83 Broad Street
“This southwest corner of the original Civic Square, today the “four corners,” has successively contained a mid-eighteenth-century guardhouse and treasury building, a mid-nineteenth-century colonnaded city guardhouse, a building for the Charleston Club, and, since the earthquake of 1886, the present building. The current federal courthouse and post office was designed by the Irish-born architect John Henry Devereux, a former plasterer who became a noted architect in the city in the late-1860s.
Built in the Renaissance Revival style, the federal courthouse is constructed of Winnsboro, South Carolina, granite. Its rich interior exemplifies the opulence inherent in the construction of public buildings in this period. The post office on the ground floor is embellished with carved woodwork, marble staircase, and wrought-iron and brass railings. The federal district court still sits in the paneled Victorian courtroom on the second floor. In the early-1980s the General Services Administration commissioned an architectural firm to design a southern addition. Completed in 1987, the addition was dedicated as the Hollings Judicial Annex in honor of the U.S. senator from Charleston. The park contains an early- twentieth-century cast-iron fountain and bronze statue of James F. Byrnes, a Charlestonian who was an advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a United States Supreme Court justice.”
Information from: The Buildings of Charleston – J.H. Poston for the Historic Charleston Foundation, 1997
By virtue of its location on the “Four Corners of the Law” the United States Post Office and Courthouse in Charleston is an important structure. A 1792 courthouse represents county government, while the City Hall, begun in 1800, symbolizes city government. St. Michael’s Church, built between 1752 and 1761, depicts ecclesiastical law. Completing the foursome is the 1896 Post Office, representing the federal government. Although nearly a century separates them, the Renaissance Revival structure is compatible with the three earlier buildings, and is an appropriate expression of the late nineteenth century. The architect for the building was Will A. Freret, who served as Supervising Architect of the Treasury in 1887 and 1888. Built of Winnsboro granite, the Post Office borrows elements from various Renaissance Revival styles. Dark and light stone heightens the contrast between the rusticated basement and first floors and quoining, and the smoother wall surfaces of the two upper stories. The main façade is broken into five advancing and receding planes. A pedimented central block denotes the main entrance. Listed in the National Register August 13, 1974. (Courtesy of the SC Dept. of Archives and History)
View the complete text of the nomination form for this National Register property.
Other sources of interest: Charleston Tax Payers of Charleston, SC in 1860-61 and the Dwelling Houses of Charleston by Alice R.H. Smith – 1917 The HCF may also have additional data at: Past Perfect and further research can be uncovered at: Charleston 1861 Census Schedule or The Charleston City Guide of 1872
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