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Title 160 Calhoun Street (Charleston Orphan House)
Object Type Property File
Scope & Content The handsome building, fronting on Boundary (now Calhoun) at St. Philip, was an outgrowth of Charleston's initial attempts to care for its orphans, the first such municipal project in the nation. It opened in October 1794 and initially housed 114 children. In 1792, Thomas Bennett drew plans for the proposed orphanage, a building that became one of Charleston's notable architectural structures. The building was damaged by the hurricane of 1885 and by the earthquake a year later. (The children were removed to tents while repairs were made.) On the rear of the property, fronting on Vanderhorst Street, a small chapel was built in 1802 and is believed to have been designed by Gabriel Manigault and was considered an outstanding example of small church architecture. In 1953, when the city was closing a deal to sell the property as a site for a Sears Roebuck store, preservationists protested but to no avail. Although the chapel was to have been preserved, both buildings were demolished. The Sears store closed in 1981.

The orphanage produced many persons who rose to prominent positions including Christopher G. Memminger, secretary of the treasury of the Confederate States of America; Andrew Buist Murray, who donated the funds for the construction of Murray Boulevard; U.S. Navy Capt. Thomas R. Gedney, who discovered the new channel for New York Harbor; John K. Campbell, Florida district attorney; Solomon Heydensteidt, California Supreme Court jurist; Thomas Stevens, a hero of Commodore Perry's squadron in Lake Erie in the War of 1812; and Dr. Leonard T. Baker, who became president of the University of South Carolina.

File contains newspaper articles about its history (including DYKYC), the publication of the book "A Legacy of Caring, Charleston Orphan House, and about archaeology at the site; correspondence and memoranda from the Charleston Orphan House Book Committee regarding the plan for the book manuscript; "corrected version" of the typed manuscript; document entitled "Description of the Orphan House, Furnished by Messers Jones & Lee, the Architects, in October 1855"; document entitled "An Appleton for the Orphanage Being an Account of the Procurement of an Organ for the Orphan House of Charleston, S.C. in 1839" by Jerry D. Morton after the Research of Mary Julia Royall (source not indicated); copies of images (photos and engravings); correspondence related to C of C's plans for the site and to articles about archaeology at the site.
Subjects Historic buildings--South Carolina--Charleston
Lost architecture
Charleston Orphan House
Search Terms Calhoun Street
Demolished buildings, lost buildings
Physical Description 1 File Folder
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Object ID # CALHOUN.160.01