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"Haunting" loveliness of lower Legare Street

Namesake detail of Sword Gates House.
Namesake detail of Sword Gates House.

Legare (pronounced "legree") St. south of Tradd is an elegant, shady, quiet area characterized by large live oaks, exceptional ironwork, and several wonderful tales of Charleston folklore.

Splendid ironwork at the Pineapple Gates, number 14 Legare.
Photo by the author.

A young man's ghost supposedly haunts 31 Legare. He is referred to as the Pensive Ghost, as he appears in a contemplative position, much like Rodin's statue of The Thinker.  Across the street at number 22 is the famous Sword Gates house, once a girl's school, where a 14 year-old girl hiked up her hoop skirt, hopped over a then-small fence, and eloped with a Yankee boy named George (quite a scandal in the antebellum South). Further down, at number 14, the Pineapple Gates house was the setting for a dramatic duel, where two cousins fired at each other from third story bedrooms across the street.

Even without the added interest of these fanciful stories, lower Legare is an oasis of quiet beauty to explore, and get away from the madding crowds. If you enjoyed this area, you won't want to miss nearby lower King St.. The Miles Brewton house and "O'Donnell's Folly" are two exceptional houses in that area with fascinating history and folklore.

Charleston maps are available at the Visitor Center, 375 Meeting St.