Even if you’re not familiar with Charleston, SC there are a few tourist spots you’ve likely heard about and today I’m going to share one of my FAVORITES..Rainbow Row!
Rainbow Row is a “must see” when visiting Charleston! One of my many draws to Charleston has always been the beautiful architecture and this “row” of beautiful pastel colored houses are some of my favorite homes to stroll past (and photograph).
Rainbow Row is a series of 13 brightly colored houses located on East Bay street; just down from the Battery (I’ll share another blog post on the Battery soon.) This is one of Charleston’s most iconic sites and you can visit it on any given day and see couples and families getting their photos taken, horse and carriage tours slowly passing by and tourists trying to get a good photograph of the beautiful homes.
This row of beautiful Georgian houses; like many of the historic homes and buildings in Charleston, also have a story to tell…
The homes that make up Rainbow Row have not always been brightly colored. These homes were originally constructed around 1740 by merchants who ran their businesses on the ground floor and then used the upper floors as their residence.
After the Civil War, this area was run-down and considered a slum. But, in 1931 Dorothy Porcher Legge and her husband Judge Lionel Legge purchased the section of houses on East Bay Street. Dorothy was the one who decided to paint the homes on this row a pretty shade of pastel pink, in the hopes that it would help make the area look nicer. As time went on, other homeowners on the street began to paint their homes various pastel colors as well.
Was this a trend based only on making the street look pretty? Many speculate that the homes were painted these distinct colors so that drunk sailors might find their way home easier. Others believe that the different colors were the merchants’ way of indicating what types of items they sold. One other logical theory is that the homes were painted lighter colors to keep them cooler during the hot Charleston summers. (Moving here at the end of July…I can confirm that it is HOT and HUMID here in Charleston in the Summer).
Regardless of the reasons behind the beautiful colors of these homes, Rainbow Row, is a “must see” part of Charleston history on your next visit!
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