Theses Master's

A Critical Assessment of the Preservation of Charleston Cottages in Charleston, South Carolina

Crowley, Jason

Charleston Cottages, often referred to as Freedman’s Cottages (due to the large numbers of newly freed African Americans who supposedly inhabited the cottages after the end of the Civil War) are a small uniquely-­‐Charleston vernacular building type. The typical size being less than 1,200 square feet, Charleston Cottages are one room wide and two or three rooms deep. The cottages are often considered functionally insufficient by modern American cultural standards. Due to their small size, location in economically depressed neighborhoods, and lack of proper documentation and protective preservation ordinances, Charleston Cottages are continuously being demolished due to neglect and redevelopment. Along with demolition, unsympathetic and improper renovations are removing significant architectural features and overwhelming the massing of the historic structures with out-­‐of-­‐scale additions. This thesis assesses the architectural and cultural significance of Charleston Cottages, providing an analysis and critique of current policies and preservation programs in Charleston that affect preservation of the threatened building type. The policies and programs advocating the preservation of shotgun cottages in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana are utilized as a comparative case study. The case study is used as tool to find examples of how the vernacular building type of similar scale and age has been documented and promoted as significant to the development of a city. Through investigating issues and providing recommendations, this thesis explores how the local stakeholders can establish a plan establishing better preservation of Charleston Cottages.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Dolkart, Andrew S.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 13, 2013