City Directories and History: HAMMER-SAMS HOUSE
Constructed circa 1860-66
The Hammer-Sams House occupies a distinctive triangular lot at New and Broad Streets formerly called Savage’s Green. Here in 1792 Charlestonians constructed a new theater, designed by James Hoban, the Irish-born Charleston architect who later designed the White House. Although the theater was simple and barnlike on the exterior, a handsome Tuscan portico was added in the late-1820s shortly before it became a medical college, a short-lived rival to the present Medical University of South Carolina. The building was demolished before the construction of the present house, and with the filling of the adjacent parcels, a number of houses arose along New Street in the antebellum period.
According to real property records, in 1863 William C. Hammer purchased the lot on which 37 New Street now stands. The house may have been under contstruction just before or during the Civil War, a time when building of new houses was at a mini-mum. Donald D. Sams bought the property with a completed dwelling in 1868, and his family occupied it for almost a century. Sams owned Dataw Plantation near Beaufort prior to the war, and Union troops destroyed his house there in 1862. The Hammer-Sams House, with its corbeled brick gable end, Gothic hooded chimneys, brick belt course between floors, and double-tiered side piazza with a Greek Revival entry screen, exhibits features common to antebellum Charleston single houses.
The Buildings of Charleston – J.H. Poston for the Historic Charleston Foundation, 1997
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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