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Title 9 East Battery (Robert William Roper House)
Object Type Property File
Scope & Content Constructed 1838-39; addition late 19th century; restored 1982-83. The Robert William Roper House is one of Charleston's most monumental Greek Revival houses. With its prominent position on the southern edge of the Battery, its massive 5-columned Ionic portico could be seen by approaching ships miles away. The city originally intended for this section of the Battery to be part of White Point Gardens, an L-shaped public park running from Atlantic to Church Streets, on East and South Battery. The financial panic of 1837 encouraged the city to sell the lands on the eastern side, predicting that they "will produce a beautiful row of ornamental buildings along the whole line of East Bay Battery." The income generated from the sale of these lots was used to finance the development of the southern section of the park, extending it westward to Meeting and later to King Street. With the development of the park and the high retaining wall, the Battery became a social gathering place in Charleston. In April 1838 Robert William Roper purchased two lots along the Battery from the city for $8,200. For $1,439 he also acquired a triangular section of the lot which bounded his to the north and which Isaac Holmes had recently bought from the city. Roper's house on East Battery was grand in scale and execution, with possible design by Charles F. Reichardt. With narrow end facing the street, the colossal Ionic columns of the piazza stretch down the length of the lot. At the time of its construction, however, nothing stood between Roper's house and the harbor beyond. The house follows a side hall, double-parlor plan but boasts a large west wing added by late 19th century owners. Original interior detailing includes classical imagery likely inspired by widely available pattern books. Roper died of malaria in 1845. Post-Civil War purchasers, the Sieglings of the music emporium at 243 King Street, lived here for a half century, selling to New Yorker Solomon Guggenheim in 1929. The current owner completed one of America's most notable restorations of a Greek Revival house in the early 1980s.

File contains FOHG house histories (1992, 2004); FOHG garden history (2004); narrative histories from Vernacular Architecture of Charleston and the Lowcountry and Architectural Guide to Charleston; National Register Nomination Form; copy (reduced) of HABS drawings; draft of FOH house history (undated); letter from Lawrence Walker to homeowner regarding concerns about masonry work being done (1899); article from The Magazine Antiques (5/1990).
Subjects Historic buildings--South Carolina--Charleston
Search Terms Eighteenth-Century Expansion
East Battery
National Register of Historic Places
Physical Description 1 File Folder
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Object ID # EBATTERY.009.1