Charleston has myriad historically significant and architecturally stunning buildings, such as the Faber House. It is a local icon on the city’s East Side with a long and complicated history. Its stately facade makes an instant impact on any viewer. It is emblematic of the Palladian style common in Charleston, exhibiting striking symmetry with classical stylings like columns and pillars.
As mentioned, the Faber House has a complicated history. Henry F. Faber, a Georgetown rice planter, designed the home to be a residence in Charleston away from his rice plantation. Construction on the residence began in 1832. Faber’s Georgetown rice plantation relied on labor from enslaved persons, and Faber was at one time the largest slaveholder in America. Faber died while the home was being built, and his brother eventually purchased and finished the existing structure. Upon completion, the home and its outbuildings took up half of the city block.
The Faber House, its two outbuildings, and the surrounding homes were constructed on a hill overlooking the Cooper River, where Charleston’s first railroad was built. When the Civil War erupted in 1861, the location made the area a high-priority target and the home’s then-residents abandoned the property when Union soldiers arrived. After the war ended, the Union Army converted the property into several small residences to be used by recently freed slaves.
By the early 20th century, the East Side neighborhood in which the home was located had developed into a thriving residential neighborhood. In the early 1900s, the Faber House was converted into the Hamitic Hotel, which was one of Charleston’s few African American-owned hotels and one of the few hotels to welcome African American guests. The hotel operated until the Great Depression, closing its doors in 1932.
By the 1960s, the abandoned home had fallen into disrepair. The City of Charleston was in the process of building affordable housing on the lots immediately adjacent to the property, and planned to demolish the vacant structure. Recognizing the historical significance of the property, it was bought by the Historic Charleston Foundation and partially restored. It has since survived fires and vandalism, standing as a testament to the tenacity of Charleston.
Today, the home houses a series of offices. Since 2016, our firm’s Charleston office has been housed in the home’s former carriage house.