Charleston Women Spring 2024

11 | | /CharlestonWomen One of the many enchanting things about Charleston is its eye-catching architecture. The stately mansions and modest wooden houses on the peninsula draw thousands of tourists — and hundreds of new residents — each year. From the earliest days, folks have commented on the uniqueness of the city’s architecture, a blend of various styles and features derived from both European and Caribbean influences. In 1764, a visitor from Rhode Island wrote that Charleston “seems a new world,” and one from England stated in 1838 that it “is extremely pleasing to the eye.” Unlike the many American cities in the early 20th century which followed the trend of erecting highrises, Charleston was spared from such modern development. Artists flocked to the city from the northeast in the 1920s to capture the scene in case Americans’ desire for modernity was about to take over Charleston, too. Fortunately for us, that didn’t occur. Never mind that it was due in large part to the fact that there wasn’t much money here during the Reconstruction and Depression eras to enable it to happen. However, on the rare occasion when such an attempt was proposed, local preservation groups united to voice their disapproval. As a result, the city established a Board of Architectural Review to ensure protection of its old and historic buildings. In the 1930s, the city of Charleston became the first in the country to pass such an ordinance. After all, the city’s motto is, “She guards her buildings, customs and laws.” When it comes to the longevity of Charleston’s buildings, that combination of serendipity and intent seems to have come full circle these days, as many newer suburban neighborhoods are emulating the charming architecture of the old city or creating their own versions of it. The community of Daniel Island is one example. It’s been nationally recognized for its smart growth and planning and, in 2007, received an award of excellence from the Urban Land Institute. The island The Charleston Look A History of Influential Homes BY MARY COY Feature A side hall plan with a double front porch in I’On.