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Area Character Appraisals

In 2009 the City of Charleston completed Area Character Appraisals for the historic neighborhoods of Cannonborough/Elliottborough on the Charleston peninsula, and the Old Windermere and Byrnes Downs neighborhoods west of the Ashley River.

Robert and Company, of Atlanta, and Glenn Keyes Architects, of Charleston, were the consultants on the project, which was partly funded by a grant from the S.C. Department of Archives and History.

Charleston’s award-winning 2008 Preservation Plan recommends Area Character Appraisals (ACAs) be conducted on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis in order to define an existing area by “focusing on the unique character, architectural style, building forms, landscape resources, and cultural resources that make up the streetscapes and blocks.” 

Cannonborough/Elliottborough was chosen because of its collection of diverse architecture and cultural elements, and the concern over the effects of current and future development. Old Windermere and Byrnes Downs were selected because those neighborhoods are excellent examples of early 20th century development patterns and architectural building types, and are just now being considered historic. 

Two public workshops were held in February to allow for citizen input, and the draft findings were presented to the neighborhoods in June. Public input was received until mid-August, with the final documents completed at the end of August.

The completed ACAs describe context, the components that comprise and characterize a place; scale, mass, and rhythm of structures, as well as streetscape and landscape elements, and incorporate historic and current uses and cultural elements. Also included are recommendations for the community and city officials to consider in order to preserve and protect the valuable characteristics which define the neighborhoods.

The City hopes to perform more Area Character Appraisals on other neighborhoods in the future.

Byrnes Downs ACA
Cannonborough/Elliottborough ACA
Old Windermere ACA