Trip Planner : USA / South Carolina / Coastal South Carolina / Charleston / Sightseeing / The Calhoun Mansion
The Calhoun Mansion, Charleston
Categories: Architectural Buildings, Specialty Museums, Museums, Tourist Spots
Built for one man, George W. Williams, The Calhoun Mansion has over 30 rooms. The house was converted to a hotel in 1914 and renovated in the 1970s by a private owner. Today you'll see the house returned to its former glory. Purchase a ticket by entering the gift shop through the back door and heading up the stairs. Tours take place every hour and include a guide who shares the house's quirky stories. Put The Calhoun Mansion on your schedule, and learn what else deserves a visit by using our Charleston vacation generator.
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Gentleman gave a great tour describing each piece of artwork and history of the mansion. Beautiful flower garden and landscaping. Found interesting a few movies shots were taken there, such as the Not... read more »
Gorgeous mansion at $16 admission stocked with furnishings with a tour of the first and second floors, as the third is occupied by owner.
The mansion has a ton of history in it; from being built to being destroyed by the navy to being rebuilt by the current owner. It's a 3 story home where they filmed a few things in, including part of ... read more »
The actual structure is beautiful but don't be fooled - it's not worth $16 per person. The tour guide started the tour with a ten minute spiel about how this was the 'Oh my God house, where more is more is more is more'. He said this about ten times. And true to his word, it really was the 'Oh my God' house. The whole time I was thinking 'Oh my God, how did I get suckered into wasting my money on this?' The tour lasted about 45 minutes and all you get to do is stand in the first and second floor hallways. You don't get to go into any of the rooms. None of the furniture or decoration is original to the house. Literally every inch is covered with gaud (expensive gaud, to be sure. My favorite was the mounted baboon and zebra heads). The tour guide said it took 7 tractor trailer loads when the owner moved in, but if he were to move out today it would take 12 tractor trailer loads to move everything out. If you want to pay money to see one hoarders stuff or if hearing over and over again about how rich the 'international litigation attorney' owner is and how lavish his private parties are, then this is the house for you! If you enjoy historic homes, look elsewhere. Charleston is full of them, but this isn't one.
As someone who received a BA in History from NC State University, I found this place appalling. Does this guy have some cool things? sure. But to market this tour as a tour of a historic mansion is very misleading. Let's call a spade a spade...this place is just a rich hoarders attempt to get you to love his stuff as much as he apparently does. It's terrible. Perhaps if we didn't pay $16 per person, it wouldn't be so bad. The guide informs you of the hoarding only after you have paid. The structure of the house was beautiful, but most of that was hidden behind giant statues from various places and eras, exotic animal heads, and under tons of china/silver. Seriously, every inch of the wall and every table was covered with stuff. Plus you only get to see a few rooms. Mostly, I was extremely annoyed that some of this artifacts are historically important, but are not properly preserved...like an Asian tapestry from the 15th century that he just had hanging on the wall where the humidity could break down the fibers and anyone could touch the bottom corner. It was terrible and I don't recommend anyone wasting their time or money here.
The home and grounds are beautiful, definitely worth a look. However, if you're wanting a family/home history, you won't get much here. The majority of the tour is spent talking about all of the antiques the current owners have scattered all over the mansion. Though impressive, it feels lacking at 40 minutes and allowance to only the hallways of the first and second floors. If you want more of a history of the actual property and original owners, I would recommend the Nathaniel Russell home tour just down the road for $4 less per person.
This was worth it. I'd love to upload some photos, but the site is extremely sensitive to photography. Why come here? There are so many artifacts from all over the world, besides just the history of the house, that it is simply jaw dropping. The way we looked at it was like a tour in a museum. I listened to the wife beg me for a month for one of those gas converted chandeliers with some of their dark and creepy cool figures on them. One probably would cost as much as a year's salary. Amazing.
This historic Charleston mansion was built pre Civil War; it became, in the year's after the war, an eyesore, a Naval officers' quarters, a vacant building, and finally, through the efforts of a DC attorney, an exquisitely maintained private residence with literally millions of dollars' worth of Oriental, European, and American art and artifacts. The guide pointed out the first owner's seafaring influence in wood trim, wrought iron fencing, and flooring detail. The ceilings are 14-feet tall; Tiffany lighting designed by Tiffany himself with the first owners in mind occupy the living room, and the guide shares a detailed account of the motif's meaning. Simply awesome tour...
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