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Foundation Matters

Archives Collection Highlight: Historic Charleston Foundation Tours of Homes

Posted: May 1, 2020

Everyone at Historic Charleston Foundation was saddened to cancel this year’s Festival of Houses and Gardens due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Thousands of Festival goers were equally disappointed.  This post pays homage to the 2020 “FOHG,” harkening back to the first years of this beloved annual event through the Tours of Homes Collection in Historic Charleston Foundation’s Archives.

One of the first fundraising programs developed by Historic Charleston Foundation after its incorporation in 1947 was its annual spring tours of historic houses, during which trained “hostesses” (pictured above) would guide visitors through several private homes in Charleston’s historic district. In addition to raising revenue to support Historic Charleston Foundation’s preservation efforts, the tours performed an educational function by presenting Charleston architecture and decorative arts to both visitors and residents alike. Publicity included posters, brochures, and guidebooks, and this collection features those materials from the first ten years of the annual tours of houses. Of note are the highly decorative posters and also the tour booklets that contain house histories written by noted preservationist, architect, and author, Samuel Gaillard Stoney, Jr., and photographs by numerous Charleston photographers, along with information about Historic Charleston Foundation, essays, maps, and advertisements for a variety of local businesses.

The entire collection can be seen on the Lowcountry Digital Library.

Here are the posters from 1950 – 1953:








4 responses to “Archives Collection Highlight: Historic Charleston Foundation Tours of Homes”

  1. Holly Donahue says:

    Help me to understand why it is cancelled? You can dine 3 feet away from your neighbor in restaurants, go to gyms, hold a super bowl, shop in boutique stores. It’s illogical and pandering. Just let everyone carry a cookie in their hand. Everyone knows that Covid 19 isn’t contagious when your eating (apparently). It’s your economy Charleston….

    • Holland Williams says:

      Hi. This is actually a blog post from the 2020 Festival last year. The 2021 Festival is still on, although we did delay the house tours until late April/May. The full schedule may be found at

  2. barbara timcisko says:

    We would like to come to Charleston for the historic house tours. Are these happening in 2022?

    • Blair Phillips says:

      Yes, Barbara, we are having the Festival of Houses and Gardens in 2022. Please see the events page on this website to see what is scheduled. If you have further questions, please call the ticket office at 843-722-3405. Thanks for your interest.

      Blair Phillips

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