Historic Mansion Owned by Charleston Elite, Then Diocese Up for Sale

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dioceseWith a substantial main house, a carriage house, and a great location in the middle of downtown Charleston, South Carolina, the Morton Waring House (currently home to the local Catholic diocese) is going to give some enterprising individual a great potential home — or even perhaps a bed and breakfast-type situation.

The Morton Waring House has an impressive pedigree. Built in 1803 for local factor Morton Waring, the original home was three-and-a-half stories. Waring sold the property to Mordecai Cohen, the second-wealthiest man in South Carolina, in 1811. Cohen sold the home in 1844, and eventually, it made its way to the Smith and Heyward families, who added a marble veneer. In 1961, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston bought the home to use as office space, adding an elevator (which is currently non-operational) and updated HVAC, fire, and electrical systems.

The eventual buyer of this property will find that it’s going to need a little updating, but is still a grand lady. Listed for $6.2 million, it’s been on the market for a scant 11 days.

“This is an amazing opportunity to purchase a grand property that has not been on the market for close to 60 years,” said listing agent Greg Atkinson with Handsome Properties Inc.

The 8,444 square foot main house boasts four stories and seven and a half baths and seven bedrooms. The 2,444 square foot carriage house has two floors. The first floor has a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment, and the second floor has a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment.

“Both apartments have full kitchens and large living areas,” Atkinson said.


To bring the mansion back to residential mode, Atkinson said it will take some renovation to switch from diocese office space to home space, although he stresses that at least some of the house still retains the historical details.

“As you enter onto the front porch you will notice the coffered ceiling,” he said. “Once inside you will be greeted by the grand staircase along with the foyer and ornate patterned parquet floors with mahogany inlays that continue into the main room on the front of the house.”

“This room also includes an impressive fireplace mantel, crown molding, and detailed chair railing throughout.”

Tall ceilings continue throughout the first floor, which also contains a formal sitting room and a ballroom.

“The grand ballroom boasts a curved wall on one end with three sets of French doors leading to the patio overlooking the gardens,” Atkinson said.


The second floor, he said, has the same layout as the first floor, and includes access out to the second-floor porch. Several of the rooms on the second floor are used as office space. The third floor is smaller than the first two floors and includes a large room on the front of the house with a fireplace, two other large rooms, and access to the roof.

Two rooms with dormers and a half bath comprise the fourth floor.

The outside of the home is also impressive. The property boasts a large, well-manicured garden, and is surrounded by a brick wall on the west and south sides and a grand entry gate and wrought iron fence along Broad Street.

In addition, Atkinson said there are 14 off-street parking spaces and a 230 square foot storage building.