Charleston is called ‘The Holy City’ because of the large number of churches in town, every denomination you can think of, and then some.
Because they are old each church typically has their own grave yard for members of the congregation. Today few have any open plots and a walk through them is a history lesson of the original colonies, US founders, and Civil War secessionists.
The headstone above caught my eye in one of the oldest grave yards in town. To shoot the photograph I had to lean through an old wrought iron fence pushing my lens through. Ten steps to the left was an open gate, but at the time…
I wanted to shoot these stones because they are great examples of New England stone carvings. The imagery, shapes, and style all are a type not available in the south.
Until the 1800’s grave stones were imported from the north. The rock quarries were there and the craftsmen too.
At some point the craftsmen recognized the wealth of the Charleston planters and either moved here or open trade offices. Even famous designers like Tiffany Co. serviced the homes and business in town.
Rain, wind, and cooling temperatures has slowed construction down around here. There are multiple nests, some look complete but Great Blues are not master builders so it’s hard to tell. Single birds are sitting around which could mean eggs. No food delivery from a mate though.
This pair is one of the few still active. The nest, hard to believe, looks finished.
However above is confusing. The bird on the left is giving out a mating call. If so, just who is that standing there?
The ignored Heron on the right didn’t seem concerned. He just preened and shook his feathers back in order.
Maybe he’s comfortable in his mating ability, or just a room mate. The dynamics here are hard to follow.
A different look at an old southern grand house. The Russel House built in 1809.
When we visit, and shoot these old homes there are many restrictions. No external lighting, tripods, or even where we can walk/stand. That said bring a few memory cards, different lens, and you can build a complete library of photographs.
Andrew F. Browning, a memorial not grave site since he died in Cuba just days after General Lee surrendered at Appomattox.
He was assigned to Charleston security, but not there when it fell to Sherman. A year later he was a passenger on a ‘blockade’ runner headed for Cuba. Where he passed away soon after arriving.
The question is why was he there at all? He did have a political run in with a superior officer (who had killed another officer in a duel). But that was finished before his trip. Before the war he was a successful merchant.
No records have been found for his leaving the army and war. It could have been any number of reasons, still a mystery.
He was well thought of, enough so that this expensive monument and family grave sites was built in Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston.
Like many of the older Charleston homes the Nathaniel Russel House sits behind a high wall, hedges, and other buildings. Getting a full frontal image is usually not possible.
Once inside the gate here you can finally get a good view.
This is a tall building, and unique since it was built in 1809.
One of the important things about Charleston architecture is the small details. Plantations, and unfortunately the slave trade made people extremely wealthy. Each of the old homes in this town were as much art work as houses. World famous artisans worked here, the residents spent fortunes. Until the US Civil War, that changed everything.
These houses have almost all had heavy renovations, canon balls make big holes.
Only a fraction of the original homes remain now. After the war this town was empty and destroyed. Only the big buildings at the end of the peninsula were untouched, they were out of range of the ships guns.
Charleston was spared a complete burn, even though it had been ordered. Being the scene of the first state to secede and the first battle of the Civil War it was not a popular place with the Union military. The battles turned inland and rather than destroy the town it was occupied.