City Directories and History: (Lafayette Building) The John Mark Verdier House has been a Beaufort landmark since the 1790s, when it was built by John Mark Verdier. Son of a French Huguenot emigrant, Verdier was a wealthy planter and merchant whose house typified Beaufort’s gracious architectural style and was a focal point of the town, providing entertainment for Lafayette during his
Southern visit and, in the 1860s, headquarters for Union troops. The heirs of the builder owned the house until 1940 when it was bought by a committee for the Preservation of the Lafayette building through public subscriptions. The house is a two-story frame building on an elevated stuccoed tabby basement. The roof is hipped. On the front façade is a double-tiered portico. The interior, which follows a modified Adam style, has the traditional center hall with drawing room on the right, dining room on the left, and two additional rooms behind. In the hall, an archway frames the staircase. On the landing is a handsome Palladian window. From the landing a divided stairway leads to the second floor where there is a large ballroom with a retiring room. Beaufort’s first telephone was installed in the ballroom. Exceptionally fine, hand-carved mantels feature allegorical figures, ribbons, fruit, flowers, and sheaves of wheat. Listed in the National Register August 19, 1971. [Courtesy of the SC Dept. of Archives and History]
“John Mark Verdier (1764-1827), a merchant and factor, built this Adam style house ca. 1790. The house is a two-story frame building on a raised tabby foundation. Symmetrically balanced, the house is five bays wide with John Mark Verdier House, ca. 1864 a double portico supported by round columns. The roof is hipped interior chimneys. Windows are nine over nine (9/9) lights with exterior The delicate carving and garlands which surround the entrance show the influence. A cable molding runs up the four exterior corners to a denticulated cornice. A finely proportioned Palladian window highlights the north the house.
John Mark Verdier was a descendant of an early Purrysburg settler. served as a trustee of Beaufort College and on the vestry of St. Helena Church. In 1825 the Marquis de Lafayette spoke to the citizens of Beaufort portico of John Mark Verdier’s house, then occupied by his son, Verdier, Jr. During the Civil War, the Union forces in Beaufort used the headquarters. Following the war the house was used as a fish market, house, law offices and the telephone office. In 1942 it was condemned.
A committee was formed and the house was saved. In 1968 the Beaufort Foundation acquired the house. In 1976 restoration was completed the house was opened to the public as a house museum.”
Information from: Historic Resources of the Lowcountry, The Lowcountry Council of Government, Cynthia C. Jenkins, Preservation Planner – Published, 1979
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