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The Beginning of the Legacy
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20 South Battery Logo

Start at the Beginning

Our Story

20 South Battery Logo

Situated directly across from White Point Gardens in the Historic District of Charleston, South Carolina, 20 South Battery dates back to the 1800s and is truly a treasure in the community.

Our history begins on June 7, 1843....

When the property where our hotel in Charleston now sits was purchased by Samuel N. Stevens for $4,500. Originally built as a private residence, the main home and carriage house reflected the prosperity that was prevalent in South Carolina during this era. The large “single” home was one room deep with a hall behind the rooms on each floor and the length faced the sea instead of the street, as was custom to allow for more light and air..

With the American Civil War beginning a few years prior, the house was battered during the 1863 Siege of Charleston.....

At that time the longest bombardment of a civilian population in the history of warfare. We are fortunate, as a result, that the structure even survived such an assault. But survive it did, and when Colonel Lathers of the Union Army purchased the property in 1870 he hired John Henry Devereaux, a well-known Charleston architect, to renovate the house in the New York fashion of the time.

With this renewal, 20 South Battery received a fresh breath of life....

A mansard roof was added, which housed a library. A new ballroom was also constructed—not for dancing but instead to become a conference room in which US senators, the governor of New York, and other NYC elites would meet with locals. 

One needn’t try too hard to imagine the kinds of significant conversations that occurred beneath the ornate chandeliers....

And after the Simonds family purchased and lived in the house until 1912, perhaps the most notable occupants of 20 South Battery came to fruition there. The Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings (now the Preservation Society of Charleston, and the oldest preservation society in the country) was formed in that very same Ballroom in 1920.

It wasn’t until later in the 1920’s that the once-private residence became a more recognizable place of hospitality....

Beginning with the conversion of the rear outbuilding into a “motorcourt”. Signs on major roads entering Charleston advertised its newly rentable rooms, and the hotel’s main body of patronage soon became made up of rowdy and carousing sailors of the United States Navy.

20 South Battery Window

Quiet dignity would return however, in the latter half of the twentieth century...

With rooms converted to small apartments in the 1960’s and rented to college students, by the ‘80s 20 South Battery was restored to a Charleston Historic District hotel when purchased by famous Charlestonian, Drayton Hastie, and his wife. Using the main house as a private residence, the Hasties opened the aptly-named “Battery Carriage House Inn” with rooms available to guests in the carriage house.

From there life passed slowly and sweetly at the inn, as Southern years tend to do, until Hurricane Hugo struck on September 21, 1989...

The category 4 storm produced the highest storm tides ever recorded on the East Coast, causing catastrophic damage to homes along the water, but when the storm abated 20 South Battery remained standing—if a little worse for wear. It is fortunate, in light of the damage, that Dr. Jack Schaeffer, who purchased the inn in 2018, has such a passion for restoring and maintaining historical integrity.

20 South Battery's past is truly a remarkable one, and if the walls could speak they would have a captivating story to tell....

Since Dr. Schaeffer assumed ownership, the property has undergone extensive preservation efforts in a labor of love with the intent of revitalizing this Charleston gem to all its former grandeur. On January 15th, 2021, 20 South Battery was granted with the 67th Carolopolis Award by the Preservation Society in recognition for pristine efforts to preservation and integrity of Chareleston history. Since 1953, the Preservation Society of Charleston (PSC) has celebrated the very best of preservation in Charleston and the Lowcountry through the Carolopolis Award program. After nearly 70 years and more than 1,400 awards given, the Carolopolis Award has become as much a part of the fabric of the city as the buildings and structures it honors.

Be a part of our commitment to historic integrity and add your own chapter to the 20 South Battery story. We can’t wait to welcome you.