Inside The Historic Meeting Street Inn
Nestled in the charming historic district of Charleston, SC, today’s Meeting Street Inn offers distinctive lodging and unmistakable southern hospitality. Though this has not always been the case. The home of Meeting Street Inn has seen a number of owners and businesses grace its property, finally finding its fit in the late twentieth century when Meeting Street Inn opened its rooms for business. Here at Meeting Street Inn we are proud to uphold Charleston’s renowned tradition of gracious southern hospitality.
The ambience of this historic port city traces back to its origins as a proprietary English colony in 1670. Nearly 200 years after settlement in Charleston, the first structure at this location opened in December of 1836. The Charleston Theatre, a two story brick building, was designed to resemble Schinkle’s Royal Theatre of Berlin, Germany. In 1861 a devastating and widespread fire led to the demise of the theater.
Sadly, as a result of the depressed economic conditions attributed largely to the “War of Northern Agression,” the property lay in idle ruins for the next 14 years.
Baltimore philanthropist, Enoch Pratt, acquired the property in 1874 and proceeded to divide it into four lots. Pratt sold the two northerly lots to a German immigrant by the name of Adolph Tiefenthal who contracted D.A.J. Sullivan to construct the present 2800 sq. ft. structure fronting Meeting Street and reaching some 70 feet into the lot.
Tiefenthal’s Meeting Street Property was a remarkable innovation of the day, as it boasted piped and running water throughout the building. The ground floor houses a saloon and restaurant,
which sold German beer and wine wholesale. Tiefenthal and his family lived in the upper floors, a commonality in those days.
Tiefenthal died suddenly and left the property to his widow who remarried in 1878 to Francois Obdebeeck Jr. Obdebeeck Jr. was the son of the proprietor of Charleston’s elegant Pavillion Hotel. For the next six years the Obdebeeck’s made their home and a comfortable living at the inn, but retired in 1886 and leased the property to the Atlantic Brewing and Ice company, the first enterprise in Charleston to offer ice produced by means of mechanical refrigeration.
Around the turn of the century, a Mr. George Homickel acquired the lease and opened Savory Club and Restaurant, a first class eatery, serving meals-to-order day and night and catering events of all description. Homickle ordered the oversize side doors of what is now the lobby to be custom-made to accommodate ladies wearing hoopskirts.
Tiefenthal’s estate later sold the property to a William J. Hogan, who for the next 30-odd years operated a fashionable boutique, Genuine Antiques, Inc.
Between the early 1940s to 1980s, the property saw an array of small businesses come and go – auto parts, dental supply, a bicycle shop and a liquor store, just to name a few.
In 1981, the property was renovated and enlarged further into the lot, to become Meeting Street Inn. The inn thrived until its parent company failed in the late 1980s. The inn continued to operate under a receivership, but fell into disrepair. After extensive damages brought on by hurricane Hugo in September of 1989, this once elegant property found itself in a sad state of neglect.
In 1992 the property found its current tenant in Frances F. Limehouse. Limehouse acquired the property and immediately began extensive renovations to create the building it is today.
An accomplished innkeeper, some of Limehouese’s other restoration projects have included the Indigo Inn at #1 Maiden Lane, and the Jasmine House at 64 Hasell Street.
To this day, some say that the Inn is haunted by the late Mr. Tiefenthal. Some believe that Mrs. Tiefenthal’s blatant lack of a grieving period, which was frowned upon at that time, has left her husband’s spirit “unresolved,” leaving him to roam the upper rooms of the building.
Thousands of tourists visit the Inn each year, soaking in the history and making new memories. Meeting Street Inn is proud to be home to the rich history of this building, the numerous vacationers who come to visit, and the future memories to be made.