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Title 89-91 Church Street (Catfish Row)
Object Type Property File
Scope & Content Constructed ca. 1783; restoration 1928-30. A larger, 3-story version of the Hendricks tenements, this stucco building achieved fame as the setting for Dubose Heyward's famous novel Porgy and the subsequent libretto. Heyward knew the building well, not only because he lived in the next block but because he had previously rented the dependency across the street at 90 Church Street. Along with the Hendricks tenements, this structure was formerly known as Cabbage Row, but Heyward dubbed it "Catfish Row," its appellation thereafter, and it became the setting for Heyward's novel Porgy. Retaining its original fenestration, particularly its early-19th century shop fronts, the central passageway arch still boasts a late-18th century wrought-iron lunette with scrollwork and central pendant. Occupied for decades after the Civil War as a dense rooming house for as many as 100 African Americans, the building was purchased in 1928 by the wife of landscape architect Loutrel Briggs. Briggs restored the exterior, adding old woodwork to the upper interiors for rental apartments and renovating the gutted shells of the flanking rear outbuildings as new units.

File contains HCF staff research notes; house history from Information for Guides of Historic Charleston; photos/illustration from newspaper; narrative history (with reference to Porgy); Rosen and Associates inspection report (1998, 2001).
Subjects Historic buildings--South Carolina--Charleston
African Americans--Housing
Search Terms Church Street
Walled City
Physical Description 1 File Folder
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Object ID # CHURCH.089-91.1