A PRESERVATION SUCCESS STORY
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.