South Carolina

Nathaniel Russell House – Charleston, South Carolina

South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Charleston County Photos  |  Nathaniel Russell House

Edit This Page  |  Leave A Comment

Built in 1808, the Nathaniel Russell House in historic Charleston is considered a premier example of Adam architecture. The home was built for Rhode Island merchant Nathaniel Russell, who came to Charleston in 1765 to take advantage of the city’s thriving seaport. Russell found great success as a shipping merchant, exporting Carolina Gold rice, indigo, cotton, and other goods grown prolifically in South Carolina. Russell also accrued wealth dealing in the international slave trade.

Nathaniel Russell Home

John Diskes of Summerville, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Russell married for the first time at age 50. He and his wife, Sarah Hopton, subsequently had two daughters. By the early nineteenth century, Russell was ready to construct a home that would display his success, though local lore claims that he had the home built in order to attract suitors for his daughters. The home remained in the Russell family for nearly 50 years before it became the home of Governor R.F.W. Allston and his wife, Adele Petigru.

Nathaniel Russell House Stairway

Nick Livingston of Charleston, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Following the death of Allston in 1864, his estate sold the home in 1870 to the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, who converted the home into a boarding school. The school operated until 1905. The home then again became a private residence until 1955. During that year, the Historic Charleston Foundation was formed to purchase and preserve the home. Since then, it has been maintained by the Historic Charleston Foundation as a house museum and is open to the public.

Nathaniel Russell House

Kellsboro (Flickr) of Chicago, IL, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

At one time, the formal gardens were bounded by a tall fence that separated them from a workyard where enslaved people lived and labored. Here, slaves had space to grow vegetables and raise livestock. The brick building shown here was a dependency where an estimated 18 people lived – in the upper quarters alone. The lower quarters served as a kitchen and a laundry.

Kellsboro (Flickr) of Chicago, IL, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Notable features of the house include the famed elliptical free-flying staircase, which rises three stories (seen above), and the exterior ironwork, featuring the monogram of the home’s original owner, Nathaniel Russell.

The Nathaniel Russel House is a National Historic Landmark and is listed in the National Register:

The Nathaniel Russell House is an excellent example of the Adam style of architecture. Russell’s house was built when local carpenters had a decade of experience with the light and airy manner made popular by Robert Adam. His house has been called an exercise in ellipses, for from its free-flying stair to the wrought iron balconies, to the principal windows and doors, we find the expression of movement, combining in a contrast of forms. It was the last great house of the city’s post-revolutionary period. Built in 1809, the house is in the form of a rectangle, conforming partially to the outline of a single house, but with a strongly projecting four-sided bay which rises the full three stories of the central block of the house. Its face is dressed with marble window lintels, relief brickcourses, lovely bright red cutting brick arches above the windows of the second story, and topped with a paneled balustrade running fully about the central block and the south bay. The house is constructed of brick and has a hipped roof. The interior detail has all the delicacy and intricate ambition of the American version of the Adam manner. Slender double-encased pilasters in door and window architraves, Chippendale fret, anthemions, the iris, urns and swags, combine and enhance each other in both plaster and wood to give the rooms a most extraordinary refinement.

More Pictures of the Nathaniel Russell House

Nathaniel Russell House

Library of Congress, 1940, Prints & Photographs Division, HABS SC,10-CHAR,2-

Nathaniel Russell House Info

Address: 51 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401
GPS Coordinates: 32.773952,-79.930998

Nathaniel Russell House Map

Nathaniel Russell House – Add Info and More Photos

The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Nathaniel Russell House, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!


The South Carolina Picture Project is a volunteer project which earns no profit. We work hard to ensure its accuracy, but if you see a mistake, please know that it is not intentional and that we are more than happy to update our information if it is incorrect. That said, our goal is to create something positive for our state, so please make your comments constructive if you would like them to be published. Thank you!

Nathaniel Russell House - Related Entries

The Governor Thomas Bennett House

Daniel Cannon House

Roper House in Charleston
Roper House

William Aiken House Upstairs Porches

Wentworth Mansion

Pirate House Church Street
Pirate House

Charleston Harbor Container Ship

St. John's Lutheran Gates

German Fire Company Chalmers Street


Join Us on Facebook
Our 5 Goals
Our Contributors
Add Info
Add Pictures
Search for Pictures
Missing Landmarks


Abbeville ACE Basin Aiken Allendale Anderson Awendaw Bamberg Banks Barns & Farms Barnwell Batesburg-Leesville Beaches Beaufort Beech Island Belton Bennettsville Bishopville Blackville Bluffton Bridges Bygone Landmarks Camden Carnegie Libraries Cemeteries Charleston Charleston Navy Base Cheraw Chester Churches Clemson Clinton Clio Colleges Columbia Conway Cordesville Courthouses Darlington Denmark Dillon Donalds Easley Edgefield Edisto Elloree Fairfax Florence Folly Beach Forests and Nature Preserves Gaffney Garden City Beach Georgetown Glenn Springs Graniteville Greeleyville Greenville Greenwood Greer Hamburg Hampton Hartsville Hemingway Hilton Head Historical Photos Historic Houses Honea Path Hopkins Hunting Island Isle of Palms Jails James Island Johns Island Johnsonville Johnston Kiawah Island Kingstree Lake City Lake Marion Lakes Lancaster Landrum Latta Laurens Lexington Libraries Lighthouses Little River Manning Marion McClellanville McCormick Military Mills Moncks Corner Mountains Mount Carmel Mount Pleasant Mullins Murrells Inlet Myrtle Beach National Register Newberry Ninety Six North Augusta North Charleston North Myrtle Beach Orangeburg Pacolet Parks Pawleys Island Pendleton Pickens Piers Pinopolis Plantations Port Royal Post Offices Ravenel Restaurants Ridge Spring Ridgeway Rivers Roadside Oddities Robert Mills Rock Hill Rockville Rosenwald Schools Salters Saluda Savannah River Site SC Artists SC Heroes of the Alamo Schools Seneca Shrimp Boats Society Hill Spartanburg Sports Springs St. George St. Helena Island St. Matthews Stores Sullivan's Island Summerton Summerville Sumter Sunset Synagogues Town Clocks Trains & Depots Trees Trenton Turbeville Ulmer Union Wadmalaw Island Walhalla Walterboro Waterfalls Water Towers West Columbia Westminster Winnsboro Yemassee York

© 2018, LLC All rights reserved.