Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Serene Bed And Breakfast Nestled Under The Moss Covered Trees Of Wentworth Street With A Ghost Story

I found this bed and breakfast while walking Wentworth Street toward beautiful Wentworth Mansion to take pictures. If it wasn't for its modest sign pinpointing its location, I would not have discovered it. Many of the houses in this part of Harleston Village on Wentworth Street are of comparable style built of brick, stucco, or clapboard, except for the few large mansions. 1837 Bed and Breakfast is a fine example of a Charleston single house one room wide with gable end to the street and tiered piazzas. It’s not known for a celebrated history, but like many homes in Charleston, it has an attention-grabbing but sad ghost story associated with it.

It was built by cotton planter Henry Cobia in the 1800's, and I am guessing more specifically 1837, but this is more implied than a stated fact. Henry Cobia is also credited with building the house at 128 Wentworth Street circa 1840. Built in the Federal-style, the house has three floors. It is accompanied by a two-story brick carriage/kitchen house. It was converted to a bed and breakfast in 1984.

The main house has a total of six guest rooms--three on the second and three on the third floor. Rooms on these floors entail walking up one or two flights of stairs. Each floor has open piazzas. Common rooms, such as the kitchen, dining room, and parlor are on the first floor.

Room 202
The carriage/kitchen house has two individual rooms on the ground floor with open beam ceilings and a one bedroom suite on the second floor, which is up one flight of spiral stairs and also has a small, private balcony. Originally separated from the main house as a safety precaution to protect it from accidental cooking fires, which was a common construction practice in the early years of Charleston, it was attached to the main house at the turn of the century.

Room 102
Each room is decorated with period furniture featuring queen canopy rice beds, armoires, local artwork, and oriental rugs. All rooms have private entrances and private baths. Amenities include cable TV in each room, free wireless internet service, and refrigerators. There is free one car per room on-site parking for small cars. A sumptuous, complimentary breakfast is prepared every morning and served starting at 8:30 am--for each days offerings go to daily breakfasts. It is reasonably priced with rooms ranging from $139 to $259 a night in the main house and $129 to $275 a night in the carriage house.

1837 is highly spoken of by most of its previous guests, but has one peculiarity--guests and employees have reported seeing a little boy playing around the halls, then disappearing from sight. The employees have affectionately named him, George. Now, some may view this as unsettling and others may view it as alluring, but according to the staff, apparently friendly George just engages in harmless mischief.

These are the sorrowful events that have become the supernatural story of 1837. Like many cotton planters, Henry Cobia owned slaves. During the 1830s, a male and female slave lived in a room on the third floor of the house along with their nine-year-old son. In 1843, due to financial difficulty, Cobia was forced to sell several of his slaves, which included the boy's parents. The next day, the little boy walked down to a dock on Charleston Bay and asked a man where his parents were taken. He was told that they had been transported to a ship that was currently docked in the middle of Charleston Harbor. Motivated by the hope that he might be reunited with his parents, the boy stole a rowboat and rowed in the direction of his parents' ship. All at once, the little boat capsized, and the boy drowned.

A concierge of the bed and breakfast states that George's mischief includes opening doors, rocking chairs and turning lights on and off. Most of the disturbances take the form of mattress shaking or the radio turns on in the middle of the night.

As described by the concierge and reported in an article by Dr. Alan Brown, a paranormal investigator, one of the funniest incidents at the 1837 Bed and Breakfast took place in May 2002: "We had a lady come down at breakfast, and she said, 'Did we have an earthquake last night?' And I said, 'I don't think so.' She said her bed was moving. I said, 'Was the chandelier moving too?' She said, 'No.' I said, 'Well, that's not an earthquake.' I didn't tell her about the ghost. Chances are that it was George acting up again. She asked me to call the earthquake people, and I did, and they said we didn't have an earthquake. She accused them of covering it up."

1837 Bed and Breakfast is the Charleston package made up of old southern charm with ghostly implications. It is located in a quiet area of the city, but not far from King Street and Charleston Place. According to most reviews, its staff is hospitable and attentive. It was awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2015 and highlighted on History and Travel Channel. New York Times called it "A perfect place to unwind."

126 Wentworth Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Phone: (843) 723-7166

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