Rainbow Row History
Legend has it that the drunken sailors needed a guide to find their way home or that illiterate slaves could be directed to certain shops without having to read the shop’s sign- Whatever began Rainbow Row on Bay Street in downtown Charleston, the area has become one of the most photographed and visited parts of the city.
It’s history dates back to the 1740’s when Charleston was a thriving port hub. It is the longest cluster; thirteen Georgian row houses in the US, each with its own rich history. Merchants lived with their families upstairs with their business below. Although they had distinct exterior walls, there were no walls between them. After the Civil War the entire area fell into disrepair and became a slum. Fortunately, Dorothy Porcher Legge purchased three, restored them complete with the now famous pastel colors. Other Charlestonians took note and followed her lead.
Today they stand proud, representing a significant historical page in our country's past.