Rainbow Row, Charleston

4.1
Rainbow Row is the name for a series of thirteen colorful historic houses in Charleston, South Carolina. It represents the longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the United States. The houses are located north of Tradd St. and south of Elliott St. on East Bay Street, that is, 79 to 107 East Bay Street. The name Rainbow Row was coined after the pastel colors they were painted as they were restored in the 1930s and 1940s. It is a popular tourist attraction and is one of the most photographed parts of Charleston.HistoryRainbow Row originally fronted directly on the riverfront of the Cooper River, but that land was subsequently filled in. Merchants constructed commercial buildings with stores on the first (ground) floor and living quarters above. Most of the buildings had no interior access between the first and second floors; exterior stairs were located in the yards behind the houses. In 1778, a fire destroyed much of the neighborhood, and only 95 to 101 East Bay Street were spared.After the Civil War, this area of Charleston devolved into near slum conditions. In the 1920s, Susan Pringle Frost, the founder of the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings, now the Preservation Society of Charleston, bought six of the buildings, but she lacked the money to restore them immediately. In 1931, Dorothy Haskell Porcher Legge purchased a section of these, house numbering 99 through 101 East Bay, and began to renovate them. She chose to paint these houses pink based on a colonial Caribbean color scheme. Other owners and future owners followed suit, creating the "rainbow" of pastel colors present today. The coloring of the houses helped keep the houses cool inside as well as give the area its name. By 1945, most of the houses had been restored.
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Rainbow Row Reviews
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TripAdvisor
  • Very nice area in Charleston. One of the areas to stop and take a few photos of the colorful homes that line the streets.  more »
  • Nice row of houses, not always cars and certainly not as rustic as on the cards. By those parked cars you can't really nice pictures. Funny, but no ' must see '
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  • Rainbow Row is a unique site to see in Charleston. Yes, it's just a row of old homes painted various shades of pastels, but the history behind the restoration of these homes and the effort the homeown...  more »
Google
  • You'll probably want to stop by if you're already downtown like we were, but it is not worth seeking out specifically. In fact, I wasn't even sure we were in the right place as it is indistinguishable from the rest of the City. The colors are much more faded than those you see online. Broad Street had housing, architecture and historical characteristics that were far more appealing and beautiful. We walked by St. Micheal Church and Washington Square Park, City Hall and the Post Office, all of which were gorgeous and much quieter. The Waterfront park near Rainbow Row is pretty and has a row of live oaks and some nice water features, but we went during February and I'm sure during the peak season this place would be extremely busy with people. In short, worth a quick walk by, but not much more than that.
  • Charleston is a beautiful place to visit. I went to Rainbow Row and took a couple of pictures. You can see beautiful sending to do it. The architecture is completely mine blowing. If you want to visit I recommend to visit during day time to capture a good light exposure so you can have good picture. And if you want to see beautiful color sunset is beautiful for does how love creativity.
  • There are so many amazing houses to look at in Charleston. Rainbow Row is just one small section of old houses. Make sure to stop and enjoy the signs in houses to read the history.
  • We went on a weekday and parked in an outdoor parking lot that was open to visitors. It was very convenient. It was a short walk to the park and the elevated walk near the bay.
  • Beautiful. What more can I say!? It is one of those tourist attractions you are done with in 5 minutes, though. Unless you're into architecture or photography. Then it may take you a bit longer to make your way down the street.
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