Though it unusual to see an historic “single house” outside of Charleston, this brick residence in Camden proves that the design was indeed used elsewhere. The term “single house” refers to a distinctive structure that is one room deep with its side facing the street. The entrance is accessed through a door on the first floor porch, which then leads to the actual front door in the center of the long portion of the house. The style was popularized in Charleston in order to take advantage of the breezes from the Ashley and Cooper rivers that would ventilate homes situated in this manner. Though the design is associated with Charleston, it was likely borrowed from seventeenth-century homes in Barbados. This particular single house was built around 1817.
Planter William Daniel built this home as his townhouse, which was sold to attorney Chapman Levy in 1837. Levy owned a brickyard along the Columbia Canal, which was operated by 20 of his 31 slaves. At the time, Levy was the largest Jewish slaveholder in the United States. In 1854 the home was purchased by Bishop Thomas Davis, Rector of Grace Episcopal Church and Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina. When Davis was named Bishop in 1853, he stated that he wished to remain in Camden rather than move to Charleston to serve his term. As a result, the See of the Diocese of South Carolina was in Camden while Davis acted as Bishop. Bishop Davis also founded the Camden Episcopal Seminary in 1857, though the school was burned in 1865 by Union troops during the Civil War.
The home remained in the Davis family for 50 years and is cited as an example of Adam-period architecture in Camden. Today the house serves as an antiques business.