The Pink House

The Pink House, located at 17 Chalmers Street in Charleston's French Quarter district, has a rich history dating back to the late 1600s or early 1700s. While it is often marketed as the oldest residence in Charleston, this claim is not entirely proven, as there are other houses believed to have been constructed around the same time. However, the Pink House is recognized as the oldest masonry residence in Charleston and one of the oldest in the United States. Originally built as a tavern and potentially a brothel for sailors and pirates visiting the port, the house has undergone various transformations throughout its existence. The distinctive pink color of the house is a result of the original 18-inch-thick Bermuda Stone used in its construction. The house features a unique design with three stories, each consisting of just one room. Over the years, it has served as a tavern, a law office, a private residence, an art gallery, and a popular spot for Instagram-worthy photos. The Pink House has experienced several changes in ownership and usage. In the 1930s, it was purchased by Victor and Marjorie Morawetz, who enlisted architect Albert Simons to renovate the building for entertaining guests. Subsequent owners used the house as an artist's studio, a law office, and an art gallery. In 1994, the gallery closed after almost 20 years of operation. In 2014, local artist Gayle Sanders Fischer acquired the house and utilized it as an extension of her gallery. Two years later, it was listed for sale but subsequently withdrawn. In 2017, it was sold to Scott Bessent, a New York resident who plans to retire in Charleston. Bessent has been working on repairing the structure and converting it into a single-family home, a process that is expected to take another year. Despite its small size, the Pink House has withstood numerous hurricanes, earthquakes, wars, fires, and other challenges over its 300-year history. It is listed in the National Register as part of the French Quarter District and proudly bears a plaque identifying it as the Pink House.


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