For a hundred years The Cottages faithfully stood watch down Jackson Street, inhabited almost exclusively by working-class families. As the 20th century began to wane, the area around the cottages saw widespread economic stagnation. This drove many citizens from The Charleston Peninsula and into suburban locations. The last full-time residents of The Cottages vacated just prior to the end of the millennium.

A quarter-century of vacancy and vagrancy followed – threatening the historic record of the Charlestonians that formerly dwelled there. However these buildings still remain. The structures now stand as a reminder of the carpenters, machinists, porters, mechanics, longshoremen, and painters that inhabited The Cottages, and the many structures like them, that used to be found throughout the city.

"So to every soul that lived, worked, died, laughed, cried, sang, toiled, loved, gave birth, was born, tried to stay warm, slept, and woke early for work in these homes: May the preservation of these houses last as a record of your stewardship."

The Freedman’s Cottages are an example of the most common worker housing built in the late 19th century in Charleston. The cottages were often built in a row and then rented to individuals and families. They are typically one-story buildings, one room wide and two to three rooms deep, with gabled roofs and side piazzas. It is believed that there were thousands of these worker cottages throughout Charleston; today, however, due to redevelopment pressures, the numbers are dwindling. These four Freedman’s Cottages are among the most intact examples remaining in the city. Their rehabilitation included extensive repairs to the roof, structure, siding, windows, and interior finishes.

*National Park Service Annual Report 2019

“An important vernacular building type in Charleston, the “single cottage” form is being lost throughout the city by demolition and inappropriate alterations that erode character-defining features.” – PSofC.



Abandoned for years, the remaining structures were stabilized by the City of Charleston in the mid 2000's. Deterioration continued until the Preservation Society of Charleston’s named the cottages to its list of Seven to Save LIST, an outreach program designed to bring awareness to vulnerable historic and cultural resources in the Charleston area. Drawing the attention of Charleston’s Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, a collaborative effort between Clemson University and the College of Charleston.


All salvageable historic materials were saved and put back into place or repurposed elsewhere in the cottages. Most of the historic siding was removed, saved and put back into the original location while non-historic plywood that covered portions of the cottages was replaced with siding that matches the historic material. The piazzas were treated much the same way.


A larger piazza was added to the rear of the house at 197 Jackson St. with new, wider decking that compliments the historic floor material. Interior trim profiles were replicated where missing, based on remaining existing sections, as well as architectural elements such as mantels.


Now completed, this award winning campus has become home to a variety of different service and professional commercial tenants. With a centrally located courtyard hosted by a full service restaurant, the Jackson Street Cottages offer a collaborative environment that grants each of its tenants the exposure and cross-marketing capabilities of a coworking space along with the security and privacy of a free-standing structure.