Past PSC Advocacy Wins: The Lining House

Exterior, Before Restoration
Exterior, After Restoration

The Preservation Society of Charleston had a major hand in saving and restoring one of Charleston’s most significant colonial structures, the John Lining House at 106 Broad Street. Built before 1715, the two-and-one-half story house holds claim to distinction as the oldest frame structure in Charleston. [1]

The cypress structural members, beaded siding, front door architrave, and dormers reflect rather advanced building methods and architecture for its time. The house will forever be associated with John Lining, an apothecary and meteorologist, who was the first person to conduct systematic weather observations in America and corresponded with Benjamin Franklin on scientific matters.[2] However, little evidence suggests Dr. Lining lived at 106 Broad Street, which was owned by his wife’s family in the mid-18th century.  Between 1783 and 1793, the building housed the Gazette of the State of South Carolina, and in the 1780s, served as the apothecary of Dr. Andrew Turnbull.[3]

By the mid-twentieth century, the building had fallen into disrepair and was slated to be razed to create additional parking spaces for businesses near the corner of King and Broad Streets. In March of 1961, over 200 members of the Preservation Society of Charleston came together and voted unanimously to purchase and restore the John Lining House to save it from demolition. [4] The Society then moved swiftly to launch a campaign to raise the necessary funds, hosting an initial open house to allow the public to inspect the building and learn about plans for its restoration. Nearly 300 concerned citizens attended the event, and within days, more than fifty individual contributors to the Lining House fund were listed in the Charleston News & Courier.[5]

The Society took the approach of restoring the building by removing later additions and alterations, including the non-original storefront, and reconstructing elements to their historic appearance.[6] By the early 1970s, the Lining House was sold as a single-family residence with a covenant, held by the Preservation Society, to protect the building’s exterior in perpetuity, and today serves as offices for a local law firm. Due to the grassroots efforts of the Preservation Society, the John Lining House was successfully preserved and continues to serve as important tangible record of Charleston’s early history.  

Interior, during restoration 
Interior, after restoration 

[1] Poston, Jonathan, The Buildings of Charleston (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1997), 203.

[2] Stockton, Robert, “Preservationists Sell House for $55,000,” News and Courier , October, 19, 2972.

[3] Poston, Buildings, 203.

[4] Viele, Charles, “Preservation Society to Buy and Restore Lining House,” News and Courier, March 3, 1961.

[5] “300 persons Brave Rain As Lining House Opens,” News and Courier, March 19, 1961.

[6] Stockton, “Preservationists Sell House for $55,000,” 1972.