Understanding history is vital to fully appreciating something. Every place has its own history, the work comes in discovering that history and understanding it. In this case, we refer to the history of 85 Nunan Street. We have done our due diligence and provided the following information.
These photos are of the Sanborn Maps for the westside neighborhood and Nunan Street. Sanborn Maps were used in the old days as a way to document development, mainly for fire insurance purposes. Luckily for us, the city of Charleston saves these maps for historical reference. The dates associated to each photo does not necessarily pertain to the exact year development took place. The date is simply associated to what the area, and specifically 85 Nunan, looked like at the time the map was published. These maps were hand-drawn, property by property, because they naturally didn’t have the technology we do now, which makes this even more interesting.
The maps we include here show that as of 1902, there wasn’t much development in the area. Between 1902 and 1929 though, some significant growth took place. Nunan didn’t even extend all the way to President Street, like we see now. The actual road appears to have stopped at Ashley Avenue and might have turned into more of a dirt road or path from there. According to a list of improvements in Mayor Stoney’s 1929 Annual Review, the city completed paving the road that year, thus extending Nunan all the way to President Street. No doubt this had an effect on development.
As you can see with 85 Nunan Street, there used to be two independent structures. The larger, two-story structure at the back of the property was lost in a fire sometime around 1990. We plan to re-build on that spot. Not only do we feel like that makes the most sense for the space but we are also trying to pay homage to the history of 85 Nunan.
The current structure that has always existed at 85 Nunan is a Freedman’s Cottage. These style homes became relevant following the Civil War when they were typically built for newly-released slaves, hence the name. Charleston, and especially this area of town, has a number of these style homes. It is definitely a unique trait to the neighborhood worth noting.