Heyward-Washington House, Charleston

Heyward-Washington House, Charleston (must see)

This early Charleston "dwelling house" is known by two names, thanks to the two notable Americans associated with it: one, the owner, and the other, a distinguished guest. Constructed in 1772 by Daniel Heyward, a prosperous rice planter and the father of Thomas Heyward Jr., a South Carolina signer of the Declaration of Independence (who resided in the house until 1794), the house has a rich history.

In 1791, President George Washington embarked on a grand tour of the fledgling nation, which included a stop in Charleston. In anticipation of the President's visit, the city arranged to rent Heyward's house for Washington's accommodations, temporarily displacing Heyward to his country house. In his diary, Washington recorded his visit to the property, stating: "The lodgings provided for me in this place were very good, being the furnished house of a gentleman at present residing in the country; but occupied by a person placed there on purpose to accommodate me."

Today, the house is beautifully furnished with a remarkable collection of period antiques, including exquisite 18th-century Charleston-made furniture. A highlight is the priceless 1770 Chippendale-style Holmes bookcase, hailed by BBC Antiques Roadshow experts as the "finest example of American-made furniture", still bearing the marks of a British mortar strike from the American Revolution days.

Notably, this is the only 18th-century house museum in the city that retains its original outbuildings, such as the carriage shed and the 1740s kitchen building. You'll also discover a quaint formal garden, showcasing plants commonly cultivated in the South Carolina Lowcountry during the late 18th century.

Why You Should Visit:
Knowledgeable guides will point you in all the right directions, allowing you to admire the amazing craftsmanship of furniture makers and the second-floor ballroom—a delightful surprise to many, offering a glimpse into the country's early days. Not to mention that standing in the very room where George Washington stayed is an unforgettable experience!

Tip:
Consider looking into the Charleston Heritage Passport, which grants access to 5 houses, 2 museums, and 2 plantations. You can acquire it at the Visitors Center on John Street.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Charleston. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Heyward-Washington House on Map

Sight Name: Heyward-Washington House
Sight Location: Charleston, USA (See walking tours in Charleston)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Charleston, South Carolina

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