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60 Montagu Street
Gaillard-Bennett House
Harleston Village

Planter and factor Theodore Gaillard, Jr. constructed this substantial Adam style, two-and-one-half story frame dwelling over English basement circa 1800. The residence was sited on high ground on three lots at the west end of Montagu Street overlooking marshes and creeks to the Ashley River. Throughout the early 19th century lots in Harleston Village were divided from larger tracts and dwellings were constructed with the western edge along the Ashley River remaining industrial. Harleston Village, by the late 19th century was densely developed with residences constructed in popular mid-19th century styles including Greek Revival, Italianate, and Second Empire with a lumber and rice mill at the Ashley River.

The double house was built on a T-shaped floor plan providing all principal rooms with a southern exposure to take advantage of river breezes for cross-ventilation. Adamesque architectural elements are evidenced by the proportions of height and mass; slate, hipped roof with gabled dormers; six-over-six light windows; modillioned cornice with dentils; and symmetrically balanced fenestration with central front entryway. The façade is dominated by a central gabled two-tiered portico with elliptical fanlight in the pediment, fluted columns, and turned balusters. The Adamesque entranceway includes door surround with guilloche pattern, elliptical fanlight in transom, and sidelights with tracery surrounding a paneled door.

Theodore Gaillard sold the property in 1815 to General Jacob Read (1752-1816), a Revolutionary War hero who served in the United States Senate from 1795 to 1801. Following Gen. Read’s death, the property was sold in 1819 to James Shoolbred (d. 1847), a Santee River rice planter and Charleston’s first English Consul General. Shoolbred, a native of London, moved to Charleston circa 1790. It is believed that Shoolbred added the Regency style portico, rusticated double entrance steps, and large quoins at the basement level. He acquired Woodville Plantation with his marriage in 1793 to Mary Middleton. The house at Woodville Plantation was also a two-story frame dwelling on a raised basement with its façade dominated by a two-tiered portico.

In 1851, Washington Jefferson Bennett (1808-1874) purchased the property from James Shoolbred’s daughter. Jefferson Bennett, a son of Governor Thomas Bennett, operated both rice and lumber mills on the peninsula. It is thought that Bennett added the cast iron porches on the east and west of the dwelling as well as the curving front wall with cast iron carriage gates. During Bennett’s ownership, General Robert E. Lee stayed as a guest here in April of 1870. The property stayed in the Bennett family until the mid 20th century.

The exterior preservation work program included restoration of the front stucco wall, gates, marble pavers, and ornamental ironwork. The exterior was also repainted. A two-story kitchen building, built prior to 1852, was restored by removing an inappropriate late 1950s addition and installing a clay tile roof to match the original kitchen house roof.

An important and significant part of the work program included the reconstruction of a dependency building, built prior to 1852, on its existing foundation. The one-story tack house features a slate tile, gabled roof with center gable, wood louvered doors, and decorative bargeboards at the gable ends and central gable. In addition to the tack house, the stucco wall and wood gate along the Gadsden Street elevation were reconstructed based on a historic photograph and drawings by Alice Ravenel Huger Smith published in The Dwelling Houses of Charleston from 1917.

This project was made possible with the assistance of historic photographs, drawings, genealogical research, and maps. The Bridgens and Allen Map (1852), Bird’s Eye View (1872), and Sanborn Fire Insurance maps aided in understanding development in the neighborhood and additions at 60 Montagu. Alice Ravenel Huger Smith’s drawings of the property published in The Dwelling Houses of Charleston (1917) aided the reconstruction of the tack house, walls, and rehabilitation of cast iron gates.

The work program was developed by Glenn Keyes Architects and completed by Richard Marks Restorations and Frank Leigh Painting Contractors. The property is owned by Mr. Steven and Dr. Mary Caroline Stewart.

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