Rahul Sharma (Editor)

William Enston Home

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Built  1884
Opened  1884
Phone  +1 843-720-5347
NRHP Reference #  96000493
Area  5 ha
Added to NRHP  25 April 1996
William Enston Home
Location  900 King St., Charleston, South Carolina
Architect  Howe, W.B.W.; Hering, Rudolph, et al.
Architectural style  Bungalow/Craftsman, Queen Anne, Romanesque
Address  900 King St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA
Similar  Central Baptist Church, Heyward‑Washington House, Joseph Manigault House, Powder Magazine, Old Slave Mart

The William Enston Home, located at 900 King St., Charleston, South Carolina, is a complex of many buildings all constructed in Romanesque Revival architecture, a rare style in Charleston. Twenty-four cottages were constructed in 1887 along with a memorial chapel at the center with a campanile style tower, and it was reserved for white residents. An infirmary was added in 1931 and later converted into a superintendent's home.

In 2006, construction was undertaken on a series of additional cottages which were meant to complete the plan for the community. These cottages, located at the southern edge of the property, are reminiscent of the original design but lack the architectural detail of the originals. Today the complex is owned by the Housing Authority of Charleston and the restored cottages are home to persons of low to moderate income.


William Enston was a prosperous furniture maker, merchant, and steamship magnate who left his fortune for the creation of a home for the white elderly. He was born on May 5, 1808, in Canterbury, England, and immigrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his father in 1825. In 1832, he moved to Charleston, South Carolina and later married Hannah Shuttleworth of Colsterworth, England. He began a small store on King Street. (later building the large structure still standing at 187-191 King St.) He eventually amassed a fortune through real estate and commercial shipping. He died on March 23, 1860, leaving a fortune valued at $1 million, but the Civil War reduced its value to half that amount.

Site work began in 1884, but construction of the housing units did not begin for a few more years. The City of Charleston received the proceeds of the estate in 1886 following the death of Enston's widow. In 1887, twenty-seven years after the death of Enston, W.B.W. Howe, Jr. designed the complex of two-story brick cottages according to Enston's instructions. The Home was to be modeled on similar British institutions, specifically one Enston was familiar with in his native Canterbury. Enston specified that the complex be composed of neat and convenient two-story brick cottages with at least eight acres of land. He also stipulated that potential residents be the old and sick, from 45 to 75 years old, of "good honest character," and not suffering from "lunacy." Original streets in the development reflect people and places from Enston's life including Shutterworth (his wife's maiden name), Canterbury (his hometown), and Coltersworth (his wife's hometown).

In 1991, the Charleston Housing Authority contracted to buy the property from the Enston Foundation for $625,000. The deal was cancelled in December 1991, however, when the Housing Authority realized the extent of repair work needed (estimated at $1.7 million). The authority had 13 new units built in 2006, designed in a contemporary style by Judy Stephens.


William Enston Home Wikipedia

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