BVL Historic Preservation Research

We know every building has a story, and we are committed to unearth as many stories as possible.

Welcome to BVL Historic Preservation Research. Headquartered in historic Charleston, South Carolina, our company's goal is to encourage the appreciation for and understanding of historic properties through both the architectural fabric and cultural memory. As an architectural historian, I am passionate about studying the built environment while showcasing the who, what, when and how of each historic resource. From an abandoned antebellum dwelling to a renovated nineteenth-century warehouse, a former family estate now subdivided to a recently purchased colonial townhome, every building, every landscape has a story; a story of the people, events and the history that surround its existence - and I am eager to lead you on that investigative journey!

Mission: To understand and preserve historic places through researching and revealing the history that shapes them

✨A lot can change in 80 years! But that’s why we do what we do ... to unravel it all, centuries worth of changes, into a layered, often fascinating, unpredictable & noteworthy, story of humans that tells the whole truth & nothing but the truth.💙

#bvlhistoricpreservationresearch project site, #charleston // historic 📸 @scarchives

#chs #charleston #charlestonarchitecture #chshistory #explorecharleston #oldbuildinglove #oldhouselove #archi_ologie #historic #historichomes #oldhouse #nowandthen @ Church Street (Charleston, South Carolina)

🤍 The WWII-era US Navy Nurses Quarters, built to house the nurses who serviced the {busy & crowded} naval hospital next door during the wartime years. From our injured men&boys coming directly from the front to POWs, these nurses, stationed at one of the nation’s most significant naval bases, saw it ALL. Accounts of the women who lived here during those years are both fascinating & heart breaking. Silver lining: Historic newspapers around the country did a great job of documenting the nurses who ultimately married naval officers/sailors they met {& even took care of in some instances - Notebook style} while living here on the base - perhaps meeting for a date in the main foyer just posted to my stories??🕊 Abandoned by the navy in the late twentieth century, she now has a new life as the @internationaldivinginstitute . It was soooo much fun to help bring her back to life for round 2. Go girl.

#bvlhistoricpreservationresearch #historictaxcredits project site , #charleston

#chs #chstoday #charlestonsc #charlestonhistory #explorecharleston #northcharleston #historicpreservation #historicrestoration #oldbuildinglove #beforeandafter #nowandthen #archi_ologie #transformationtuesday #wwii #usnavy #worldwar2 #americanhistory #ushistory @ Charleston Old Navy Base

✨Built in 1866 as a commercial & residential rental property || over time the first floor storefront served {in this order} as two different Irish taverns: Hanlon’s & O’Brien’s, an Italian/Greek speakeasy & gambling den & in the 1930s, a Black-owned lunch counter. “Colored Lunch” can be seen etched at the left of the side door in big letters in the 1930s photograph. This story, never before told, is bigger than we could have ever imagined.

#bvlhistoricpreservationresearch project site, #charleston | 📸 1. now {after restoration}, 2. then {right before restoration}, 3. way back when {historic photo shared w/ permission from @charlestonmuseum }

#chs #charlestonsc #chstoday #charlestonhistory #explorecharleston #oldbuildinglove #archi_ologie #nowandthen #oldplaces #historic #historicpreservation #historicrestoration #historic @ Charleston, South Carolina

An architectural hint that will lead us on a 200+ year journey through time.🕊

Based on the character of this original mantle {& other architectural hints} this building’s story starts in the late eighteenth century. Each one of those dentils {the little “teeth”} was handcrafted - each unique, each contributing to this building’s mosaic. 🤍

#bvlhistoricpreservationresearch project site, #charleston

#chs #chshistory #charlestonsc #charlestonhistory #charlestonarchitecture #chstoday #explorecharleston #oldbuildinglove #oldhouselove #archi_ologie #historicarchitecture #historichomes #historicpreservation #historicplaces #historicresearch

There’s nothing like a good old-fashion American Main Street. ♥️

💕 Built c. 1906 by a German grocer as a rental property for other German Jewish immigrants in a German neighborhood | one of the first residents was 52-year old German immigrant Franz Leopold Weile, who moved here with his wife, Henrietta “Etta” Phoebe Dorothy Catherine Apideter {go girl}, & their young family in 1908. Many knew him well & loved him as the driver for the city’s railway & the “Rutledge Avenue horse car.” Unfortunately shortly after moving in, Weile died in a tragic accident when he fell from his carriage after his mule got startled & was trampled near today’s @baystreetbiergarten. I’ll spare you the gory details that local newspapers published for DAYS 😞 Etta, a native Charlestonian born to German parents, became a clerk at a German grocery further up King & moved shortly thereafter. She remained a widow. We see you Leo & Etta.

This structure ALSO missed demolition for the construction of the Crosstown Expressway in 1963 by one lot {literally almost the same story as our previous post} You can see bits of the highway in the background to her right.

#bvlhistoricpreservationresearch project site, #charleston

#chs #charlestonsc #charlestonhistory #chstoday #oldhouselove #archi_ologie #oldbuildinglove #deserve2preserve #oldhouse #historichomes #historic #tinyhouse #historicresearch #historicpreservation

Built in 1898 for German grocery clerk Adolphus Henry Classen & his family, this oldie was planned to be demolished for the construction of the Crosstown Expressway in 1963 {hence the SC DOT gentlemen documenting her before the planned demo}. The expressway ultimately missed her by ONE lot, & she potentially has been alone ever since. For my local folks, if you’ve driven from Charleston towards Mt. Pleasant where Coming Street oddly merges @ the Crosstown right as the road elevates, you’ve seen her on the left. Praying her age & story are enough to give her a second chance @ life!

And just because we find it fascinating: two of the young boys who grew up here, Henry Classen & Edward Lindenberg, fought during WWII with the US German-Americans. Lindenberg’s family said their goodbyes to him in early 1945 right 👏🏻here👏🏻 {& then published it in the paper}.

#bvlhistoricpreservationresearch project site, #charleston | historic 📸 Lowcountry Digital Library

#chs #charlestonsc #chstoday #charlestonhistory #oldhouselove #oldbuildinglove #historicresearch #historicpreservation #deserve2preserve #historichomes #oldhouses #oldhouse @ Charleston, South Carolina

👋🏻 My name is Brittany. I’m a 30-something architectural historian loving life in #Charleston, SC, but proudly born & raised at the Jersey Shore. My parents are high school sweethearts from Staten Island, NY, which to me has some of the most fascinating historic structures this side of the Mississippi. My Irish & Italian ancestors immigrated to America at the turn of the century & spent decades living in the NYC tenements of Harlem & the Lower East Side. It is a life goal to uncover every single one of their stories. I received my BA in communications from @elonuniversity ... realizing my senior year that history & architecture were more my jam. {also I’m a proud @tridelta & I don’t care who knows it} As required by my parents to MAKE SURE communications was 🙅🏻‍♀️, I worked two years in marketing for an company before getting my MS in #historicpreservation at the @mshp_grad_program in Charleston. The “Researching Historic Properties” class that first semester changed my life. After grad school, I worked as an architectural historian for a cultural resource management & government consulting firm near Princeton, NJ. BUT since that first semester in grad school I had the dream of starting my own historic research firm. So, in 2013 my Jersey boy @mtulla1 & I moved back to Charleston & I started #bvlhistoricpreservationresearch. I believe every darn building, big or small, has a story worthy of shouting from the rooftops. I love humanizing old buildings, giving buildings an identity & helping people understand them by showcasing the building’s unique architectural journey & it’s people. My favorite “building” in the world is America’s Main Streets - all of them - & I am endlessly devoted to showcasing America’s FULL history, forever & always. It is an honor to tell the story of the many diverse citizens, especially those purposely erased from history books or intentionally forgotten, through our country’s old spaces & places. My posts are their stories. ♥️

Farewell to the 1960s Elza’s Dress Boutique. It was such an honor to tell her story one last time.

Completed in early 1961, the Alterman family demolished the Victorian-era Onslow’s Candy Store & erected this structure as part of King Street’s midcentury revitalization. Elza Alterman opened Elza’s Dress Boutique, a full-service luxury one-stop shop with a showroom, alterations department & even a lounge with cigars & booze where the gentlemen could wait for their ladies. Elza’s became a Charleston staple & if you talk to anyone who grew up in the city, I guarantee they’ve shopped @ Elza’s! A lone sign survives on George Street {see my story - if you’ve walked down George, you’ve seen it!} that originally directed shoppers to the private parking & VIP entrance. The Alterman’s received a @preservationsociety #carolopolisaward in 1965 for the new construction’s compatibility with the surrounding historic structures. Goodbye, my friend.

#bvlhistoricpreservationresearch project site, #charleston

#chs #charlestonsc #chstoday #charlestonhistory #oldbuilldinglove #kingstreet #historicpreservation #historicresearch #1960s @ Downtown King Street

Goodnight from the #Charleston Lowcountry💛

#chs #charlestonsc #explorecharleston #southernliving #experiencemp #mountpleasant #mountpleasantsc #lowcountry #lowcountryliving #lowcountrylife

What would America be without her Main Streets?

✨that is the power of historic preservation✨

#historicpreservation #oldbuildinglove #archi_ologie #mainstreetusa #mainstreet #charleston #charlestonsc #charlestonarchitecture #explorecharleston

May we all honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for these United States, 1770s-2020, today & always 🇺🇸

An old Hollywood set? Nope just real, live King Street ✨ taking an inventory of all the buildings constructed/redesigned in 1912 on King {to prove my client’s structure further up King is architecturally unique & the best preserved} & this beauty is giving me ALL. THE. FEELS. Props to you, Onslow! {who/whose relative ran a candy kitchen further up the street at 334 King Street, another #bvlhistoricpreservationresearch project site, in the 1940s & 1950s}

#charleston #charlestonhistory #charlestonarchitecture #chs #charlestonsc #explorecharleston #kingstreet #mainstreet #mainstreetusa #oldbuildinglove #archi_ologie #historic #historicarchitecture #historicresearch

Missing this view 🤎 @collegeofcharleston

Went to the highest point in the city & looked up ♥️ a close up of St. Michael’s steeple from St. Michael’s steeple. THE DETAIL😍

#chs #charlestonhistory #charlestonarchitecture #charleston #charlestonsc #charlestonlife #oldbuildings #oldbuilding #oldbuildinglove #archi_ologie #historicpreservation #history #historiccharleston #historicchurch #historicarchitecture

The Evolution of Apartment Living: A Charleston Story ✨

#chs #charlestonhistory #charlestonarchitecture #explorecharleston #charlestonsc #charlestonliving #charlestonlife #southernliving #oldhouselove #oldhouse #archi_ologie #historicpreservation #historichomes #architecture #architecturephotography #historicarchitecture

You can’t tell one story without telling the other. 🌴

#chs #charlestonarchitecture #charlestonhistory #charlestonsc #charleston #explorecharleston #oldhouselove #archi_ologie #historichomes #historicpreservation #southernliving #southerncharm

Yesterday’s department store display window 🦚✨ {which worked both ways. A now-boarded, second-story window is behind the case & would have also allowed for pedestrians to view the display from the street}

#bvlhistoricpreservationresearch project site, #charleston

#chs #charlestonsc #charleston #charlestonhistory #charlestonarchitecture #explorecharleston #abandonedplaces #abandoned #oldbuildinglove #historicpreservation #archi_ologie #oldplaces #olddepartmentstores #kingstreet

Littttttle building, BIG context! ✨
🇺🇸Built in 1942 under the order of FDR {the same order that also funded the Charleston Naval Hospital & called for a city-wide bolstering of war-time facilities. FDR ♥️’ed CHS}, this building was intended to serve as a naval “fleet landing” for Navy sailors aboard destroyers that were anchored in the harbor. BUT IN ORDER TO BUILD THIS fireproof, cinderblock WWII facility, the city had to demolish the beloved Cooper River Ferry terminal, which shuttled THOUSANDS across the harbor to the beaches for decades. This naval fleet landing was decommissioned in 1961 & almost demolished in the 1990s for the construction of the @southcarolinaaquarium {obvs ultimately built further north}. It became Fleet Landing Restaurant in the early 2000s.

#bvlhistoricpreservationresearch full property history of North, South & Central Wharf {more on this huge project soon!}, #charleston // 1📸 thanks to @fleetlanding - which has more information on how you can assist this long-standing Charleston staple {that does a great job in honoring this building’s history} during this crazy time & 2📸 1942 via @usnatarchives

#chs #charleston #charlestonsc #explorecharleston #charlestonhistory #charlestonarchitecture #wwii #1940s #americanhistory #ushistory #oldbuildinglove #arch_ologie #historicpreservation #navalhistory #usnavy #worldwar2 @ Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar

So 💔to hear of the demolition of the c. 1966 Dorchester Motor Lodge. You probably saw her often from Interstate 26. It was the second motel in North Charleston to be prefabricated & fully-furnished, finished by Knox Homes out of Georgia before each motel room was stacked on a trailer & driven to the site. Can you imagine. Shag carpet, wood interior paneling, teeeeeny TV’s installed and shipped like a little container {see stories for inside the rooms ✨}. As the motel industry declined towards the end of the 20th century, so did this baby, & sadly she didn’t survive. I am currently working to help restore & reopen her sister property {which you’ve heard so much about in my posts & stories!} the 1961 hot-pink showstopper, the Star of America Motel, which thankfully we were able to save from demo. A toast to the Dorchester Motor Lodge. 👏🏻 RIP sweet girl. 😞💔

#chs #charlestonhistory #charlestonarchitecture #northcharleston #explorecharleston #oldbuildinglove #lostbuildings #1960s #1966 #oldmotel @ North Charleston, South Carolina

So humble & quiet she is @ the corner of Felix & Morris Streets! This 1950 boarded-up angel 💔was frequently listed in The Green Book as the original location of Brooks Restaurant, a staple in the bustling black community of this Morris Street business corridor. In The Green Book, she was registered as a safe place for black travelers during a time of vast segregation. She was known to be packed to the brim at all times, for her collard greens & fried pig tails & as the backbone for a thriving, self-sustaining, yet heavily prejudiced, community. Although I’ve been tasked with {& more interested in!} researching it’s story as it relates to the locals, the habitants of Morris Street & the every-day citizen, we CAN link national figures like Martin Luther King & James Brown to the Brooks family establishments {which also includes a motel next door}. Today, she sits silent, keeping secrets of the incredible faces she seen & conversations she’s heard. BUT WE SEE YOU! ✨♥️ {& your Philip Simmons window grates!!}

#bvlhistoricpreservationresearch historic neighborhood report in partnership with @preservationsociety , #charleston

#chs #charlestonhistory #charlestonarchitecture #explorecharleston #oldbuildinglove #thisplacematters #deserve2preserve #greenbook #morrisstreet #americanhistory #ushistory #archi_ologie #historicpreservation #abandonedplaces #midcenturymodern #midcenturystyle #historicdistrict

This is the house of Sebastiana Ventura. She was an Italian {Sicilian, to be exact} immigrant who arrived in Manhattan in 1913, married an Italian barber & raised a family of 5 in a Harlem {then Little Italy} tenement before moving HERE, Huguenot Ave on Staten Island, by 1933. It was here in 1945 that she learned of the death of TWO of her sons abroad fighting in WWII & grieved the loss of her husband shortly thereafter in 1947. This is also the first property she bought on American soil. This is where she became an American citizen, and it’s also here that her eldest son Achille raised his family. Sebastiana was my great grandmother and this is where her granddaughter, my mother, grew up. That’s me. ♥️♥️♥️ It takes a village of people {many of whom you’ve never met & existed decades & even centuries before you!!} who got YOU where YOU are today. One different move of that ancestor, one different decision - would you still be HERE?! History is not a mystery & there is a reason you are HERE. right now. 😉
Also every building has a story, comprised of a million little stories. Don’t forget that. It’s absolutely incredible. #bvlhistoricpreservationresearch @ Staten Island, New York

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