Many pieces of the family’s 19th century personal belongings remain in the house
Edmondston – Alston House
This house probably has the best view in all of Charleston! When standing the out on the piazza, you’ll take in the amazing view of The Battery, which stretches along the lower shores of the Charleston peninsula, bordered by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. The rivers meet to form the Charleston Harbor. The Edmondston – Alston House was constructed in 1825 and enhanced in 1838.
From its piazza, General P. T. Beauregard watched the fierce bombardment of Ft. Sumter on April 12, 1861, signaling the start of the Civil War. And on December 11 of the same year, the house gave refuge to General Robert E. Lee the night a wide-spreading fire threatened his safety in a Charleston hotel.
The house was built in the late Federal style by Scottish shipping merchant Charles Edmondston at the height of his commercial success. In 1825, it was one of the first substantial houses to be built along the city’s sea wall away from the noisy wharves and warehouses further up the Peninsula. But a decade later, economic reversals during the Panic of 1837 forced Edmondston to sell his house. It was purchased by Charles Alston, a member of a well-established Low Country rice-planting dynasty who quickly set about updating the architecture of his house in the Greek Revival style. Among the features, Alston added were the third story piazza with Corinthian columns, a cast-iron balcony across the front, and a rooftop railing bearing the Alston coat of arms.
You’ll Want to Take a Look Inside
The collection at the Edmondston-Alston House Museum consists of pieces that belonged to the family, reflecting not only family history but American history. Despite the ravages of the Civil War, the Earthquake of 1886 and numerous hurricanes, the Alston family pieces remain in place much as they have for over 150 years. Notable in the collection is an original print of the Ordinance of Secession, portraits, dining room table, gas lights, mirror, and exquisite interior woodwork.
In the 1840s and 1850s, business visitors were received on the first floor while the family’s intellectual and social diversions took place in the drawing rooms on the floor above.
The house has remained in the Alston family since 1838. Many pieces of the family’s 19th-century furniture, books, and other personal belongings remain in the house – much as they have since the Alstons witnessed the dramatic events of the Civil War.
The striking Greek Revival interiors, fascinating collections of the family portraits, furniture and silver and maritime views from the piazza make the Edmondston-Alston House an unforgettable part of any Charleston adventure. The house museum is managed by the Middleton Place Foundation, a not-for-profit educational trust.
Take a Tour
The amazing view at this house is something you must experience. A 30 minute guided tour of the home’s public rooms and piazzas with a special focus on its Federal and Greek revival design and the vast collection of family silver, decorative arts, and furniture. Guided tours are offered:
- Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Sunday and Monday 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Hours are subject to change