July 2017 eProgress

From all of us at the Preservation Society, we hope you and your families had a wonderful Independence Day. July marks the turn of our fiscal year and the start of the steady slide into dog days of summer. While outings and vacations are rightly on the minds of many, our focus remains on the issues impacting our city.

Keep Charleston REAL

Resilient. Engaged. Authentic. Livable.

Amid unprecedented growth and the fundamental changes it is bringing to Charleston, the Preservation Society has redoubled its efforts to concentrate on promoting transparency in decision-making, as well as educating and informing the community, empowering people to speak up.

The foundation of these efforts is our revamped website. It is now able to serve as the go-to source for the latest aggregated news on the growth-related, planning, preservation, and quality of life issues facing the city; it features an advocacy toolkit to assist community members with getting involved and weighing in; and it expands on efforts to Keep Charleston REAL, outlining advocacy goals of the Society and providing links to relevant articles and websites. We invite you to peruse these components and the website as a whole.

Map of active Airbnb entire room, single room, and private room rentals in Charleston as of July of 2017 – via Airdna.com, a service that provides data and analytics to vacation rental entrepreneurs and investors.

Short-Term Rentals

The Short-Term Rental Task Force met on July 11. At this meeting, Kristopher King, a member of the committee, began by expressing concern and asking for improved clarity of purpose, and he cautioned against the suddenly expedited time frame.

The group has existed for a year and only met four times, and it is now being pushed to develop its recommendations by the end of summer. The purpose of the task force is to evaluate current ordinances, gather public input, and collaborate with the City and its consultants to arrive at recommendations to take to Planning Commission and City Council. The Society shares the concern of numerous task force members that the group has not had the opportunity to successfully fulfill any of the objectives. To develop thoughtful and comprehensive recommendations in two meetings is unrealistic. Fortunately, the task force agreed with the Society’s concerns and has begun to address this by scheduling additional meetings.

The Society also feels that the residents and the neighborhoods have not been adequately heard from on this issue. The public listening sessions were packed with owners, operators, and those involved in the industry, but those who could or do live next door to these commercial operations have not had their voice heard, hence our Advocacy Alert from last week.

If you have not already, please take 5 minutes and share your opinion on this matter, and encourage your neighbors to do the same. It is imperative that the residents be heard on this before any recommendations are made.

Longtime King Street merchant Bob Ellis Shoes dates back to 1950. Courtesy of Warren L. Wise, Post and Courier

Hotels and Affordable Housing Updates

Last Tuesday, City Council considered changes to the hotel and affordable housing ordinances.

Council adopted all but one of the changes that Planning Commission recommended for the zoning test required of new hotels. Once the amendments become official, new hotels will have to ensure that they can handle their guest pick-up and drop-off with a safe, efficient valet system; that there is long term provision of on- or off-site parking for the maximum number of employees who might drive to work during peak operations; and that they incentivize employees’ use of public transportation. What did not pass was the provision requiring hotels outside the central accommodations zone to provide shuttle services to the Peninsula.

Regarding affordable housing, City Council considered the following recommendations from Planning Commission: maintain the required percentage of affordable housing units in a development utilizing either of the MU-WH zoning designations at 15%, but increase the required length of time those units would need to remain affordable from 10 years to 15 years. The commission deferred to City Council to resolve the amount of the fee developers could pay instead of building affordable units.

Council upped the percentage of units and the duration they would need to stay affordable, from 15% to 20%, and from 15 years to 25 years, respectively. The fee was settled on at 5% of development costs, a number which apartment and condo builders assert is so high as to potentially deter the use of the MU-WH zoning designation.

The Historic Tax Credit program helped the rehabilitation of the Cigar Factory become a reality.

Help Save the Historic Tax Credit

The Historic Tax Credit is a federal economic incentive program behind millions of dollars of annual community investment through the rehabilitation of historic buildings. In many cases, preservation simply would not be feasible without the credit. The Society has worked in support of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s advocacy on this initiative, and now you can join the cause.

For more detailed information on the HTC advocacy messages, tools, and activities of the National Trust and its partners, please visit the Preservation Leadership Forum blog, and if you are really interested in learning more, sign up for the historic tax credit advocacy webinar on July 20.

Preservation Month Matching Gift Challenge Success!

Thanks to you, our members and community, we not only met our $50,000 Matching Gift Challenge for Preservation Month, but you exceeded it by more than $24,000!

In all, donors like you made 213 gifts, totaling $74,530 towards the challenge. With two generous donors matching an additional $50,000, your grand total came to $124,530. Thank you for your generosity and your commitment to Keep Charleston REAL. We could not have done it without you!



Open daily from 10 am until 5 pm, the Preservation Society Shop is pleased to feature a wide variety of locally crafted goods imbued with the spirit of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

The Society is committed to reducing the overall tourism footprint of the Fall Tours and increasing the appeal to locals, all while continuing to generate financial support for our advocacy programs and initiatives. Our goal is to do more with less. We want to create a better heritage tourism experience and not just be another tour, and we think the new Fall Tour offerings do just that.

We have limited the number of our traditional large format tours, and have focused on smaller, curated experiences that dig deeper into our cultural and architectural history. Though offering more in-depth experiences have increased the price of some tours, we have enriched our docent and educational training to enhance the narrative and experience of these tours.

If you are interested in receiving the Fall Tour brochure, volunteering, or attending any of the volunteer enrichment series, please email Susan Epstein, Tours Manager, at sepstein@preservationsociety.org, or preserve@preservationsociety.org.


The Humane Principles of Good Buildings

By Christian Sottile

0 Intro-Purpose

“The Art of Architecture makes our existence not only visible, but meaningful.” –Francis Ching

Architecture is the subject of passionate debate in every city worth living in. Preservationists, review commissions, planning departments, elected officials, and engaged citizens participate in a spirited dialogue, as living cities re-populate and build again in the wake of the slow abandonment and suburban flight of the last century. Everyone wants to support good design, but it is elusive to find a clear explanation of what makes architecture “good.” Why do some buildings (often, but not always older ones) seem to impart a sense of well-being and promote human flourishing, while others make us feel ill-at-ease…or worse? Continue reading


2016 Carolopolis Award Recipients

  • 1 Wesson Avenue | The Kuhne-Drews House
    Carolopolis Award
    Owner: English Drews and Stephen Giebner
    Architect: Tim Maguire and Lauren Oller Sanchez
    Contractor: Marc Engelke, Engelke Homes

1 wesson before 1 wesson after

  • 9 Rutledge Avenue
    Carolopolis Award
    Owner: Adam and Jennifer Steen
    Architect: NA
    Contractor: Marc Engelke, Engelke Homes

9 rutledge before 9 rutledge after

  • 23 Legare Street | The Robert Trail Chisolm House
    Pro Merito Award
    Owner: Peter and Diane Horan
    Architect: Glenn Keyes Architects
    Contractor: Richard Marks Restorations

23 legare before 23 legare after

  • 26 Parkwood Avenue
    Carolopolis Award
    Owner: Jason Maxwell, CH2012 LLC
    Architect: Julia F. Martin Architects
    Contractor: Anthony Gentile

26 parkwood before 26 parkwood after

  • 47 East Bay Street | The Anne Boone House
    Carolopolis Award
    Owner: Nathan Berry and Ceara Donnelley
    Architect: Glenn Keyes Architects
    Contractor: Richard Marks Restorations

47 east bay before 47 east bay after

  • 83 Magnolia Avenue
    Carolopolis Award – Compatible New Construction
    Owner: Alexander E. Storch, MD, Barndog Ventures LLC
    Architect: Tyler A. Smyth Architects
    Contractor: Luxury Simplified

83 magnolia

  • 151 Sheppard Street
    Carolopolis Award
    Owner: Julie O’Connor
    Project Designer: Julie O’Connor, American Vernacular
    Contractor: John Frick, Level Building Projects

151 sheppard before 151 sheppard after

  • 258 King Street
    Carolopolis Award
    Owner: Jenel Management Corp.
    Architect: Bill Huey + Associates
    Contractor: Renew Urban

258 king before 258 king after

  • 464 Huger Street
    Carolopolis Award
    Owner: Andrew and Janye Wilkins
    Architects: Tim Maguire and Lindsey Stang
    Contractor: Marc Engelke, Engelke Homes

464 huger before 464 huger after

  • 649 Meeting Street | The Trolley Barn
    Carolopolis Award
    Owner: American College of the Building Arts
    Architect: WGM Design Inc. and Bill Huey + AssociatesContractor: Hitt Contracting Inc.

trolley barn before trolley barn after

  • 1096 Navy Way | The Eternal Father of the Sea Chapel
    Carolopolis Award – Interior
    Owner: City of North Charleston and the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority
    Architect: Glenn Keyes Architects
    Contractor: Richard Marks Restorations

eternal father of the sea chapel 2 eternal father of the sea chapel 1


  • 135 Meeting Street | The Gibbes Museum of Art
    Carolopolis Award – Interior
    Owner: Carolina Art Association and the City of Charleston
    Architect: Evans and Schmidt Architects
    Contr: NBM Construction Company

gibbes 1Capture 1


Thomas Mayhem Pinckney


December 8, 2016 marks the 64th anniversary of the death of Thomas Mayhem Pinckney, a relatively obscure yet integral, early figure in the preservation movement in Charleston. An African American craftsman, Pinckney’s life inspired the Preservation Society to name a special committee after him in 2012. The Thomas Mayhem Pinckney Alliance is dedicated to recognizing and preserving those sites and places in the Charleston area built by, occupied by, and utilized for activities significant to the African American experience.

Pinckney was born in 1877, son of cabinetmaker Nathaniel Pinckney. Educated in Charleston’s public schools and at Clark University Night School, he trained as a stair maker with Luther Alston, another local contractor, before beginning an apprenticeship with Snelson Contracting Co., builders of the Old City Jail and the Convent of Our Lady of Mercy on Legare St. Continue reading


Preservation Parlance: Preservation, Rehabilitation, Restoration, and Reconstruction

word cloud

When Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) 50 years ago, it affirmed historic preservation’s importance to the United States’ cultural, environmental, and economic well-being. The passing of the NHPA also formed an official framework for what had previously been a largely informal activity, taken up in grassroots efforts like those seen in Charleston in the 1920s and 1930s. The NHPA charged the Secretary of the Interior (SOI) with establishing professional standards for preserving historic properties and created the Section 106 process, among other programs.

Every profession has its jargon, and from the NHPA comes a complexity of terminology, which can, at times, make historic preservation and its processes inaccessible. With May being Preservation Month, let’s clarify some of the ambiguous aspects of preservation parlance. Continue reading


Irish in Charleston

saint michaels 1861

Saint Michael’s Church in 1861 (via loc.gov)

Article edited August 1, 2017 re: James Hoban and footnote number 12.

One reason Charleston’s history is so alluring is that it is multi-layered, complex, and flavored with the diversity of several ethnic, cultural, and religious groups. In the late-17th century, inhabitants of the nascent colony included Africans, West Indians, Sephardic Jews from Portugal and Spain, Scots, French Huguenots, Germans, Dutch, Irish, and of course English.[1] All of these groups have left their mark on the city in one way or another, but in the spirit of Saint Patrick’s Day, of particular focus here is the contribution of Irish and Irish-Americans to Charleston’s built environment. Continue reading


Black Craftsmen and the Built Environment

AA craftsmen

Image from the 2008 City of Charleston Preservation Plan

The Thomas Mayhem Pinckney Alliance is dedicated to recognizing and promoting significant sites and places in Charleston related to African American history. As Black History Month comes to a close, it is an apt time to highlight the considerable influence African and African American labor has had on the city, specifically its built environment. While the preservation movement’s policies and outcomes contributed to the current state of the Peninsula’s celebrated urban fabric, the skilled hands of predominantly black artisans were integral to the original creation of that fabric, the preservation movement itself, and the resultant building stock. Continue reading