Ansonborough is a thriving area of historic peninsular Charleston and offers the chance to fall back in time to the early, developmental stages of prestigious Charles Town. The neighborhood’s streets boast homes built as early as the 1700’s, nestled beneath the shade of Palmetto’s, Oaks and Willows alike. And situated in the heart of Charleston’s active lower King district, every restaurant, show or shop in the city is just a walk or a bike ride away.
Ansonborough is considered Charles Town’s first suburb but it’s early beginnings did not come easy. It is rumored that young Capt. George Anson (for which George Street and Anson Street are currently named after) won the 64 acre tract of land in a single game of cards against Thomas Gadsden in 1724. For the next 20 years, Anson remained at sea – captaining one of his two ships, the Scarborough and the Squirrel – protecting the South Carolina and Georgia shorelines from pirates and looters. In 1745 he returned, and having netted over 300,000 English pounds in treasure, he laid his land out in streets and lots. The original Ansonborough was made up of the land between King, Calhoun and Anson Streets, along with a line that ran between Society and Wentworth Street.
In the great fire of 1838, almost all of the existing homes were destroyed. Just a few were spared as the fire swept through the southern portion of the original Ansonborough. Only a few of the late 18th and 19th century homes remain in the area now called Ansonborough. The rest of today’s existing homes were built of Charleston brick in the mid 1800’s. Many of these homes were built with loans from the original Bank of South Carolina, when the “Act for Rebuilding the City of Charleston” was passed in 1838, after the fire.
Throughout the next century, Ansonborough fell into slum conditions and it was not until 1960 when the Historic Charleston Foundation began an extensive rehabilitation of the area. Upon the completion of the restoration, it became known on a national level as an outstanding example of neighborhood revitalization. During the course of the plan, which was completely financed by the Foundation, more than 100 homes were acquired and completely restored. The program then inspired many families to purchase dilapidated homes and bring them back to life. Now, this borough of downtown Charleston has become one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city.
Located on the Cooper River side of the lower Charleston Peninsula, Ansonborough is convenient to the Market and King Street, offering a variety of fine dining establishments, such as FIG, Cru Café, and Anson’s Restaurant. That’s not to say Ansonborough is all hustle and bustle, its residential area features quaint streets, with architecturally stunning homes, such as the William Rhett house at 54 Hasell Street.
The prestigious College of Charleston and Medical University of the South surround this community and provide an energy unique to this area. The neighborhood is zoned for Charleston’s metro public school system and within just a few miles there are a number of independent elementary, middle and high schools. Notables include Ashley Hall, a k-12 college preparatory school for girls and Porter Gaud, a k-12 college preparatory school for both girls and boys.
Because Ansonborough is a public area of downtown Charleston, there is no HOA fee. There are cute deli’s, shops and full scale restaurants lining the streets of this vibrant neighborhood. The famous Ansonborough Inn is a perfect place for out-of-town friends and relatives to stay for an authentic Charleston vacation! The South Carolina Aquarium is just a short walk away as well.