It is hard not to fall in love with the architecture of historic Charleston, from Rainbow Row to the homes of the Battery. I have had so many people ask about the odd shape of the homes which we call Charleston Singles.
These long narrow homes first greet you with a front porch door that, without seeing the side of the home, you would think you are walking into the home. However, you are walking onto a porch where you will find another door, the real entrance to the house. Why a porch door?
Known as hospitality doors, these portals were a way to communicate with friends and neighbors. Leaving the door open meant that the occupants were home and ready to receive guests and offer up some true lowcountry southern hospitality. I can envision a pitcher of sweet tea, sitting on a small porch table now!
In regards to the layout of the home, some longtime residents say the homes were situated that way to allow maximum outdoor living space, more cross ventilation and more homes could be fit on narrow lots. However, I was also told by a Charlestonian that taxes were based on road frontage back in the day. So, the narrower the home, the less taxes you had to pay.
Whichever is true (maybe both!), I am in love with our beautiful downtown and could walk for hours, up and down the streets and "breath" in the scenery. Maybe I will see you on a walk!