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“Don't Waste your time or money” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Heyward-Washington House

Heyward-Washington House
87 Church St, Charleston, SC 29401 (Charlestowne)
843 722 2996
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Ranked #24 of 96 Attractions in Charleston
Type: Historic Sites, Museums
Activities: Group tours/walking tour
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Attraction details
Owner description: Historic mansion open to the public.
Duncan, OK
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Don't Waste your time or money”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2009

We visited here after visiting a couple of other houses, and it was the worst of all. The guide was rude and not very informative, and the claim to fame seems to be "Washington stayed here." Compared to other historic houses in Charleston it is not much.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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108 reviews from our community

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English first
Asheville
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
239 helpful votes 239 helpful votes
“Heyward-Washington Makes Our Must-See List”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2009

Reading some of the past negative reviews of this house, we almost skipped this one since we could only fit four out of the five into our two day travel plan. Since I had seen the remaining alternative house on a previous visit, we decided to see this one. This is a decision we did not regret. Arriving late in the day we were warmly welcomed and told that we had about seven minutes to explore the outbuildings before the last tour began at 4:30 pm.

If for no other reason than to enjoy this oldest of neighborhoods within the original walls of historic Charleston, this house is must see. It is included in the Charleston Heritage Passport. The streets are more narrow here. Tiny little alleys like Longitude Lane and Zigzag Alley beckon you to explore further down this often overlooked corridor of lower Church Street. The air is permeated with the scent of jasmine and tea olive. Nothing seems to be on a right angle. The gardens and trees seem to envelope this old neighborhood, having had well over two centuries to mature. Yes, one of these tiny alleys “Catfish Row” aka “Cabbage Row” served as the inspiration for Porgy and Bess and is right next door to the Heyward Washington House. You wouldn’t have to George Gershwin to be inspired by this often overlooked neighborhood.

Being owned by Thomas Heyward Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and being the rental property chosen to house President George Washington on his first tour of the south, the provenance of the house is undisputable. It truly is Charleston’s Revolutionary war era house. With massive moldings and beautiful woodwork, this house is not lacking beautiful detail. This federal style double house does not have soaring circular staircases or frilly French moldings, but taken as a whole it does a better job than any other at presenting what life was about in this early period of Charleston’s history. Charleston Museum's slightly more intrusive philosophy of both restoring and preserving historic houses as well as using them as a showcase for their phenomenal collection of period furniture, works perfectly in this setting. Little things lend an air of authenticity, like the actual correspondence between George Washington and John Rutledge while planning his visit, or the slanting stairway landing that resulted from Charleston’s great earthquake. Even the Aiken Rhett House does not feature a beautiful period garden in the back yard, and the outbuildings are in a much more restored and preserved state on this property.

The house is splendidly furnished. Most of the furniture collection is composed of period pieces provided by the Charleston Museum dating from 1802 or earlier. The collection itself, shown in it's proper context, is reason enough to visit.

We found our young host to be soft spoken, kind, and genuinely informative and our tour did not seem rushed even though we were the last one of the day. Kudos to the staff for an excellent tour. We could only hope that this is the new norm for this first house in Charleston to be open for regular public tours in 1930.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“great house - terrible staff”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2008

What a pity that this is run by people who give the impression that you are inconveniencing them by turning up.

When I arrived (4.20pm - closes at 5pm) they took my money and then asked me to start in the kitchens and gardens. Exiting via the backdoor they locked it behind me and I had to knock to get back in! When I complained about this they then took me on the tour of the house with barely concealed irritation.

I would still recommend visiting but manage your expectations - Southern hospitality may be non-existant.

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Fort Wayne, Indiana
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“one time trip”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2008

Heyward - Washington House was a good place to see how people lived back then. This house isn't as magnificant as the other house muesums but still very nice. In the back of the house you can see the kitchen and wash room which are not connected to the house. Its only one of two house muesums that still have the original kitchens. It also has a very beautifull garden. All of the house muesums are nice and worth seeing once. I wouldn't go again.

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Columbus, OH
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
111 helpful votes 111 helpful votes
“Good Look Into Daily Life in Earlier Times”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2007

I took as many house tours as I could squeeze in while I was in Charleston, and this was the most helpful in terms of learning about what daily life was like for the original inhabitants. The tour guide explained a lot about how the living quarters were set up and the functionality behind that. The set up was quite different than what I had expected. It was fascinating. That's not the kind of thing they tell you about in history books. She also pointed out some things that the folks back then did to keep cool in the summer. Again, these are the little details that make history more interesting. I learned a lot, and she was more than happy to answer any questions I had. The tour was well worth the price of admission.

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