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Wentworth Mansion — Charleston, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Charleston County  |  Wentworth Mansion

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Wentworth Mansion

The cupola rising from the Second Empire home pictured below belongs to the Francis Silas Rodgers Mansion, which today houses a luxury inn known as the Wentworth Mansion. The opulent Charleston house was completed in 1886 for Rodgers, a successful cotton merchant, though construction began five years before. The four-story, 24,000-square-foot home was designed to be large enough to accommodate Rodgers’ family of 13 and grand enough to reflect his status in the cotton industry. The home suffered damage from the 1886 earthquake shortly after it was built, although it was immediately repaired. Since its completion, the mansion has been considered the finest of its style in Charleston.

Wentworth Mansion

Gazie Nagle of Charleston, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Notable features of the home include two matching chandeliers from Europe commissioned by Rodgers and installed by their maker, marble mantle pieces by sculptor Emile T. Viett, and glass panels by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The cupola that towers from the striking mansard roof affords spectacular views of Charleston. Local notable architect Daniel G. Wayne designed the home.

Wentworth Mansion Charleston

Gazie Nagle of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The mansion remained in the Rodgers family until 1920. At that time it was purchased by the Scottish Rite Cathedral Association (see postcard below). That group sold the home to the Atlantic Coast Life Insurance Company in 1940.

Scottish Rite Cathedral - Wentworth Mansion

Postcard View, J.S. Pinkussohn Cigar Company, 1920s

The present owner, Richard Widman, bought the home in 1997 with plans to convert it into a luxury hotel. Following 18 months of restoration, the Wentworth Mansion, named for its eponymous street, opened as a 21-room grand hotel in downtown Charleston. Other features of the property have been restored to receive guests, such as the carriage house that in 2000 was converted into a restaurant – Circa 1886 – and a stable that now serves as a spa.

Wentworth Mansion Stairs

Gazie Nagle of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The Wentworth Mansion is listed in the National Register as the Francis Silas Rodgers Mansion in the Charleston Historic District:

(Charleston Old and Historic District) Charleston played an important role in Colonial, Revolutionary, antebellum and Civil War America. The city was a major Colonial seaport, an active participant in the Revolution, a seat of rice and cotton culture and a leader of secession. Today much of the nation’s great social and architectural history can be visibly appreciated because of the great concentration of period buildings that still line the city streets. The historic district contains primarily residential buildings in addition to commercial, ecclesiastical, and government-related buildings. Several historic neighborhoods are included because of their concentrations of historically and architecturally valuable buildings. These neighborhoods possess the unique visual appeal of old Charleston, a picturesqueness created by the close proximity of buildings, in a wide variety of architectural styles. There is general harmony in terms of height, scale, proportion, materials, textures, colors, and characteristic forms, such as the side piazzas. All of the properties contribute to an expanded period of significance dating from 1700 to 1941. The great concentration of 18th and 19th century buildings give the district a flavor of an earlier America. The district contains many buildings of national historic and/or architectural significance. Built of brick, stucco, or clapboard, many of these properties are Charleston “single houses,” one room wide, with gable end to the street and tiered piazzas. Others are plantation style houses. Architectural styles include Georgian, Regency, Federal, Adamesque, Classical Revival, Greek Revival, Italianate, Gothic Revival, and Queen Anne, among others. The district also contains many outbuildings (stables, carriage houses, kitchen buildings), a majority of which have been altered extensively to accommodate modern needs.

Wentworth Mansion Info

Address: 149 Wentworth Street, Charleston, SC 29401
GPS Coordinates: 32.779826,-79.939925
Website: http://www.wentworthmansion.com

Wentworth Mansion Map

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2 Comments about Wentworth Mansion

SC Picture Project says:
August 5th, 2019 at 11:04 am

Hi James! As a distant relative of the Rodgers family, I understand what you mean. The reason we choose to call it “Wentworth Mansion” is that this is the name most people now know it by, and it is the term they use for their online searches. While the page already notes that the house’s actual name is Francis Silas Rodgers Mansion, I agree with your point and am going to make it more prominent in our intro paragraph. Thank you for your helpful feedback!

James J. Lundy, Jr. says:
August 2nd, 2019 at 4:56 am

By naming convention, this house should be referred to only as the Francis Silas Rodgers Mansion. The current business that occupies it is called “The Wentworth Mansion.” That is the name of the hotel business and shouldn’t be adopted as the name of the building, which has thus far and always will outlive whatever business it is used for. As noted in the write-up, it has had several commercial uses in the past and may well be occupied by several more in the coming century. So for continuity, it should be listed under the name of its builder, just as most buildings in this website.


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