Historic Downtown Charleston is comprised of 14 neighborhoods. Charleston is located just south of the mid-point of South Carolina’s coast line, at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Charleston’s name is derived from Charles Towne, named after King Charles II of England. It is the largest city and county seat of Charleston County. The city was founded as Charlestown or Charles Towne in 1670, and moved to its present location (Oyster Point) from a location on the west bank of the Ashley River in 1680; it adopted its present name in 1783. In 1690, Charleston was the fifth largest city in North America, and remained among the ten largest cities in the United States through the 1840 census.
Historic Charleston is known as The Holy City due to the prominence of churches on the low-rise cityscape, particularly the numerous steeples which dot the city’s skyline. The population was estimated to be 118,492 in 2007, making it the second most populous city in South Carolina closely behind the state capital Columbia. Historic downtown Charleston offers a wide selection of homes for sale, from massive single family homes to large condos. Pricing is often viewed as being on a sliding scale from the Battery, where the beautiful, carefully restored colonial homes often begin in the million dollar range, to the modest Charleston Singles and town homes in the northwest portion of the peninsula near the Crosstown, where prices are much lower. Above the Crosstown has older homes that are being renovated.
Points of interest in downtown Charleston include Cooper River Bridge Run, The Battery, Charleston Ghost Tours, Meeting Street Bed and Breakfast, Beautiful Churches, South Carolina Aquarium, Downtown Shopping, Spoleto Festival, Great Restaurants, Medical University of South Carolina, College of Charleston, and The Charleston School of Law, The Citadel, and Fort Sumter.
Here are the 14 historic downtown Charleston neighborhoods along with a brief markets analysis for each neighborhood:
1. South of Broad. Entering Charleston’s South of Broad neighborhood, you’re engulfed by tree-lined streets and historic antebellum mansions. South of Broad is where your eyes fall upon graceful arches and lush gardens.
During the past six months Charleston’s South of Broad neighborhood had 37 homes sold at an average price of $1,327,880.
2. French Quarter. Charleston’s French Quarter neighborhood’s name recognizes the high concentration of French merchants in the area’s history. It was settled as part of the original Grande Modell of Charles Towne in 1680. It is famous for its art galleries; it also has many restaurants and places of commerce as well as Charleston’s Waterfront Park.
Charleston’s French Quarter is home to many fine historic buildings, among them, the Pink House Tavern, built around 1712, and the Slave Mart, built by Z.B.Oakes in 1859. Also in the French Quarter are the Dock Street Theatre, arguably the first site of theatrical productions in the United States, and the French Huguenot Church, a beautiful Gothic-style church which houses the sole-surviving French Calvinist Congregation in the United States. St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, the first congregation in Charleston, whose current building dates to 1835, is also in the French Quarter. St. Philip’s cemetery is the final resting place of Edward Rutledge, the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence, and U.S. Senator and Vice President John C. Calhoun, whose large tomb is empty; his bones were removed during the Civil War to protect them from capture by invading Union forces, and have never been recovered.
During the past six months Charleston’s French Village neighborhood had 7 homes sold at an average price of $850,571.
3. Ansonborough. Charleston’s Ansonborough neighborhood was named after Lord Anson of England who won the property in a spirited poker game with famous Charlestonian Thomas Gadsden. Lord Anson was sent to Charleston in 1724 to protect the coast of South Carolina from pirates. Admiral Anson was by no means a mere gentleman with a title; he was an exceptional sailor by any standard. He was the third Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. On his many voyages he captured Spanish ships filled with treasures. The most celebrated being in the mid-1740’s when he abducted a Spanish vessel carrying booty worth a million and a quarter pounds of sterling.
During the past six months Charleston’s Ansonborough neighborhood had 7 homes for sold at an average price of $866,135.
4. Upper Concord Street. Charleston’s Upper Concord Street neighborhood is largely store front commercial properties with office space and condos on the upper floors of the properties. The Charleston Maritime Center, the South Carolina Aquarium, the Charleston Market area, Confederate Museum Center are found here.
During the past six months Charleston’s Upper Concord neighborhood had no homes sold.
5. Radcliffeborough. Charleston’s Radcliffeborough neighborhood began as farmland purchased and surveyed by Thomas Radcliffe in 1786. Thomas’ estate and his widow, Lucretia continued to develop the borough after Thomas was lost at sea in 1806. In 1811, the Third Episcopal Church was built on four lots donated by Mrs. Radcliffe for this purpose. St. Paul’s convenient local and grand appearance attracted rice planters from the neck to worship alongside homes built by merchants and mechanics, several free black families (from before the Civil War) as well as slaves living apart from their masters and after the war, newly freed slaves.
Today, Radcliffeborough is as racially and economically mixed as it was then but its boundaries have grown from its original eight blocks to span from King Street to Ashley Avenue and from Bee Street, to Calhoun. Its topography has changed as well and would seem incredibly different to Thomas Radcliffe. In his time and even up to 1846, Calhoun Street did not exist. The area that would eventually become Calhoun was a millpond and Comings Creek ran through the land where the Cathedral of St. Paul now stands.
During the past six months Charleston’s Radcliffeborough neighborhood had 8 homes sold at an average price of $512,038.
6. Mazyck-Wraggborough. Charleston’s Mazyck-Wraggborough neighborhood, also known as the “Garden District”, revitalization and restoration are underway. Developed in the 18th century by the antebellum elite who wanted “Villas” outside the Walled City, Mazyck-Wraggborough remains a repository of Museum quality houses. This borough is sought-after by buyers who appreciate fine architecture, but do not want to spend the prices of neighborhoods further south. Mazyck-Wraggborough is convenient for those liking to walk. Shopping on Saturday’s at the Farmer’s Market is a fun, social outing. For smart shops, award winning chefs, and the latest martini, King Street is just a short stroll away!
Mazyck-Wraggborough is a neighborhood of diversity. Mazyck-Wraggborough remains a repository of museum properties: The Aiken-Rhett House, The Joseph Manigault House, and the William Rhett House. A recent gated town house neighborhood adds a new dimension.
During the past six months Charleston’s Mazyck-Wraggborough neighborhood had 1 home sold at price of $252,000.
7. Cannonborough/Elliotborough. The Charleston neighborhood running parallel to the Crosstown may be run-down in parts, but Cannonborough-Elliotborough is probably the most diverse residential area in Charleston. Blue-collar workers, college students, and young families live side-by-side, and the streets are typically full of people on their porches and mingling on the sidewalk. There are many restaurants and small business throughout the area.
During the past six months Charleston’s Cannonborough/Elliotborough neighborhood had 4 homes sold at price of $360,000.
8. Eastside. Like the Ansonborough Neighborhood once had, the Charleston’s Eastside neighborhood has gradually declined from one of the finest residential areas in anti-bellum Charleston, to a point where tenements and slums have began to predominate. But also like the Ansonborough Neighborhood, the Eastside Neighborhood has started to make a comeback as a neighborhood in transition.
During the past six months Charleston’s Eastside neighborhood had 1 home sold at price of $215,000.
9. Westside. Charleston’s Westside neighborhood is predominantly a residential community in transition. There are many renovations and a few new constructions ongoing at all times. The Westside community is a very diverse community with college students, professors, medical professionals, workers in diverse fields of employment along with life long residents.
During the past six months Charleston’s Eastside neighborhood had 4 homes sold at price of $183,400.
10. Hampton Park Terrace. Charleston’s Hampton Park Terrace is a neighborhood located in peninsular Charleston, South Carolina. The land upon which the neighborhood is built was rural land until approximately 1900. At about that time, a few streets began being laid out in the northern end of the city. A few small houses were constructed at that time, but most of the land remained undeveloped. In 1912, three large sections of the neighborhood were platted. Those sections roughly correspond to the northwest quadrant, the southwest quadrant, and the southeast quadrant.
Most of the housing in the neighborhood was constructed between 1912 and 1925. The architecture of the neighborhood follows national trends of the period and represents a distinct break from the local tradition of Charleston’s other historic areas. Nevertheless, because of its largely intact concentration of early 20th century buildings, the neighborhood was added to the National Register on September 26, 1997.
During the past six months Charleston’s Hampton Park Terrace neighborhood had 2 homes sold at price of $465,000.
11. Wagener Terrace. Charleston’s Wagener Terrace neighborhood is a highly desirable residential neighborhood featuring mainly craftsman style cottages and bungalows built from the between 1920 and 1950. Many renovations are occurring on a regular basis with some new constructions scattered throughout the neighborhood ongoing. There are some nice waterfront properties along the Ashley River and a few upscale new construction subdivisions.
During the past six months Charleston’s Wagener Terrace neighborhood had 22 homes sold at price of $264,818.
12. North Central. Charleston’s North Central neighborhood is largely a transitional neighborhood that is rapidly improving. The homes in the community range from freedman style homes to craftsman style cottages and bungalows.
During the past six months Charleston’s North Central neighborhood had 17 homes sold at price of $170,088
13. East Central. Charleston’s East Central neighborhood is comprised of commercial and industrial properties along with older transitional residential areas and public housing.
During the past six months Charleston’s East Central neighborhood had no homes sold.
14. Harleston Village. Charleston’s Harleston Village neighborhood was named after John Harleston when it was developed and streets were opened in 1770. The Harlestons, during the Colonial period, were active in the government of the Province and also accomplished breeders of racehorses. Streets in the Village of Harleston were named for prominent men of the period, in England and the Province. The Royal Governor, Lord Charles Greville Montagu, along with Lt. Gov. William Bull; Hecter Beranger de Beaufain, Collector of Customs and member of His Majesty’s Council; William Pitt, the British member of Parliament who defended Colonial rights; as well as John Rutledge, Thomas Lynch and Christopher Gadsden, who were active in the Provincial government and later leaders in the American Revolution; all were commemorated.
During the past six months Charleston’s Harleston Village neighborhood had 27 homes sold at an average price of $583,907.
Historic downtown Charleston has something for everyone, a wide variety of homes, great cultural arts, diverse architectural features, world class dining, many significant historical sites, and much more.