Beaufort is an idyllic destination with sweeping vistas, incredible restaurants, and a town filled with historic mansions. Many of these mansions were built almost 200 years ago and still stand tall and elegant. Our own beloved Cuthbert House Inn (See below) is approximately 230 years old! While you could stroll around The Bluff Neighborhood or Old Point Neighborhood and gaze upon these architectural feats of beauty, there are definitely some houses that you don’t want to miss. Here are 6 of the most beautiful, historic, haunted, and important antebellum mansions in Beaufort.
John Mark Verdier House: 801 Bay Street
Also known as Lafayette Building, The Verdier House has been a focal point in the town since 1804. You can tour this important piece of history Monday-Saturday from 10am-4pm for $10 a person. This museum not only allows you to admire the architectural details inside the building, but offers artifacts from Beaufort’s history and provides insight into the town’s history with guided tours.
James Robert Verdier House “Marshlands”: 501 Pinckney St
On the edge of The Old Point neighborhood lies the old home of Dr. James Robert Verdier who is most noted for discovering a treatment for yellow fever. This white antebellum mansion stands out from the rest with a coral roof and perfectly preserved Adamesque and West Indian architectural stylings. This National Historic Landmark is currently for sale and looking for new owners to fall in love with this piece of Beaufort history.
Edward Barnwell-Geddes Dowling House: 1405 Bay Street
While on the outside, this historic antebellum mansion looks like a perfectly normal Bay Street home, the walls have lived through interesting times and hold some deep secrets. Home to an actress, a witch doctor, and a poet, this home has remnants from periods gone by. Code from Union soldiers was found scribbled on the dining room wall, the resident poet described generations of ghosts in the beams, and the current owner recently discovered a secret passage in the house.
Cuthbert-Scheper-Simmer House: 915 Port Republic Street
Yes, another Cuthbert house! In the heart of downtown Beaufort lies the old Civil War Bakery. When the house was evacuated prior to the Civil War, this family house was used as a bakery to feed the soldiers. After hurricanes and a devastating fire, the prestigious home was almost in ruins until City Councilman Mike Sutton restored the building to its former glory. You can enjoy a tour of this property during the annual tour of homes.
Maxcy – Rhett House: 1113 Craven Street
Right next door to The Cuthbert House Inn and known as the Secession House, the Maxcy-Rhett house is designated with two markers telling the story of the family who first owned the home and their contributions to the community, as well as the state senator who bought the house and remodeled it to give it a unique Greek Revival style. Leading up to the Civil War, this house was known as the meeting place for discussions between local plantation owners advocating for secession and Southern independence. The articles of Secession were drafted in this home before they were carried on to Charleston for ratification.
Thomas Fuller House, “Tabby Manse” – 1211 Bay Street
Built in 1786, the Thomas Fuller House, also known as Tabby Manse, was one of the first-built upscale homes in Beaufort. Resting on historic Bay Street, this house stands out with a light orange staircase to the porch. This house is a perfectly preserved example of the early use of tabby, a local building material made of finely ground oyster shells and mortar. Legend says that Thomas Fuller built the house as a wedding present for his bride.
The John Alexander Cuthbert House, a.k.a. The Cuthbert House Inn: 1203 Bay Street
Most antebellum mansions in town are private residences that you can only view from the outside. Except for Cuthbert House Inn, a stunning waterfront pre-Civil War mansion that has been converted into a luxurious bed and breakfast. Built in 1790, The Cuthbert House was a coastal summer home to the wealthy Cuthbert family. At the start of the Civil War, the family abandoned the property and the Union Army took up residence within its walls. Several young soldiers scratched their signatures on the property and you can still find small remnants of history all over the inn. Now a National Historic Landmark, this upscale B&B welcomes travelers to experience a slice of Beaufort history.
Simply stroll around the town and you’ll fall in love with the beauty of these historic mansions in no time. Stay at the Cuthbert House Inn and explore all of Beaufort’s most incredible antebellum mansions from this historic building with a view of the bay.
Looking to experience Beaufort’s historic antebellum mansions? Book your stay at The Cuthbert House Inn, an upscale B&B in a pre-Civil War mansion with unique Bay views in the heart of Beaufort, SC.