Oct 06 2014

Charleston: Historic Nathaniel Russell House


Getting ready to tour the Nathaniel Russell House which is located near downtown Charleston.   Nathaniel Russell moved to Charleston when he was in his 20’s and began his career as a shipping merchant.  His exportation of items such as rice, cotton, tobacco, and indigo would go from Charleston to West Africa, New England, Asia, West Indies, England, Europe, South America and more.  Around the time of the American Revolution he was also known to transport African slaves as well.

Nathaniel Russell married a Sarah Hopton who was the daughter of a wealthy merchant who was established before the American Revolution.  They had two children, Alicia and Sarah.  Later the house would owned by other people such as Governor Allston and once it was used as a school for the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy for over 30 years.  When the Historic Charleston Foundation received the house they went to work restoring both it’s interior and architectural structure back to what it was like when Nathaniel Russell owned it.

The Nathaniel Russell house contained beautiful rooms.  There were many layers of paint, wallpaper, and more on the interior that had to be carefully striped away and be restored.  Some of the fireplaces we saw in the house had as many as thirty layers of paint and the details were barely noticeable until they started carefully striping away all layers.  Fascinating!  The house has a huge beautiful spiral staircase that goes up three floors.  Although, the house was very large especially for that time the stairs actually take up about half of the house.  Every section of the house was built in a different shape from a square, oval, circle, etc….  It was a gorgeous house meant for showing off wealth, not necessarily for the most effective use of space.  They had beautiful gold and decorative wallpaper, mirrors, and more.  The house had a pretty ballroom with a high ceiling and mirrors.  It would have been amazing traveling back in time to see this house during it’s original glory.  Most of the furniture pieces are not original, but are from that period of time.  I am thankful for an opportunity to see a glimpse of this neat house.


Front of the Nathaniel Russell house.  The picture was taken from the front sidewalk.


Part of the Nathaniel Russell gardens.


They do not allow pictures inside the house so here is a glimpse of the staircase, but it really doesn’t do it justice.  Pretty amazing to see in person.


The side of the house near the gardens.  This side you can see the circular shape, the second story with the balcony contains the beautiful mirrored ballroom.


If you look closely you can see the “NR” initials for Nathaniel Russell in the iron balcony.


Another house the girls and I toured in Charleston was the Nataniel Russell House.

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