Bedonâ€™s Alley looking north to Elliott Street, ca 1920, from a collection of vintage photographs at shorpy.com
A 1934 Charleston News & Courier article bemoaned the subsequent fate of Elliott Street, which had by that point lost its former glory. â€œAll that is left is several ruins of bricks, over which negro shanties have sprung up like mushrooms. But Elliott Street is Charleston...it has lost its glory, but its loss is King Streetâ€™s gain. And in the picturesque alley a certain element of life goes on. Babies are born and the old folks die.â€ While the description may sound a bit meldramatic, a picture in the historic archives of shorpy.com may serve as confirmation.
Preservation and transformation
In the late 1930s, Susan Pringle Frost, the founder of what would become the Preservation Society of Charleston, renovated and restored structures in Bedonâ€™s Alley. Inspired by her work, Mrs. Henry Chisholm began a lengthy and extensive renovation of many of the buildings on Elliott Street. This metamorphosis is described in a 1952 article published in the News & Courier: â€œThis minor miracle has been accomplished by the lavish expenditure of labor, affection, and money of imaginative and progressive Charlestonians and others, who saw the possibilities of the street and went to work with the result that this once forlorn scene of dilapidation...has changed to one of beauty and cleanliness, pervaded by the scent of new paint, soap, and floor-polish.â€
Today, Elliott Street is a highly sought after address in Charlestonâ€™s South of Broad. The narrow street retains a sense of mystery and charm befitting its rich and varied history. Ruthie Smythe has recently listed for sale the residence at 14 Elliott Street, the first time on the market in many years. If you or someone you know would like to have your chance at another Elliott Street transformation, this might be the perfect place for you! Click here for the full listing.