The collection at the Edmondston-Alston House Museum consists of furniture, paintings, silver, books and other objects that belonged to the family, reflecting not only family history but American history.
Persevered Through War & Natural Disasters
Despite the ravages of the Civil War, the Earthquake of 1886 and numerous hurricanes, the Alston family pieces remain in place much as they have for over 150 years. Notable in the collection is an original print of the Ordinance of Secession, portraits, dining room table, gas lights, mirrors, and exquisite interior woodwork.
The house was built in the late Federal style by Scottish shipping merchant Charles Edmondston at the height of his commercial success. In 1825, it was one of the first substantial houses to be built along the city's sea wall away from the noisy wharves and warehouses further up the Peninsula.
The Edmondston-Alston House (white three-story house in center) as it looked in 1831 before Greek Revival style enhancements.
View Along East Battery, Oil on Canvas, S. Bernard, 1831.
A New Owner
But a decade later, economic reversals during the Panic of 1837 forced Edmondston to sell his house. It was purchased by Charles Alston, a member of a well-established Low Country rice-planting dynasty who quickly set about updating the architecture of his house in the Greek Revival style.
Generation of Alstons
The house has remained in the Alston family since 1838. Among the elements Alston added were the third story piazza with Corinthian columns, a cast-iron balcony across the front, and a rooftop railing bearing the Alston coat of arms.
Many pieces of the family's 19th century furniture, books, and other personal belongings remain in the house - much as they have since the Alstons witnessed the dramatic events of the Civil War. The collection reflects the lives of all the people who lived in the house. The stories of the Alstons and the enslaved people they owned are intertwined and present in the furnishings on display.
Alston coat of arms (pictured).
Home for Business & Personal Pursuits
In the 1840s and 1850s, business visitors were received on the first floor while the family's intellectual and social diversions took place in the drawing rooms on the floor above.
From Family Home to House Museum
The striking Greek Revival interiors, fascinating collections of the family portraits, furniture and silver as well as maritime views from the piazza make the Edmondston-Alston House an unforgettable part of any Charleston adventure. The house museum is managed by the Middleton Place Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational trust.
Middleton Place, an 18th and 19th-century rice plantation, has America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens, Plantation Stableyards and an outstanding House Museum. Connected by family ties to the Edmondston-Alston House, this National Historic Landmark was home to a signer of the Declaration of Independence and is located just 14 miles from downtown Charleston.