Charleston’s Historic Calhoun Mansion Re-Opens for Public Tours to Showcase Exquisite Treasures

CHARLESTON, S.C., June 10 /PRNewswire/ — Majestic and grand, nothing else on the Charleston peninsula can compare to the Calhoun Mansion. The 16 Meeting Street property, touted as Charleston’s largest privately-owned home, has re-opened to the public after being purchased by a new owner. Its sale represented one of the largest real estate transactions ever in the city, and even more remarkable is the private collection on view of new furnishings, artwork and porcelains that fill the Calhoun Mansion.

Upon entering the house, visitors might be taken with its striking Italianate design. Once inside, charming and elegant interiors flourish with Southern antiques and oil paintings which seem at home in a variety of rooms projecting a Victorian age feel. A 60-foot-high ceiling in the entrance hall illustrates why the Calhoun Mansion seems to dwarf antebellum homes in and around Charleston’s most historic and prominent area.

Mitchell Crosby, of JMC Charleston, manages tours of the property. Crosby says that the new owner’s additions are relevant to the property as they depict a collection of a home owner in the latter half of the 19th century – one who would have traveled, hunted and collected throughout Europe and Asia.

Among the home’s latest collections are 18th century Rose Medallion porcelains, 19th century Southern furniture and an 800-pound Russian crystal chandelier. While the home boasts many finds that convey wealth, it also displays religious relics like a Catholic altar salvaged from a Pennsylvania church. Objects of Buddhism and Greek Orthodox symbols can be found in the living room as well as an ancient Torah.

Calhoun Mansion History at Glance

The Calhoun Mansion is a historically significant property and architectural marvel. Italianate in design, the house dwarfs many of the city’s antebellum homes. The story of the Calhoun Mansion actually starts almost a century before it was built. The lot was originally part of the Lowndes houses, the property of Governor Charles Pinckney, who hosted George Washington three times in May of 1791. Using $40,000 in inflated Confederate currency, George Williams from North Carolina later bought the plot of land in 1863, made up of four lots between Meeting and Church Streets.

Williams, owner of a wholesale business, came to Charleston in 1852. After building the mansion in 1876, he now could claim to be the owner of one of the city’s most complete private residences in the South and what the News & Courier called “one of the handsomest in the country.” Williams lived in the house until his death in 1903. It then became the property of his eldest daughter Sarah and her husband Patrick Calhoun, the grandson of former Vice President John C. Calhoun.

Encompassing 25,000 square feet, the Calhoun Mansion has 35 rooms, a grand ballroom, Japanese water gardens, 35 fireplaces, a 75-foot-high domed ceiling, a Koi pond, fountains, a private elevator, three levels of piazzas, 11 chandeliers, 45-foot-high glass sky light, 14-foot-high ceilings and five stories including the basement and the 90-foot-high cupola overlooking the Charleston Harbor. Its history is also a bridge to where it stands today: A hallmark achievement example of stewardship, preservation and restoration.

The Calhoun Mansion has a seasonal house schedule. Visitors can call 843.722.8905 for hours. Tours start at 11 a.m. on the hour and the half hour with the last tour starting at 3:30 p.m. Group sales are available by calling 843.577.1100.

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