1859

IMAGE: ON RIGHT-- Built c. 1859-61 by the Wickenberg family, this two and one-half story house of stuccoed brick, on a high basement of stuccoed brick, is in the Italianate style, with elaborate window cornices and door hood, a palladian window in the front gable and quoins on the corners. A tradition in the Wickenberg family says that Gen. Pierre G. T. Beauregard, the Confederate commander, had his headquarters here during the siege of Charleston The tradition, however, has not been supported by existing documentation.
(Sparkman, "Beauregard's Headquarters."; Stoney, This is Charleston , p. 6)


209 Ashley Ave.

-- Built before 1830, this notable wooden residence, on a high brick basement, has unusual curving bays and semicircular piazzas.
(Stoney, This is Charleston , p. 7.)


216 Ashley Ave. c.1853

IMAGE: ON RIGHT-- Thomas R. Waring, cashier of the Bank of the State of South Carolina, built this two and one-half story wooden house, on a brick basement, c. 1853. It remained in his family until 1881. The Italianate style popular in the 1850s was characterized by bracketted cornices, arched openings such as those on the piazza. The entrance portico has wood columns with cast iron capital in the Tower of the Winds version of the Greek Corinthian order. The house has a typical mid-19th century town house plan, with a hall on one side and the main room on the other. The plan is localized by the presence of the piazza on the south side. The interior retains fine woodwork and plasterwork of the period.

217 Ashley Ave.

IMAGE: ON RIGHT-- This notable antebellum house has two stories of wood on a raised basement, three-sided bays on either side and a two-tiered piazza with a Greek Revival style parapet roofline.
(Stoney, This is Charleston , p. 7.)


218 Ashley Ave.

-- Church of the Holy Communion (Episcopal) The congregation was organized in 1848 in the home of the Rev. Nathaniel Bowen. The Rev. Anthony Toomer Porter became pastor in 1854, when the members met for services in a room in the United States Arsenal, at Ashley and Bee. Charleston architects Edward C. Jones and Francis D. Lee designed the structure, which was completed in 1855. The church was enlarged and remodeled in 1871 following the plan of Dr. Porter, who copied the hammer beam roof from Trinity Hall , Cambridge, and added a recess chancel and transepts. Dr. Forter's many projects included an industrial school which provided uniforms and camp equipment for the Confederacy. ln 1867, Dr. Porter founded the Holy Communion Church lnstitute, which later became Porter Military Academy, now Porter-Gaud School. He also traveled North and to Europe to secure funds for a school for blacks and for re-opening the theological seminary. Dr. Porter observed the rubrics of the Prayer Book ahd Liturgy of the Anglican "High Church," and such features as the white marble altar with a marble cross candlesticks and missal stand, and vestments in liturgical colors. The church has maintained the tradition of historical liturgical worship which Dr. Porter instituted. During the Civil War , the parish house of Holy Communion was one of several places which Postmaster Alfred Huger used temporarily as the Post Office, due to the Federal bombardment of the lower part of the city. Following the war, the Washington Light Infantry Volunteers of the Hampton Legion was organized here.
(Stockton, DYKYC, June 29, 1981; Porter, Led On! , passim.; Forty Years , passim; Legerton, p. 10-11; Stoney, This is Charleston , p. 7.)


219 Ashley Ave.

-- Henry Buck, a German grocer, built the two and one-half story wooden store and residence here in the early 1850s . Buck was an ardent horseman who raced horses on Wagener's racetrack at The Grove (above present-day Hampton Park). He was a city alderman, 1883-87 and 1896-1901, and a commissioner of the Murray Boulevard project. He died in 1902 , and the family business was continued by his son, H.W.H. Buck, who was an alderman, 1904-19. H.W.H. Buck died in 1921. The business was continued by his son-in-law, W. Edmin Russ, to 1960.
(Charles R. Waring, Jr., CEP , Dec. 30, 1960)