The Charleston Freedman’s Cottage: An Architectural Tradition
Charleston's "freedman's cottages" are some of the most understudied and undervalued vernacular buildings in the city, found as far south as Council Street and as far north as North Charleston. Though these cottages have long been associated with African American history and culture, they in fact extend much further into the history and development of Charleston and deserve to be studied and understood. The predominant theory is that these tiny houses, often no larger than five hundred square feet, were constructed by and for freed slaves after the Civil War, due to a rising need for inexpensive housing. Who occupied these houses over time? What were their lives like? Most of them were ordinary citizens to whom we can all relate. Each one of these houses has at least a hundred stories to tell, many of which have been uncovered and recounted here. Join local preservationist Lissa D'Aquisto Felzer as she elevates the freedman's cottages to their rightful place in the history of Charleston architecture.