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. 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. Among the features 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.
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.
The house has remained in the Alston family since 1838. 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 striking Greek Revival interiors, fascinating collections of the family portraits, furniture and silver and 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 not-for-profit educational trust.