Drayton Hall » Charleston's "Freedman's Cottage": An Architectural Tradition
Arcadia Publishing

Charleston's "Freedman's Cottage": An Architectural Tradition


Charleston's "freedman's cottages" are some of the most understudied and undervalued vernacular buildings in the city, found as far south as Council Street and as far north as North Charleston. Though these cottages have long been associated with African American history and culture, they in fact extend much further into the history and development of Charleston and deserve to be studied and understood. The predominant theory is that these tiny houses, often no larger than five hundred square feet, were constructed by and for freed slaves after the Civil War, due to a rising need for inexpensive housing. Who occupied these houses over time? What were their lives like? Most of them were ordinary citizens to whom we can all relate. Each one of these houses has at least a hundred stories to tell, many of which have been uncovered and recounted here. Join local preservationist Lissa D'Aquisto Felzer as she elevates the freedman's cottages to their rightful place in the history of Charleston architecture.


Lissa Felzer has a MS in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania (2000). She was the Senior Preservation Planner for the City of Charleston for five years and has worked for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She was an adjunct professor in the College of Charleston's undergraduate program in Historic Preservation and Community Planning for six years. Currently, she is a private consultant in historic preservation and handles various types of projects throughout South Carolina.
  • Paperback
  • 160 pages

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