Aiken-Rhett House

Top choice historic building in East Side, NoMo & Hampton Park

Image by Nick Amoscado

The only surviving urban town-house complex, this 1820 abode gives a fascinating glimpse into antebellum life on a 45-minute self-guided audio tour. The role of slaves is emphasized and visitors wander into their dorm-style quarters behind the house before moving on to the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

The Historic Charleston Foundation manages the property 'preserved as found,' conserving but not restoring it. There have been few alterations and you get it as is, peeling Parisian wallpaper and all.

At the back of the house, a laundry business was believed to have been operated by freed slaves after the Emancipation Act, and that room is now on display.