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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charleston in Charleston County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

U.S. Post Office and Courthouse

 
 
U.S. Post Office and Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, February 12, 2010
1. U.S. Post Office and Courthouse Marker
Inscription.
Entered on the National Register of
Historic Places
August 13, 1974

U.S. Post Office and Courthouse
Charleston, South Carolina


John H. Devereux
Architect 1896

This property significantly contributes to the nation's cultural heritage
Commemorated June 1976

Gerald R. Ford
President of the United States
Jack Eckerd
Administrator of General Services

 
Erected 1976 by U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Postal Mail and Philately marker series.
 
Location. 32° 46.581′ N, 79° 55.884′ W. Marker is in Charleston, South Carolina, in Charleston County. Marker is at the intersection of Broad Street and Meeting Street, on the right when traveling east on Broad Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 83 Broad Street, Charleston SC 29401, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. County of Charleston Historic Courthouse (a few steps from this marker); Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also
U.S. Post Office and Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 20, 2011
2. U.S. Post Office and Courthouse Marker
named County of Charleston Historic Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); This Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Blake Tenements (within shouting distance of this marker); Gedney Main Howe, Jr (within shouting distance of this marker); St Michael's Episcopal Church (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named County of Charleston Historic Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); St. Michael's Church (within shouting distance of this marker); City Hall (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Charleston.
 
Also see . . .
1. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Site has additional photos. By virtue of its location on the “Four Corners of the Law” the United States Post Office and Courthouse in Charleston is an important structure. (Submitted on February 13, 2010, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.) 

2. United States Post Office and Courthouse. The
U.S. Post Office and Courthouse image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, February 12, 2010
3. U.S. Post Office and Courthouse
U.S. Post Office and Courthouse is a historic post office and courthouse located at Charleston in Charleston County, South Carolina. (Submitted on December 12, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. John Devereux. Born in Wexford in 1840, John Henry Devereux came to the U.S. in 1860 and after some years as a craftsman, established himself as a designer of residential and institutional buildings in Charleston. (Submitted on December 12, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Four Corners of Law
The U.S. Post office and Courthouse sits at the intersection of Broad Street and Meeting Street in Charleston. It is one of four structures at this intersection commonly referred to as the "Four Corners of Law". St. Michael's Episcopal Church, built between 1752 and 1761, represents God's law. The Charleston County Courthouse, built in 1792, represents county law. The Charleston City Hall, built in 1802, represents city law. The U.S. Post Office and Court House, built in 1896, represents federal law.
    — Submitted February 13, 2010, by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.

2. U.S. Post Office and Courthouse - National Register
U.S. Post Office and Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 20, 2011
4. U.S. Post Office and Courthouse Marker
Nomination Form (1974)

Description
The United States Post Office and Courthouse in Charleston, South Carolina, is situated on the southwest corner of Meeting and Broad Streets, the major downtown intersection, known as the "Four Corners of Law." On the northwest corner is the 1792 County Courthouse; on the northeast corner is St. Michael's Church, built between 1752 and 1761. Although completed in 1896, the Post Office building is sympathetic in scale and appearance with the three earlier structures.

Built of Winnsboro, South Carolina, granite, the "most perfect and durable building stone to be found in the United States," according to an 1896 newspaper, the Post Office borrows elements from various Renaissance Revival styles. Dark and Light stone heightens the contract between the rusticated basement and first floors and quoining, and the smoother wall surfaces of the two upper stories. Fronting Broad Street, the main facade is broken into five advancing and receding planes. The five parts are symmetrically grouped, but the openings of each part have been treated individually. A pedimented central block denotes the main entrance on Broad Street. The east or Meeting Street facade is basically a reduced version of the north facade. Dominating both is the enclosed, square "cupola," the contemporary description, placed on the corner of the building.

Openings
U.S. Post Office and Courthouse image. Click for full size.
By Michael Sean Nix, February 12, 2010
5. U.S. Post Office and Courthouse
are grouped, usually in two's or three's, although there is a greater massing of windows on the the floor. First floor openings, including seven doorways, are arched, as are windows on the cupola. Some upper story openings are pedimented, and the doors have balustraded balconies. Windows are fewer in number on the south or back side. Openings on all floors throughout the building are linked by string-courses.

A cornice with heavy dentiling appears on the projected areas, while the cornice on the receding sections is a simple molding. An open balustrade outlines the roof, which is not visible from the street. Attached to the south side in 1922 was a one-story gray concrete service and loading area.

Parking facilities are located on the west and south sides. Adjoining the south lot is the "Post Office Park," originally landscaped about 1804, but later covered with a building. In the 1960s, the park was restored, including replacement of the two-tired fountain and the iron fence.

Excepting the 1922 addition, the exterior has changed little. The interior has not been as fortunate, although the Post Office lobby of the first floor suggests the grandeur of the structure when first built. Carved Santo Domingo mahogany woodwork encloses the postal service area. The stairway consists primarily of brown marble veined in white and filigreed brass (one newspaper
U.S. Post Office and Courthouse<br>Northeast Corner image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 20, 2011
6. U.S. Post Office and Courthouse
Northeast Corner
account described it as "embossed copper"). An early elevator, also covered with ornate grillwork, was retired in 1958.

Originally, the central area of the building consisted of an interior court with a skylight of hammered glass. Second and third floor offices opened onto galleries which overlooked the court. The 1959, the court was floored, giving additional office space, and other renovations were made.

The building dimensions are 147'11" x 124'3".

Significance
By virtue of its location on the "Four Corners of the Law," the United States Post Office and Courthouse in Charleston, South Carolina, is automatically an important structure. A 1792 courthouse represents county government, while the City Hall, begun in 1800, symbolizes city government. St. Michael's Church, built between 1752 and 1761, depicts ecclesiastical law. Completing the foursome is the 1896 Post Office representing the federal government. Although nearly a century separates them, the Renaissance Revival structure is compatible with the three earlier buildings, and is an appropriate expression of the late nineteenth century.

Efforts to obtain a new post office for Charleston began in earnest in 1886, and in February 1887, Congress passed the first bill approving its construction. Contracts were awarded in early 1889 for excavating, piling, etc., the site, which had
U.S. Post Office and Courthouse image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 20, 2011
7. U.S. Post Office and Courthouse
been the old police Guard House until it was heavily damaged in the 1886 earthquake.

Architect of the Post Office was Will A. Freret, who served as Supervising Architect of the Treasury in 1887 and 1888.

On Friday evening, May 15, 1896, the public was invited to attend a gala viewing, complete with German band, of the new Post Office and Courthouse. The following morning, mails, for the first time, were "dispatched, received and delivered from the Government palace," which cost approximately $500,000.00. The courts were to move from the United States Custom House at a later date. Completing of the new building, said one reporter, was "the beginning of the new life of Charleston."

Today, the structure continues to be used as a postal station and federal courthouse.
    — Submitted December 12, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

 
Categories. GovernmentNotable Buildings
 
St. Michael's Steeple (Left)<br>U.S. Post Office Tower (Right) image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 20, 2011
8. St. Michael's Steeple (Left)
U.S. Post Office Tower (Right)
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 657 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.   2. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   3. submitted on , by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.   4. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   5. submitted on , by Michael Sean Nix of Spartanburg, South Carolina.   6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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