22 July 2013

And the gates shall remain closed

6 Thomas St., Charleston, S.C.
I used to live on Vanderhorst St. and had always been aware that Robert Barnwell Rhett the Father of Secession lived in my house. He is listed as the occupant of 42 Vanderhorst in the 1851 census directory. Googling his name came up with his name attached to the much more impressive home on the corner of Vanderhorst and 6 Thomas St. He must have come down in life to have moved from this mansion to my old home.

I've always loved the beautiful home but was unfamiliar with the story behind the massive iron gates I have walked past hundreds of times. Here is an old Post & Courier story about the house.
The house has an enduring bit of Charleston lore associated with it. Along Vanderhorst St. (bordering the property to the south) are large and very decorative iron gates. The set of gates to the west is said to have been the spot where a woman bid farewell to her fiance, telling him as he left that she would not reopen the gates until he returned. The man was killed in the Civil War, and no subsequent occupant of the house has reopened the gates to this day; they remain locked shut.
 
 

3 comments:

  1. Wow - not only are YOU famous, but your old house is, too!

    What a beautiful house and what a sad story about the locked gate.

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    Replies
    1. This isn't my house. Mine was down the street a couple of blocks. He lived in them both - apparently first in this mansion and later in mine which is much more modest.

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  2. A sad story indeed, but fully in keeping with Charleston. It is a city full of surprises, both happy and sad, but never boring.

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