Historic Charleston Foundation logo

images banner
images banner small

Archive Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Object ID # CHURCH.087.1
Title 87 Church Street (Heyward-Washington House)
Object Type Property File
Scope & Content Outbuildings constructed ca. 1740; house constructed ca. 1771; altered late-19th century; restored 1929-30 and subsequent dates. This property was granted to Joseph Ellicott in 1694. A subsequent owner, a well-to-do gunsmith, built a 2-story brick single house here in about 1740. Rice planter Col. Daniel Heyward purchased the site in 1770, and his son, Thomas, began construction on the present house in 1771. Heyward razed the previous single house yet kept the former 2-story kitchen and 1-story stable dependencies that still exist in the rear courtyard. The Heyward dwelling stands as a well-developed example of a brick double house with a central hall and 2 rooms on each side. On the 2nd floor a large front drawing room and smaller withdrawing room extend across the front elevation, the former retaining its original paneled woodwork. On the exterior brick jack arches over the windows and the conjectural doorway provide the only decoration to a facade that supports a low hipped roof with a single front dormer. Thomas Heyward, using this as his Charleston townhouse, became a signer of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. After the fall of Charleston, the British imprisoned Heyward and his brother-in-law George Abbot Hall in St. Augustine. Tradition holds that their wives stayed on in the house. When the women refused a British order to illuminate their windows, a mob stormed the house, which led to a miscarriage by Mrs. Hall and her ensuing death. Residing more often on his plantations after the war, Heyward rented the house to the city for the lodging of President George Washington during his week-long stay in Charleston in 1791. Washington wrote of his visit in his diary, "The lodging provided for me in this place, was very good, being the furnished house of a gentleman at present in the country." Selling the house 3 years later, Heyward bought another townhouse down the street. By the late-19th century the residence became a bakery on the ground floor and the owner installed a storefront on the southern half of the front elevation while lowering the windows and installing a door on the three southernmost bays. The Charleston Museum purchased the property in 1929 with assistance from the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings, although this transaction was not completed until the 1950s with some help from the Society and from Historic Charleston Foundation. The architectural firm of Simons and Lapham carried forth a splendid investigation of the altered first floor, discovering the layout of the narrow front hall and finding lost mantels in the fowl house in the back. After restoration of the front door architrave and 1st floor rooms, the building opened as the first historic house museum in Charleston. Garden precedents from the 3rd quarter of the 18th century were followed in the creation of a parterre, planted only with flowers and shrubs known in the city in 1791.

Note: house also belonged to John Faucheraud Grimke and family from ca. 1794-1825. A Mr. Grimke purchased the house in 1794 (see Nat'l Register Nomination form) and in 1825, ten Grimke siblings (the children of John Faucheraud Grimke and Mary Smith Grimke) sold the house to Margaret Munro (Charleston County records, Direct Index, 1800-1888, Gad-Gyl, Part 2, pp. 463-65).


File contains FOHG house history (undated); other narrative histories including two produced by The Charleston Museum; newspaper articles (including DYKYC); historical/chain-of-title research notes; measured drawing (undated, unattributed)*; National Register Nomination Form; scale drawings of interior details (e.g., mantel, etc.) by Willie Graham, 1985; exterior assessment/maintenance inspection report (2008)*; kitchen/laundry building paint analysis (Susan Buck, 2000).

See also, Archaelogy at the Hewyard-Washington Stable: Charleston through the 18th Century, Charleston Museum Archaeological Contributions 39.

*See Media link for pdf.
Subjects Heyward Washington House (Charleston, S.C.)
Historic buildings--South Carolina--Charleston
Search Terms Church Street
Walled City
National Register of Historic Places
Physical Description 1 File Folder
Related Records Show Related Records...