Saturday, April 15, 2017

Charleston and the HSO House

 For Spring Break, March 3rd thru 12th, we went to Charleston SC.  We were our own tourist guides and treated ourselves to a fine walking tour of the old city south of Broad St.  In the process we discovered a house with a horse-shaped-object (HSO) in every window -- and none of them were Breyers or Stones!  We also availed ourselves of the city's excellent horse-drawn carriage trade - of course I am including a few harness shots.   This destination choice, so different from our normal canoe-trip ones, was made necessary by the timing of George's classes this semester... and by the discovery of the timing of flood season in our otherwise-chosen-destination, NC's Lumber River.

Although this post has a huge number of pictures, it shows part of one day, out of those ten days of our trip.
I'll start in White Point Garden, the park at the end of most of the tours in Charleston.  It's a fine slice of trees and greenery, fountains and lawns, and it had lots of azaleas.  My husband is crazy about flowers, so the timing was perfect.  I loved this fish fountain -- I have a soft spot for Victorian decorative design (it must be the ragtime carousel fan in me).  There are more famous fountains in the city, but this was my fav.
The walking-tour part of Charleston has a lot of alleys.   I put in a great deal of research to come up with a good route, but in the end we just followed our noses.
 Something extremely delightful to encounter was fully-grown mango trees.  I buy mangos and eat them and plant the seeds, and I've sprouted a few.  But I'd never seen the mature adult tree.  Here they were, in all their tropical glory.
As one who has raised and watered and struggled over a potted mango sapling, this was amazing to me.   Those little yellow blobs:  baby mangos!
More alleys.
The ironwork on the many gates and fences and doors was intriguing to one who is always seeking patterns and designs.  I'm sure there is a book somewhere on just Charleston ironwork.  We snapped a few gates:
 The sense of a private garden 'just around the bend' is very strong.  To one with imagination it is a pleasure to peer through these fences.
 OK I'm leaving out some of the most important parts!!  Naturally we had to sample the horse drawn services.  As I said on my FaceBook,  I chose Old South Carriage Company.  It was the best bet for us and we were given a very good ride.  Note for other customers:  we got lucky and drew Zone 1, the best of the 3.
My husband pointed out that at a walk, pulling 8 people, our draft horse outpaced a jogger.  I had not noticed.
We didn't actually shoot pictures while on board; however, we did get these.  The horse's name was Ben.  Since we live in Central Pennsylvania, imagine our pleased surprise to discover Ben was of Amish origin.
As a harnessmaker, what was interesting to me was the sidestrap.  I'd never seen it run through the rein terrets and fastened to the collar.
Which just goes to show that after 38 years of studying harness and making models of it, you can still find something new.

Charleston is truly a beautiful city, and for southern charm it is well preserved.  We staged several passes through the lower blocks, walking for a total of about 5 hours.
This one is called the Gate of Swords.

 This was a personal fav.
Since both of us are ship-loving romantics, and since this tour is highly personal, you will not be surprised at the next 3 shots.  The outer boundary of the lower city is the sea.  What should we spot but a cargo ship coming in -- it instantly drew our attention (and our lenses).
Naturally, we had to watch it all the way in, which took a fair amount of time.
You do know, I hope, that the current incarnation of the Timaru Star is a cargo ship?  Of course, this was not her; but it still was very interesting to us.  Must tell this story sometime (see my earlier blog post, How the Timaru Star II got its name).

Back in the city, we found many beautiful flowers, doors and other objects.
Did I mention I like Victorian decorative design?
And that George likes flowers... ?  The flowers were just getting started, and the rest of our week featured great masses of azaleas, amoung others.
There are two natural endings for this post: the graveyard and the HSO house.  I think I will put them in that order, though it's rather arbitrary.
 The public is able to stroll through this graveyard.  The carving on the large cross was well worth studying.

Somewhere south of Broad St, in the eastern half, deep in the brick houses zone, we came upon this:
There had been the odd lawn statue about - I had seen pigs -- but this was indubitably equine.  Except none of them were Breyers.  Nothing modern at all!!  To my startled eyes it became clear that this house's collection was intentionally nineteenth-century... but that the urge to collect and display horse shaped objects transcends any such limits as mere time and place...
All but one of the objects were horses, of one sort or another.  Who needs plastic?

Even the white shed on the left had one.  Material?  I could only guess.
This one looked wood.
 And this one had to be brass.  Just like a doorstop I had at home - the other side is probably prettier.
This one also looked wooden.
This one amazed me.  It looked ceramic.  I pride myself on recognizing familiar horse molds, but I'd never seen 'hide nor hair' of this.  It was big!!

More oddballs.

This one, again, I think, was wood.  There must be a relationship to those carved-fish signs, and by extension, to ship figureheads... (and we're back to the TSII again, somewhat roundabout!).
This one was clearly metal.
And here my photo tour ends.   Hope you enjoyed your time in the city!

If you ever get to Charleston, be sure to wave at this house for me.


  1. The house with the HSO is so charming! They all look vintage and fit right in with the ambience of the place.