The Edmondston-Alston House was built in 1825, and was one of the first houses to be built on Charleston's famous High Battery that overlooks the harbour. It's one of the city's finest dwellings of the time, and is a prime example of the architecture, taste and style of the 1800's.
The house was built by successful Charleston merchant Charles Edmondston of Scotland. It's the oldest house on the Battery offering fantastic views of the harbour, and was the perfect spot for Charles to keep an eye on the ships carrying his cargo. It was lavishly decorated, but unfortunately had to be sold due to the economic "Panic of 1837''. It was bought and improved by Charles Alston, a well-established member of a rice-planting dynasty. He added various Greek twists to the property, including a third floor piazza, a second floor iron balcony, and a parapet to the front where he proudly displayed his family coat of arms. It was then lived in by 8 generations of the Alston family over the next 150 years.
Today, the house is still in the Alston family and is open to the public under the care of the Middleton Place Foundation. Visitors can still appreciate the magnificent furniture, art, books and silverware that were bought for the house over a century and a half ago. The Alston family collected much of the items on trips abroad, and luckily a lot of them remain today, many in the rooms they were purchased for. The house offers a fine example of the architecture of the time, and is furnished beautifully. It gives visitors a fantastic insight into the life of both Charles Edmondston and the Alston family.
If you really want to see and appreciate what life was like in the 1800's and beyond, a trip to the Edmondston-Alston House is for you. Take a trip to the library where you can not only see old historical books, but a revolutionary pistol as well.
If you can, head down over the Christmas season where you can enjoy a re-enactment of an 1861 Christmas Eve in Charleston, and if you fancy a longer stay the carriage house has been renovated into a bed and breakfast. The piazza overlooks the harbour, and visitors can imagine the time when residents looked out onto the attack on Fort Sumter.
The 3-storey house has survived a century and a half of history and has been beautifully preserved. Nestled among the other various mansions of the High Battery, it's definitely worth a visit. Combination tickets for both the Edmondston-Alston House and Middleton Place are available from either location.
Guided tours of the house operate on a daily basis, from 10am to 4:30pm Tuesday to Saturday and from 1:30pm to 4:30pm Sunday and Monday. Tours are the perfect way to truly understand and appreciate the history and experiences of the time, so are well worth waiting for. The house is full of antiques and artefacts, and knowledgeable guides really paint a picture of what life was like at the time.