Over the past several months students from the Clemson University / College of Charleston Graduate Program in Historic Preservation have spent time at the Roper House and completing a Historic Structure Report. The students researched the history of the home, studied the architecture, and reported on the home’s condition, identifying historically significant and original features.
The detailed report includes a chronology of the house’s history starting on May 25, 1839, when Robert Roper purchased the lot of land, and through December 10, 2018, when Classical American Homes Preservation Trust took ownership of the property, devised by CAHPT founder Richard H. Jenrette upon his passing earlier that year. The students researched potential threats to The Roper House, such as fire, hurricane, freeze/thaw, and earthquake, and found the most concerning issue for the building is sea level rise (SLR). It is reported sea levels in Charleston Harbor have risen about one foot since 1921 and are expected to continue to rise. Predictions are given based on one, two, and three feet of SLR, showing the impact on the Roper House and recommending various interventions, such as raising the home, installing floodgates, using pumps to keep the crawlspace dry, and keeping in touch with local government regarding any infrastructure changes the city might implement.
The report also contains recommended maintenance schedules and suggestions for future use of the property, including impacts and mitigation for each potential situation. For example, there are several recommendations for continuing to use the property as a house museum, such as roping off the garden, including instructional signage, setting up ropes and stanchions to designate a clear path of circulation for groups, and limiting the size of groups. We are thankful to have all of this information and look forward to implementing the necessary updates to the house.
Click here to browse through the report and read more about the students’ diligent research!