If taking a carriage tour through Charleston, SC feels like stepping into history, then you haven’t met the Nathaniel Russel House yet. Built in 1808 and preserved to keep its historical authenticity, visiting this house allows guests to take a trip back in time.
Nathaniel Russell and His Historic Home
It takes a sizeable sum of money to build a beautiful house in downtown Charleston, even in 1808. Nathaniel Russell, a wealthy merchant at the time, was able to commission an architect (who is still unknown to history) to build a home near High Battery. One thing that immediately strikes most viewers is that either side of the house looks very different. On the north side, you’ll see a classic townhouse with a front gate and brick sides. On the south side, the house extends into a “bay” with high windows and a jagged, half-circle exterior.
Today, the north side townhouse remains one of the most historic examples of the Neoclassical style that was in vogue at the time of the home’s construction. Although the entrance to the townhouse might look small in photographs, there’s a surprising amount of room once you get inside. This is thanks to high ceilings that provide room enough for a winding spiral staircase.
The History of the Nathaniel Russell House
The Nathaniel Russell House became famous through the centuries thanks to the pristine condition in which it has been kept. Rather than being a landmark where something famous—or infamous, for that matter—took place, the house has enjoyed a rather blessed life.
Nathaniel Russell, one of the wealthiest citizens in Charleston of his time, initially built the house to display his prosperity. It’s not surprising, then, that a wealthy rice planter and governor of South Carolina was impressed enough to purchase the home for his own in 1867. Robert Allston’s estate eventually sold the property, whereupon it functioned as a school.
Enjoying the Nathaniel Russell House Today
In 1995, the Historic Charleston Foundation renovated and restored the Russell House to return it to its original design. This restoration gave the landmark the historical authenticity it currently enjoys. The home now serves as a museum that’s open to the public every Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM, with limited hours on Sunday.
No matter when you’re coming to Charleston, a trip to our famous historic district is always a must. Sites like the Nathaniel Russell House give you a taste of historic Charleston and a wealth of stories. By enjoying a carriage ride tour through the historic district, you’ll have an even more authentic and enjoyable way to take it all in.
Get in touch with us at Charleston Carriage Works to book a tour that the whole family can enjoy.