I have a tendency to get absolutely swept away in the windows of historic Charleston mansions — especially at night. Daniel and I have a new habit of taking long walks along East Bay Street after our nightly ice cream date at Jeni’s (it has become a habit all too frequent). Like the carriage lanterns that illuminate the cobblestone streets, my wanderlust flickers whenever I spot interiors that spark my imagination and take my curiosity to the days of Old Charleston. The amount of European and worldly treasures hiding in this town are endless, and I’m so to explore every inch of mysteries.
Calhoun Mansion is a gorgeous Gilded Age estate we pass by every walk. With a new priority to make historical research a part of weekly routine in Charleston, I was thrilled to finally take a tour circa 1876 gem. I adore Charleston for all its European influence and Calhoun is no different. A walk through the pristinely manicured gardens instantly transport me to memories of touring Versailles in Paris — most of the gardens in Charleston are inspired by English, French and Italian grounds.
Photographs weren’t allowed inside the mansion, but spoiler alert: I was taken aback by the superfluous amount of treasures in this house. From Russian crystal chandeliers, marble busts of Robert E. Lee to religious relics I’m sure even the Vatican itself would love to have back in its possession, the diversity of the treasures and their mysterious origins make it unlike any other collection I’d seen.
A sprawling 24,000 square feet, Calhoun Mansion is the largest private residence in Charleston. It was formerly owned by George W. Williams, a prominent businessman during the Gilded Age and at one time, one of the richest men in Charleston after the Civil War. The interior was a opulent sensory overload and completely wondrous to see so many world treasures resting in the heart of the South. Every inch of every corner came with a story, every detail of the Calhoun Mansion is wildly inspiring for anyone who walks through its doors.