There are many house museums in Charleston, but none are comparable to Edmondston-Alston House. It’s not just because of the ancient history that this magnificent house contains, but also its unique location. From its many windows, you can have a stunning view of the Charleston Harbor. As you walk down its corridors, step gingerly into the well-maintained rooms and peek out of its piazzas and balconies you’ll be following the steps of many great leaders and generals who had to make critical decisions within these walls. Decisions that changed the course of battles and turned the outcomes of wars into their favor.
History in the Making
Built in 1825 and later reinforced in 1838, this house witnessed important moments in the history of our nation. As the first shots that signaled the start of the Civil War were aimed at Fort Sumter, the man who was leading the charge, General P. T. Beauregard, a Confederate commander, stood at the plaza of Edmonston-Alston House. From there he had a commanding view of the whole battle as his canons bombarded the fort. Later in the same year (1861) General Robert E. Lee stayed at the house for the night. So you can say that the house has a long history with wars and generals.
Of course, with such a rich culture and being part of pivotal moments in the country’s history that took place under its roof, expect to see some souvenirs that are related to the people who passed through the house. Not just from the family that lived there, but the visitors as well. These mementos survived the ravages of war, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Most of the furniture has been kept safe along with family portraits, woodwork, gas lights, and a rare copy of the Ordinance of Secession.
The Edmonston-Alston House Grand Tour
Every day of the week, there’s a guided tour that takes you around all the places in the house where history was made. Not all the rooms in the house are open to the public which is why you should stick to the tour. The place is open around the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Other than that, you are welcome to take a tour any time between Tuesday and Saturday from 10 am to 4.30 pm. On Sundays and Mondays, the museum is open from 1 pm to 4.30 pm.