By Robert Salvo

Old Charleston brick has become a valuable commodity in many circles. From true restoration use to garden borders to doorstoppers sold at The Market, this basic building block of the Holy City is truly beloved. Our devotion to this block of heritage and craftsmanship is interesting when we consider how many of the city’s brick homes were stuccoed-over in an age with models of beauty decidedly more ornate than unadorned masonry.

Today, however, our standards make a structure like the Jonathan Badger house at 41 Tradd St. all the more grand. The street side of the residence has brick laid in fine Flemish bond and handsome jack arches. A more common English bond graces the other elevations. The beauty of the material continues on to the recently-restored interior, as an exposed-brick kitchen brings the warm earth element of masonry to view at its most appropriate indoor venue.

Badger was an interesting individual in mid 18th-century Charleston. Esteemed historian Milby Burton actually speculated there might have been two men by the same name because of the diversity of interests illustrated by remaining records. Certainly this Badger is the one who purchased the property from Anne Elliott Saunders Waight, daughter of colonial notable Thomas Elliott, in 1746.

Badger was a cabinetmaker, but in 1752, an advertisement appears in the newspaper for a book of psalms and hymn tunes. Subsequent records refer to him as a “joiner,” then a “gentleman.” If there was only one Badger, he was a man of great ability who made his fortune quickly. Further records show him in the employ of the Assembly, then a member of the Grand Jury, before finally retiring to Newport, Rhode Island.

Perhaps 41 Tradd is a sufficient argument that there was just the one Jonathan Badger: In it a craftsman’s eye and a gentleman’s tastes are both satisfied. Wide-plank wood flooring and pleasant mantels from the period speak to a combination of simplicity and gentility often more appreciated in our time than his. The beautiful mahogany bannister sums up the house’s focus on natural materials presented in a straightforward manner.

Simplicity here doesn’t belie issues for the future; the main house and the kitchen house have been connected and plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling and the kitchen have all had a recent re-do. As for the perennial peninsular concern for flooding — the house is on high ground and there is no requirement for flood insurance.

If you’re interested in this South-of-Broad brick belle, call Middleton Rutledge at Dan Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty. He’d be happy to show you the 3,200 square-foot beauty, with three spacious bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths arranged in a typical single-house plan. Or view the lovely garden, which was reviewed and mapped for James Cothran’s Gardens of Historic Charleston. Inside and out — and for centuries to come — 41 Tradd’s beauty and history are as strong as the masonry of which it is made.

Mercury newspapers can be found at the following locations:


Buxton Books

Caviar & Bananas

The Meeting Street Inn (Rack)

Clair's Service Station, Folly Rd. (Rack)

Harris Teeter, Houston-Northcutt Blvd. (Rack)

Mt. Pleasant Library, Mathis Ferry Rd. (Rack)

Pitt St. Pharmacy

The Square Onion, I'On (Rack)