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Mazyckborough-Wraggborough offers much in ‘The Neck’

By Dan T. Henderson, Jr.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 11:59 AM EDT
One Sunday morning, I stood on the sidewalk on Calhoun near Alexander Street, on the edge of the Wraggborough neighborhood. Calhoun Street was originally Boundary Street and the area to the north was referred to on early plats and maps as “The Neck.”

As I stood in awe at the site of the cranes towering the sky like two church steeples above the Gaillard Auditorium construction site, the rhythmic sounds of an organ and drums from the Macedonia AME Church filled the air. The recent uncovering of human remains near the intersection of George and Anson streets, part of what some believe is a cemetery that dates prior to the neighborhood, only contributed to my thoughts about the rich history of this fascinating neighborhood.

Joseph Wragg was a wealthy trader with extensive land holdings in Charleston. Much of his land was previously granted to the Lords Proprietors who had received the land as a grant from King Charles II in 1663. By the mid-1700s, Wragg divided his holdings among family members. His eldest son, John Wragg, received a tract bordering Boundary Street on the south. The other boundaries were King Street on the west, Mary Street on the north and the natural boundary of the Cooper River to the east. 

By the late 1700s, John Wragg hired Joseph Purcell to survey the land for subdivision into lots and streets. The streets were all named after Joseph Wragg’s children:  John, Mary, Judith, Ann, Charlotte, Elizabeth and Henrietta. The newly subdivided lots were attractive to prospective buyers because they were quite larger and less expensive than those lots south of Calhoun Street. As with the Ansonborough neighborhood, the area was popular with the wealthy families seeking a more suburban lifestyle, with larger homes than were available in the city of Charleston at that time.

During the same time period, Purcell surveyed the tract of land known as Mazyck’s Pasture for owner Alexander Mazyck. Mazyck’s land was bordered by Calhoun, Elizabeth and Chapel streets, and the area became known as Mazyckborough. The early development was from Chapel to Cooper streets. The most distinguished street was Charlotte, which runs east to west, allowing the cool breezes to be enjoyed coming off the Cooper River.

Antebellum mansions lined the area streets many built in the early 1800s. The William Aiken House, located at King and Ann streets, clearly anchored the western side of the neighborhood. The Joseph Manigault House located at John and Meeting streets is a close neighbor and is now owned by the Charleston Museum.  The Aiken Rhett House was built in 1820 by John Robinson and is located at 48 Elizabeth St. Originally a Charleston double house facing Judith St., extensive renovations moved the entrance to Elizabeth St. William Aiken, Sr. acquired the house in the late 1820s. Eventually, it became the home of William Aiken, Jr., governor of South Carolina and member of the United States House of Representatives. Jefferson Davis visited the home during the war in 1863, and it is believed that he stayed a week in the home while in Charleston.

Prior to the annexation into the city of Charleston in 1849, the area flourished for those who wanted to build less expensive homes and escape the ban imposed on wood construction.

In addition to the large residential lots, the survey included two parcels of land that were set aside by the Wragg family as public parks. Aiken Mall is a one-acre parcel located between John, Meeting and Elizabeth streets. It was named in honor of Governor Aiken, who was responsible for trees that are planted there. Wragg Mall is located between Meeting and Charlotte streets. Both were built for use by the public.

Today, the two neighborhoods are called Mazyck-Wraggborough. Some of the large mansions are now condominiums with multiple units. In the past 25 years, one project, Wraggborough Square, offered alternatives to the original homes in the area. This development is a mix of townhouse condominiums and single-family homes that was originally started by the Historic Charleston Foundation and completed by the late Morton Needle.

According to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service, in 2012 the largest residential real estate sales transaction in Mazyck-Wraggborough was $950,000.00 for 11 Judith St. located within Wraggborough Square. The home is more than 4,000 square feet, and the original asking price was $1,195,000.00. It was on the market for more than 10 months. This sale was one of five sales in the past five years near or above $1,000,000. In 2013 there are seven active listing from $375,000 to $1,295,000, with two of those being under contract. The size of the combined neighborhoods has kept the number of yearly closed sales below 20 units. (The chart below that summarizes the market activity within the past decade.)

By the 1820s, mixed-use development found its way to the area. Many corner-store-type buildings remain today. They feature commercial space on the first floor and residential space on the upper floors. Industries that were too dangerous for the lower Charleston peninsula were welcomed in the area. This created employment opportunities for the residents. The easy access to the railroad and waterfront was also a plus. The Tower Depot at 37 John St. was built in the mid 1800s. This Gothic Revival style building was originally a three-story tower that served as the main entrance to the South Carolina Railroad passenger depot. A portion of the original building was destroyed during the 1886 earthquake. The building is now the Charleston Music Hall. Also, the Camden Depot, the South Carolina Railroad Warehouse and the train depot at East Bay and Chapel were many of the commercial buildings in Wraggborough for the growing rail service in Charleston.

Today as Charleston’s downtown is area is experiencing unbelievable growth, the Mazyck-Wraggborough neighborhood area has much to offer with award-winning restaurants, retail shops, the Visitor Center, hotels and The Charleston Museum within a few minutes’ walk. 

Dan Tompkins Henderson, Jr., CCIM, is the broker/principal of CCBG Real Estate Group, LLC. He may be reached at

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