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East Bay Street (122-200)

Photo: Old Exchange c.1767

Other photos this page:

141 East Bay c.1853

164-166 East Bay c.1785

178-180 East Bay c.1800

200 East Bay c.1879

Plus additional linked photos

122 East Bay Old Exchange c.1767

IMAGE-- The Old Exchange and Custom House, built in 1767-71, on the site of the "Court of Guard" where Stede Bonnet, the "Gentleman Pirate," was imprisoned in 1718. William Rigby Naylor was the architect of the building which was constructed by the brothers Peter and John Adam Horlbeck, German-born masons. The building is reminiscent of contemporaneous exchanges in London, Liverpool, and Bristol. The building originally had an open arcade on the first floor and an elegant assembly on the second. Twin stair towers which projected into East Bay Street were taken down in the early part of the 19th century as they impeded traffic. The formal entrance was on the water side. Arriving royal governors were greeted here: the last was Lord William Campbell. On December 3, 1773, citizens of Charlestown met here to protest the British Tea Tax. That public meeting is considered the first meeting of the South Carolina General Assembly and the birth of the state's present government. Taxed tea was seized by the local authorities and stored in the Exchange until it was sold to help finance the Patriot cause. The Patriots also walled up gunpowder under one of the basement arches, but it was never discovered by the British when they occupied the city in 1780-82. The British confined 61 citizens including Lt. Gov. Christopher Gadsden in the basement as political and military prisoners . Among them was Col. lsaac Hayne, whom they hanged as an example to the rebellious Colonials. When President George Washington came to Charleston in May 1791, he was rowed across the harbor by prominent gentlemen of the city, to the official landing below the Exchange Building, which was then the City Hall, having been conveyed to the city in 1783. Among many entertainments given Washington in the week he was here, a magnificent concert and ball were held in this building. Ladies of the city wore "fillets" or bandeaux in their hair, with pictures of Washington and the words "Long Live the President" in gilt letters . The building was conveyed to the Federal government in 1818 and became the Post Office. The building continued to be used as the Post Office and Federal office building until 1896 when it was vacated. The government decided to sell the building, but in 1898 it was turned over to the U.S. Light House Department for its use. Alarmed by reports that the site interested a gasoline station builder, in 1912, the Rebecca Motte Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution began negotiating to acquire the property. Transferral was delayed by World War l, during which the building was headquarters of Gen. Leonard Wood. Although the Chapter obtained title in 1917 , they did not occupy it until 1921. ln 1972, the restoration of the Exchange Building was adopted as a project for the American Revolution Bicentennial. The Old Exchange Commission was established in 1976 for the purpose of leasing and renovating the building. The restoration, paid for with state and federal funds, cost $1,910,000 and was completed in 1979-83. The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, however, was reopened in 1981, as a museum and meeting place. The restoration is a modern adaptation of the historic building, not meant to be an exact replication of the original appearance. The stair towers for example, were replaced, not on the west front where they would again have impeded traffic, but on the east side. Portions open to the public include the reconstructed Great Hall and the Provost Dungeon where also can be seen an excavated portion of the Half Moon Battery of c. 1701.
(Miller & Andruss, Eyewitnesses to History , ; Smith & Smith, Dwelling Houses , p.262,265-268 ; Fraser, Reminiscences , p.18 ; Whitelaw & Levkoff, p.v,32,74,93 ; Rogers, Charleston in the Age of the Pinckneys , p.61-62,82 ; Ravenel, Architects , p.36,41-46 ; Stockton, DYKYC, June 7,1982.; Bryan, "A Most Notable Appearance.")


132-134 East Bay c.1797

IMAGE -- Gabriel Manigault, Charleston's "gentle man architect" built this structure sometime after purchasing the site in 1797. The building was originally a brick double tenement of three stories, under a common hipped roof. ln the 1890s , Pauline S. Heyward had the structure converted to a two story building with a new stone facade.
(Stockton, unpub. M.S.)


141 East Bay Old Farmers and Exchange Bank c.1853

IMAGE: ON RIGHT -- Old Farmers and Exchange Bank, built in 1853-54, is in the eclectic Moorish Revival style. Architect Francis D. Lee designed the building, with its horseshoe arches and striped stonework, which are reminiscent of the Alcazar at Seville. To achieve the striped effect, Lee used pale Jersey and darker Connecticut brownstone. Lopez and Trumbo were the contractors. The building was vacant, in disrepair and in danger of demolition for a parking lot until it was purchased and restored in 1970.
(Whitelaw & Levkoff, p.94 ; Ravenel, Architects , p.225-226 ; Stoney, This is Charleston , p.45 )


153 East Bay McCrady's Tavern c.1779

IMAGE -- This 19th century commercial facade masks the entrance to McCrady' s Tavern, built c. 1779 b Edward McCrady. The long room of the tavern is at the rear of the building with an entrance on Unity Alley. That portion has been restored as a restaurant. The Society of the Cincinnati gave a dinner for President George Washington in McCrady's long room in 1791. lt possibly is the oldest surviving building used for theatrical productions in the United States . The building continued in use as a coffee house or restaurant until c. 1855. Afterwards, it became a warehouse. Today, it again houses a restaurant.
(Stockton, unpub. notes.; Thomas, DYKYC, Jan. 31,1972.)


155 East Bay c.1850

-- This stuccoed brick building was built in the 1850s by Etienne Poincignon, a Frenchman who made a fortune as a tinsmith and real estate investor.
(Stockton, News & Courier , March 14,1973.)


154-162 East Bay c.1810

IMAGE-- Prioleau's Range. Samuel Prioleau, Jr. built this range of three story brick buildings sometime before his death in 1813. After 1836, the range was remodeled by his son, Dr. Philip Gendron Prioleau and his daughter Mrs. Catherine Ravenel, in the the popular Greek Revival style, with a continuous front of Quincy granite post-and-lintel system along the first level, and a parapet roofline, punctuated by false attic windows filled with decorative grills. Subsequently the middle unit of the row was Viotorianized, and the unit at 162 East Bay was rebuilt after a fire in 1867. ln 1977-78, the range was renovated and the several buildings were converted into a single building.
(Stockton, unpub. M.S.; Stoney, This is Charleston , p.46 )


161-165 East Bay Wagener Building c.1880

IMAGE-- Wagener Building, a three story brick structure, was built in 1880 as the store and warehouse of F.W. Wagener & Co. Founded in 1865 by Frederick W. Wagener, the company dealt in cotton, rice, naval stores, wholesale groceries, fertilizers, liquors , tobaccos cotton gins, coffee mills and assorted other items, and manufactured cotton presses. Richard P. Southard was the architect of the building, which has a Queen Ann facade of red brick with buff colored brick trim. The Queen Street facade is built of local grey brick and features elaborate brickwork forming a series of classic arches and pilasters on the first level and a blind arch with a segmental-arch pediment on the second. Wagener was also chairman of the board of the S.C. lnterstate and West lndian Exposition, held in Charleston in 1901-02, and was proprietor of the Pine Forest lnn, a popular resort at Summerville.
(Stockton, DYKYC, Oct. 20,1980.; Stockton, unpub. M.S.)


164-166 East Bay c.1785

IMAGE: ON RIGHT -- Sometime after 1783, Samuel Prioleau, Jr. built a double tenement of three stories of brick here. ln 1839, the property was remodeled by the Estate of Jame Ross, by the conversion of the two buildings into one with the addition of a new storefront consisting of Quincy granite post-and-lintel system, extending along the East Bay and Vendue Range facades. The three story brick structure was destroyed by fire in 1867. lt was rebuilt in 1872 for Mrs. Ann Ross, widow of James Ross, as a two story, stuccoed brick building, retaining the 1839 granite post-and-lintel system on the first level.
(Stockton, unpub. M.S.)


167-169 East Bay c.1834

IMAGE -- The front part of this building was a three story brick double tenement, built c. 1834-37 by Robert William Roper, and converted into a two story structure in 1895-96 by the Medical Society of South Carolina. Thomas Roper died in 1829, bequeathing all his estate to his son Robert William Roper, with the stipulation that should the son die without issue this property was to be devised to the Medical Society, and the income therefrom was to be used for the building of a hospital.
(Stockton, unpub. M.S.)


178-180 East Bay c.1800

IMAGE: ON RIGHT-- This three story stuccoed brick commercial building was built after 1800 by Stephen Lefevre, a French merchant. lt shows French influence in its design and in the design of the window grills. lt formerly had a high hipped roof of pantiles.
(Stoney, This is Charleston , p.46 ; Smith & Smith, Dwelling Houses , p.347; Deas,46-47 )


188 East Bay c.1822

IMAGE-- This three story stuccoed brick building was the boyhood home of Arthur Hugh Clough, the English poet, whose father, James Butler Clough, a commission merchant representing a Liverpool firm, had his office on the first floor and the family residence above, from c . 1822 to 1836, when the family returned to England.
(Bennett, DYKYC, Oct.6,1941; Stoney, This is Charleston , p.46 )


183-185 East Bay c.1890

-- This three story brick commercial building was built c. 1890 by O.T. Wieters and W.C. Marjenhoff, grocers. The "lchnography" of 1739 shows the Custom House on this site.
(Stockton, DYKYC, Sept. 26,1973.)


187-189 East Bay c.1845

-- This two story brick commercial building was built c. 1845 by Etienne Poincignon. When he bought this site in c. 1845, it was occupied by two houses which had been rebuilt after the 1796 fire by Samue Cordes and Samuel Porcher. On the south elevation along Lodge Alley, may be seen the fenestration of Cordes' three story single house. Poincignon bricke up the windows of this wall and used it in building the present double commercial structure with its ltalianate facade.
(Stockton, DYKYC, Sept. 26,1973.)


191 East Bay c.1800

-- The front part of this building is a Charleston single house of c. 1800. Theodore Gaillard left the property in 1805 to his daughter, Henrietta, wife of Joseph S. Barker. The building has a Charleston-made iron storefront on the first floor, dated 1887 and apparently installed when the facade was rebuilt after the 1886 earthquake.
(Stockton, DYKYC, Sept. 26,1973.)


195 East Bay c.1850

-- This three story commercial building waw constructed in the 1850s by lsaac Barrett, a merchant.
(Stockton, DYKYC, Sept. 26,1973.)


197-199 East Bay c.1852

-- This three story brick double commercial building, a look-alike of 195 East Bay, was built c. 1852 by James Walker.
(Stockton, DYKYC, Sept. 26,1973.)

198 East Bay


201-203 East Bay c.1853

-- A three story brick building was built here by S. S. Farrar & Bros., grocers, in 1853. The building was designed by Francis D. Lee, who used cast iron pillars in the construction. The buildin was severely damaged by a tornado in 1938, and rebuilt as a two story building by l . M. Pearlstine. The building has been reconstructed from a 1911 photograph. (Stockton, DYKYC, Sept. 26,1973.)


200 East Bay c.1879

IMAGE: ON RIGHT -- The U.S. Custom House was built on the site of Craven's Bastion, remains of which were found in excavating the basement. Congress appropriated funds for the building in 1848 and bought the site, know as Fitzsimons' Wharf, in 1849. The commissioner awarded the contract for its design in 1850 to Charleston architect Edward C. Jones, but the choice was overruled by Washington authorities, who chose Ammi Burnham Young, the designer of a similar Custom House in Boston. The original design called for pedimented porticos on all four sides, and a tall dome, 160 feet from grade to top. Construction was interrupted by the Civil War and the building was completed in the present form in 1879. The rusticated basement of the building is granite, the upper two floors are of marble. The porticos are Roman Corinthian, and engaged columns and entablature of the same order continue around the cruciform structure. Emile T. Viett came to Charleston from Europe to carve the capitals and other decorative marble work.
(Severens, Southern Architecture , p.144-146 ; Thomas, DYKYC, Dec. 8,1968; Ravenel, Architects , p.198,237-239 ; Smith & Smith, Dwelling Houses , p.268 ; Rhett & Steel, p.56-57 ; Whitelaw & Levkoff, p.44 ; Mazyck & Waddell, illus. p.13 ; Stoney, This is Charleston , p.46 )