Admiral’s House – North Charleston, South Carolina

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This oil rendering of what is commonly called the Admiral’s House on the former Navy Base in North Charleston depicts the Neo-Classical manse built in 1905 for the Commandant of the Charleston Navy Yard. Formally called Quarters A, the house boasts features that are indicative of its residents’ high ranks.

Admiral's House Painting

Darlene Usry-Byrd of North Charleston, 2013 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The area designated as the Officers’ Quarters District was previously part of Chicora Park, a public park designed in 1896 by landscape architects the Olmsted brothers. The home sits on a spacious lot upon a hill, as do the homes of other high-ranking officers, looking onto the quarters of lower-ranking officers built on smaller tracts in the lower lands of the district. A flagpole erected at Quarters A in 1943 distinguishes the home as the Commandant’s as did an anchor from World War I that marks the driveway, though these features are not seen in this rendering. The flagpole remains in the front yard of the property, while the anchor has been moved.

Admiral's House Navy Yard

Brandon Coffey of Charleston © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Though the 7,391-square-foot house is Neo-Classical in style, it also bears some influences common during the Victorian era, such as asymmetry. Servants’ quarters – called stewards’ quarters – exist within the home as well as in separate outbuildings on the grounds. Also near the grounds of Quarters A is a rectangular, windowless building of English bond known as the “Dead House,” possibly dating from the mid-to-late eighteenth century. Some believe the dead were stored here prior to burial, though others think the small brick building may have been a powder magazine.

Admiral's House North Charleston

Brandon Coffey of Charleston © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Changes and additions were made to the home in the 1930s and 1940s; screens were added to the verandas in 1944 and an entire screened-in porch was added to the rear service wing in 1945. The first floor received central air conditioning in 1944. The screens were removed in 1996.

When the Navy base closed in 1996, this home and other buildings on the former base became vacant, many eventually falling into disrepair. Quarters A, along with much of the former Navy Yard, was purchased by The Noisette Company – a development group – after the closing of the base. The company foreclosed, however, and the former Noisette development properties were purchased by the state with the intention of adding a new intermodal railway for transporting containers. However, the City of North Charleston strongly opposed the new railway, citing the loss of property value and quality of life in the area where the railway was planned. After negotiations, a settlement was reached in 2012 between the city and the state. Though a new railway will be developed on the old Navy Base, the Admiral’s House – along with several other historic properties – is now under the ownership of the city, which has plans to preserve and reuse the home for event space.

The Admiral’s House is among the Preservation Society of Charleston‘s Seven to Save, which the society defines as “an annual outreach program of the Preservation Society of Charleston designed to focus the work of the organization in a proactive and constructive way, delivering intellectual and financial resources to raise awareness and support for key preservation projects in Charleston and the region.”

Also of interest, the home was featured in the film, The Notebook, as was its neighboring structure, the Eternal Father of the Sea chapel.

The Admiral’s House is listed in the National Register as part of the Charleston Navy Yard Officers’ Quarters Historic District, which says the following:

The Charleston Navy Yard Officers’ Quarters Historic District is nationally significant as a collection of historic resources representing the establishment, growth, and development of the upper echelon of senior military housing, support structures, sports facilities and recreational landscape features within a park setting at the Charleston Navy Yard (later the Charleston Naval Shipyard, and finally Naval Base Charleston) from 1901 through 1945. While some of the developments in housing were typical of those constructed at other navy yards elsewhere, the Charleston Navy Yard Officers’ Quarters Historic District stands out as a singularly unique prototype for elite residential planned communities.

This district is composed of forty buildings, structures, sites, and objects. Twenty-eight properties contribute to the historic and architectural character of the district, and twelve properties are noncontributing resources. Quarters and structures contributing to the significance of the district fall into three time periods and associated forms of architectural styles: 1) Base Acquisition and Construction through World War I, with late Victorian and early twentieth century eclectic designs such as the Italianate, Neo-Classical, Italian Renaissance Revival and Colonial Revival styles; 2) Inter-War and 1930s Expansion, with additional twentieth century eclectic designs such as the Colonial Revival style, several service buildings and New Deal Federal projects such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA), with designs such as the Panama House style, and 3) World War II Expansion, with additional WPA designs, the Panama House Style, and twentieth century residential designs such as the Colonial Revival and Neo-Colonial styles.

Admiral’s House Info

Address: 100 Navy Way, North Charleston, SC 29405

Admiral’s House Map

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