Historic Charleston Foundation plans to sell home for nearly $2M

Historic Charleston Foundation is selling the Rebecca Screven House, located at 35 Legare St., for a minimum of $1.825 million. (Photo by Chris McCandlish)
Historic Charleston Foundation is selling the Rebecca Screven House, located at 35 Legare St., for a minimum of $1.825 million. (Photo/Chris McCandlish)

By Ashley Barker
Published April 24, 2014

Historic Charleston Foundation recently purchased a 4,000-square-foot home in downtown Charleston for more than $1.7 million and plans to resell it for at least another $100,000.

The nonprofit organization used funds from its Frances Edmunds Revolving Fund to purchase 35 Legare St., commonly known as the Rebecca Screven House, from Walter Vaughan Davidson.

The property is going to be sold through a sealed bid process to a preservation-minded buyer with restrictive covenants attached to the deed, according to the foundation’s chief preservation officer, Winslow Hastie.

“While the Rebecca Screven House was protected with a preservation easement, the building is in need of maintenance and stabilization,” Hastie said. “Over several years, the foundation has worked with the former property owner to address maintenance challenges. It was determined that the foundation would purchase the property as the most effective and mutually beneficial way to uphold the easement and preserve this historically intact property.”

In the 1950s, Historic Charleston Foundation became the first organization in the country to establish a revolving fund to acquire and preserve historic buildings as a preservation strategy. To date, more than 85 historic properties in the Charleston area have been purchased and resold using the fund, according to Hastie. Other organizations have since used it as a model.

“We’ve done this many times. We’re confident that we’ll find a good, solid buyer,” Hastie said. “A lot of properties don’t come up for sale in this desirable section of downtown Charleston.”

The home was built by Screven on property inherited from her mother, Elizabeth Williams, according to Charleston County Public Library research. It was purchased in 1879 by Louis J. McCord, wife of Edward McCord who was the editor of Statutes at Large of South Carolina.

The property includes a three-story wood frame main house and an intact two-story brick dependency with a slate roof. Foundation officials said the house was likely built in the 1780s and was mentioned in Screven’s will in 1828.

The home, which includes a Loutrel Briggs-designed garden that dates to 1961, was renovated in the 1870s to add bay windows. The property has “extraordinary surviving historic fabric,” Hastie said.

The 35 Legare St. property is being sold in “as is” condition with restrictive covenants for a minimum of $1.825 million.

Bids, which must include a bank check for 5% of the bid amount, will be accepted at the Historic Charleston Foundation office, at 40 E. Bay St., from May 13 until 5 p.m. on May 27. A Historic Charleston Foundation committee will evaluate the proposals and may reject any or all bids.

The foundation will hold an open house for agents from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., Wednesday.

Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.

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