South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

Palmer Home — Charleston, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Charleston County  |  Palmer Home

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Palmer Home

The Palmer Home in historic Charleston is one of the Holy City’s most iconic mansions, frequently photographed and often depicted in paintings of the grand homes along the Battery. Built between 1847 and 1849 by John Ravenel, a wealthy merchant and president of the South Carolina Railroad Company, the home remained in the Ravenel family until 1953.

Palmer House East Battery

John Diskes of Summerville, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Ravenel’s son, scientist Dr. Saint Julien Ravenel, succeeded his father in ownership of the Italianate-style home. Dr. Ravenel is noted for designing the Little David, a semi-submersible vessel that attacked the Union blockade ship Ironside on October 5, 1863. He is said to have created plans for the torpedo boat in the drawing room of the house. A replica of the Little David is on display at the Old Santee Canal Park.

Palmer House

Steve Gundy of Roswell, GA © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The younger Ravenel was also instrumental in developing the phosphate industry that attempted to replace rice as a source of Lowcountry prosperity following the Civil War. He eventually sold the home to his son-in-law, Elias Horry Frost, president of E.H. Frost and Company – a cotton brokerage – as well as head of the Stono Phosphate Company and president of the South Carolina Loan and Trust. Frost is responsible for rehabilitating the house after the Great Earthquake of 1886, adding Victorian details while also adhering to the home’s original plan.

Palmer Home 1886

The Palmer Home operated as a bed-and-breakfast from 1977 until 2016, when the house sold. The home is in the process of a multi-year renovation to be reverted back to a private residence. It offers unobstructed views of the Charleston Harbor and is just around the corner from White Point Garden.

Palmer Home Info

Address: 5 East Battery, Charleston, SC 29401
GPS Coordinates: 32.770553,-79.928583

Palmer Home Map

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4 Comments about Palmer Home

SC Picture Project says:
June 22nd, 2019 at 12:33 pm

You’re right, thanks for the information, we do have it listed towards the very bottom that it sold in 2016 and would be reverted to a private residence. We do love the house as well and are excited to watch its restoration progress, they are really doing a beautiful job!

Cynthia Putman says:
June 20th, 2019 at 4:51 pm

This is my favorite house in Charleston. It was sold and is being renovated as a private residence. It is no longer a bed and breakfast.

Brenda Webb says:
May 15th, 2016 at 10:32 am

Love the design of this home. Everytime I have been in Charleston, I have admired its beauty.

ernie miller says:
April 29th, 2014 at 9:23 pm

You failed to mention Dr. Joe Sam Palmer owned and resided there for many years. Upon passing, one of his daughters opened as a bed and breakfast years after 1977, as mentioned.


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