Heyward-Washington House


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Attractions Details

📌 Address

87 Church St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA

Opening Hours

12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee


Find it on google maps

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Local tour guide
"Visit the Heyward-Washington House on a weekday if possible to avoid the weekend crowds, and be sure to ask the guide about the secret staircase – it's a fascinating piece of the home's history that many tourists miss."

What is Heyward-Washington House?

The Heyward-Washington House is an esteemed historic house museum nestled in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina. It's a fine example of Colonial and Georgian architecture that brings to life the rich history of the city. Owned by Thomas Heyward, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the house has welcomed an array of visitors over centuries, including President George Washington, who stayed here during his Southern Tour in 1791.

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As if frozen in time, the house showcases a collection of historic Charleston-made furniture, including the priceless Holmes Bookcase, regarded as the finest example of American-made colonial furniture. The buildings and the beautiful formal garden offer you a unique glimpse into the lives of the Charleston elite in the late 18th century, complete with a kitchen building, carriage house, and necessary.

History of Heyward-Washington House

The Heyward-Washington House was built in 1772 by rice planter Daniel Heyward for his son, Thomas Heyward, Jr., who would go on to be a prominent figure in America's battle for independence. After the Revolutionary War, the house became notable for hosting President Washington for a week—a monumental visit that led to the home eventually being named in his honor as well. It stands proudly today as a testament to Charleston's participation in American history.

In 1929, the Charleston Museum purchased the house, embarking on an extensive restoration process preserving its character and heritage. It opened to the public in 1930 as Charleston's first historic house museum, and since then, it has been a cornerstone for those aiming to understand and appreciate the city's past.

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The house's meticulous restoration and maintenance over the years have ensured each room accurately reflects the aesthetics of the period, complete with authentic decor and artifacts. It's not just a building; it's a curator of stories that echo the voices of its former inhabitants and guests

Why is Heyward-Washington House Important?

The significance of the Heyward-Washington House lies in its deep connection to American history and heritage. It's a physical representation of the cultural and social dynamics of Charleston during the Revolutionary era. The house's association with Thomas Heyward, Jr., a patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence, only heightens its historical value.

Furthermore, the Heyward-Washington House is important because it allows us to experience the layered narrative of Charleston in the 18th century, including both the grandeur and the complexities of the time. As an edifice that has remained largely unaltered since its construction, it stands as a primary source for historians and enthusiasts who wish to delve into the timeline of American history.

It's also an architectural treasure, remarkably preserved, allowing us to appreciate the craftsmanship and style of a bygone era. Moreover, the house's connection to President Washington adds a layer of national significance, marking Charleston as a key location in understanding the broader scope of the early United States.

Things to Do & See at Heyward-Washington House

  • Explore the historic rooms where Thomas Heyward, Jr., and his family lived, and where George Washington was entertained. The guided tours elaborate on the nuances of life in colonial Charleston.
  • Take in the fully restored formal garden, a fragrant little oasis that reflects the horticultural style of the period. The garden features plants that would have been used for cooking, medicine, and dyeing fabric in the 18th century.
  • Visit the original kitchen building behind the main house to discover how meals were prepared and learn about the lives of the enslaved people who worked there.
  • Examine the exquisite collection of Charleston-made furniture and artifacts, including items that belonged to the Heyward family, which add a personal touch to the history told within these walls.
  • Check for special events and programs throughout the year, often including lectures, historical reenactments, and educational activities that bring the past to life.
  • Admire the Holmes Bookcase on view—arguably one of the most valuable pieces of colonial furniture—in the museum's collection.

Walking through the Heyward-Washington House is akin to stepping back in time; every corner of the property is filled with detail and history, waiting for you to uncover. It's not just the beauty of the architecture or the age of the furniture that enthralls visitors—it's the feeling of connection to the stories and lives of those who shaped our nation's earliest days.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Heyward-Washington House?

The Heyward-Washington House is a historic house museum in Charleston that was the residence of Thomas Heyward, Jr., a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, and also served as George Washington's temporary residence during his Southern Tour in 1791.

Where is the Heyward-Washington House located?

The Heyward-Washington House is located in Charleston, South Carolina, at 87 Church Street.

What can visitors see at the Heyward-Washington House?

Visitors to the Heyward-Washington House can explore period rooms with antique furniture and decorative arts, the garden area, and learn about the history of the house and its significance in American history.

What is the significance of the Heyward-Washington House?

The significance of the Heyward-Washington House lies in its association with prominent historical figures such as Thomas Heyward, Jr., and George Washington, as well as its representation of colonial and Revolutionary-era Charleston.

How can visitors experience the Heyward-Washington House?

Visitors can experience the Heyward-Washington House through guided tours, which usually include insights into the architecture, the historical context, and the daily lives of its past residents.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

87 Church St, Charleston, SC 29403, USA

Opening Hours

12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee


Find it on google maps