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23 Montagu Street

Rivers-Bullwinkle House

CHS 23 Montagu Jan 2021 edited 3 square
Type Market-Rate Housing
Location Charleston, South Carolina
Built 1944

Trapp Lewis/Siam South LLC

Project partners

Samuel S. Logan Architects

Renew Urban Charleston



23 Montagu Street, also known as the Rivers-Bullwinkle House, demonstrates the range of historic tax credits’ utility. This single-family building utilized both federal and state historic tax credits to ensure rehabilitation efforts were executed to the highest standards. Collaborative efforts between MHA Charleston, developer and owner Siam South LLC, contractor Renew Urban Charleston, and Samuel S. Logan Architects resulted in the preservation of original historic fabric and the thoughtful marriage of a new addition with the property’s original structure.


Located in Charleston’s Harleston Village, a neighborhood within the Charleston Old and Historic District, this historic residence was originally constructed in 1844 by Dr. Thomas Eveleigh for his widowed daughter, Mrs. Eliza Rivers. The property was later bought in 1891 by John H. Bullwinkle, a prominent Charleston grocer and saloon-owner (hence the Rivers-Bullwinkle name).

An example of Charleston’s iconic house form, the “Charleston single house,” many stylistic changes made to the property were made during Bullwinkle’s tenure. These changes included the addition of the brackets and metal cornice on the building’s front façade and the decorative overhang above the main door onto to the piazza.


The property was thoughtfully restored by Siam South LLC to its original layout as a single-family residence. The house had been previously divided into three separate apartments, as was typical in Charleston during the mid-twentieth century. The rehabilitated house’s public spaces are again located on the first floor, historically the most prominent floor of a Charleston Single House.

Another major aspect of upgrading the building to the twenty-first century was the attached, modern addition behind the main, historic structure. A new addition was designed to mimic the original footprint of a historic dependency building in the same location previously torn down prior to 1947. The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation require that additions not over-shadow the historic building and clearly diverge in design and style from the historic portion. This allows a passerby to easily distinguish the newer portions from the historic.


Preservation Society of Charleston | 2021 Carolopolis Exterior Award