The History of the Nathaniel Russell House

The Nathaniel Russell House is a necessary stop for all history lovers visiting Charleston. This beautifully restored national landmark is not only a marvelous sight to see, but it is as equally fascinating to learn about. Discover the history of the Nathaniel Russell House to unlock its interesting past.

View even more historic sites on a horse-drawn carriage tour with Classic Carriage Works. Our experienced guides have a vast knowledge of the area and enjoy sharing the story of Charleston, SC. Book today!

About the Owners

In 1765, wealthy merchant, slave trader, and Rhode Island native Nathaniel Russell settled in Charleston. A few years after his arrival, he met Sarah Hopton, who was part of one of the wealthiest families in the city. By 1788 they were married, and in turn, Russell, his wife, and their two daughters became some of the most prestigious members of the Charleston community.

The Construction of the Home

To showcase their prestige, Russell wanted to build a home that matched their significant status. Hence, the construction of the Nathaniel Russell House commenced in 1803. The home was completed in 1808, which is when the family and Russell’s 16 slaves moved in.

Notable Features

Explore the design elements and features that contribute to the grandeur of the home:

Architectural Elements

The Nathaniel Russell House is a large townhome built in the Federal style, which is traditionally characterized by flat, smooth façades and plain surfaces. It is a quite symmetrical structure comprised of gray brick, and its three floors give the exterior a tall, grand look.

An Exquisite Interior

While there are three primary rooms on each floor of the home—each constructed in different shapes—the centerpiece of the Nathaniel Russell House is the breathtaking spiral staircase. Light falls over this solid wooden piece through a thoughtfully placed Palladian window, which appears to give the walls a golden glow. But, perhaps the most frivolous room within the house is the second-floor drawing room. It features a bright apricot color and plaster moldings that are covered in 24 karat gold leaf.

Gorgeous Grounds

A wrought iron fence surrounds the property’s grounds, separating it from the street. As you walk along the gravel paths within, you’ll view well-kept shrubbery and a geometrically-shaped garden. In addition, the two-story slave quarters are located in the back of the property.

Take a Tour

These are just a few of the details that comprise this home. To learn more about the history of the Nathaniel Russell House, consider taking a self-guided tour of its interior. Or, take a tour with Classic Carriage Works to view countless other historic sites throughout downtown Charleston. You’ll get a chance to see so many more historic houses, gardens, streets, and landmarks when you join us for a horse-drawn carriage tour. Book a ride today for a comprehensive view of the gorgeous Holy City!

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