2021 Fall Tour Volunteers
Guests will visit 4-6 private Piazzas and Gardens. No interiors are included
Rainbow Row refers to the row of pastel-colored historic homes located on the East Bay Street waterfront along the Battery and is one of Charleston’s most photographed streetscapes. Charleston is a place steeped in history in every neighborhood and Rainbow Row is no exception. Excellent examples of early 18th-century wharfside construction, the dwellings along East Bay Street provide insight into the colonial mercantile life of Charleston. First constructed around 1740, they were homes of prosperous merchants and factors who ran counting houses and stores on the ground floor and lived with their families on the top floor.
After the Civil War, this area of Charleston devolved into near slum conditions. In the 1920s, Susan Pringle Frost, the founder of the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings, now the Preservation Society of Charleston, bought six of the buildings, but she lacked the money to restore them immediately. In 1931 Dorothy Porcher Legge and her husband Judge Lionel Legge purchased a section of these buildings, 99 through 101 East Bay, and began to renovate them. She chose to paint them pastel colors based on a colonial Caribbean color scheme. As other houses in the row were purchased and renovated, their owners followed her example, painting the homes in various shades of pastel colors. One story maintains that the houses were painted in different vibrant colors so drunken sailors coming from port would know which house they were supposed to sleep in.
The area surrounding Rainbow Row and the Battery is one of the most heavily visited neighborhoods in Charleston. Just south of Rainbow Row lies the Battery, a landmark defensive seawall and promenade. Named for a civil-war coastal defense artillery battery, it stretches along the lower shores of the Charleston peninsula.
2:00pm - 5:00pm EDT
|| Preservation Society of Charleston