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Title 59 Church Street (Thomas Rose House)
Object Type Property File
Scope & Content Constructed ca. 1735; restored 1929, 1939. Indicative of the merchant house plan in American and English port cities, the Thomas Rose House reflects the asymmetrical plan used for larger dwellings in Charleston during the second quarter of the 18th century. The Rose House stands 2½ stories high with 5 bays on the front facade, topped by a brick cornice, and capped by a hipped slate roof. The 2nd-floor drawing room or dining parlor extends across the entire floor, constituting one of the earliest surviving examples of this plan in the city. An original central doorway once led directly to a 1st floor counting room. This door was walled up when piazzas were added in the 19th century. Thomas Rose constructed the house on original Charles Town lot no. 61, inherited by his wife Beauler Elliott, replacing an earlier dwelling. A 1734 letter to Thomas's brother Richard Rose in England requesting that bricklayers be sent to Charleston appears related to the construction of the house. It was sold by Rose shortly after completion to the Savage family, who owned it for the next 90 years, keeping 12 slaves on the property. Sympathetic northern owners, the Frank Whitmans, restored the house in 1929, using local restoration architect Albert Simons. The Victorian piazza details were removed and replaced by woodwork imitating Neoclassical moldings. The structure was later purchased by the Connecticut architectural historian Henry Philip Staats, and further restoration work was undertaken. Staats was a founder of Historic Charleston Foundation and with his wife, Juliette Wiles Staats, bolstered preservation and artistic endeavors in Charleston. The original kitchen and laundry outbuildings survive and were incorporated into the present house plan via a 20th century addition. (Poston, Buildings of Charleston.)

File contains National Register Nomination Form (1970); house history, timeline and MLS text (Brittany Lavelle, 2014); various FOHG house histories (most undated, 2014, 2016); FOHG garden history (2008); excerpt from An Architectural Guide to Charleston and from Vernacular Architecture of Charleston and the Lowcountry; house history (Jonathan Poston, undated); summary of 2/10/1975 DYKYC article; document entitled "Data Concerning the House at 59 Church Street" including sections "HCF notes on 59 Church Street" and "Notes on Tom Savage (unattributed, undated); "Record of Ownership of the House at 59 Church Street" from the records of the Office of Mesne Conveyance, from the Will of Thomas Elliott, and a very house history (unattributed, undated); news articles including DYKYC (1975?), "Center of Romantic Duel" (date not indicated), and article about the death of Joseph Brown Ladd (1942); letter from Stephen Whitman with document containing reminiscences of Thomas Whitman (owner of 59 Church, 1929-1942); letter from David Shields [Citadel professor] (1989) about Thomas Rose letters he found in Belfast with copies of two letters and transcriptions; Inventory of Benjamin Savage; Will of Martha Savage; correspondence from Ben Scott Whaley related to Church Street Historic Foundation (1977); list of architectural drawings at SC Historical Society; Albert Simons document to Henry P. Staats "Outline Specification, Alterations for Apartment" (12/8/1942); Church Street Historic Foundation candlelight tour program (undated).

See Media link for PDF of photocopy of "Construction Plan of Grounds at 59 Church Street for Mr. and Mrs. Henry P. Staats" (7/15/1954).
Subjects Historic buildings--South Carolina--Charleston
Historic gardens
Search Terms Church Street
Walled City
National Register of Historic Places
Loutrel Briggs garden
Physical Description 1 File Folder
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Object ID # CHURCH.059.1