Article and photo by Josette King
Wentworth Mansion front parlor
What could be more romantic than a visit to the great antebellum mansions of Charleston? A stay at the Wentworth Mansion! Built in 1885-1887 in a quiet residential neighborhood as the private home of Francis Silas Rogers, a wealthy industrialist with a family of 13, the magnificent four-story Second Empire-style pink brick manor features a Mansard roof topped by a glass cupola in the center of a circular roof deck. With its panoramic view of the city skyline, the cupola had been the scene of many a private celebration over the years, with one of the more recent ones happening on the evening of my arrival. I had gone up to the roof deck to enjoy the sunset. Meanwhile a few feet away a marriage proposal was being made, and accepted.
Behind the classic facade no detail had been overlooked to create interiors of unsurpassed opulence and comfort. The front entrance double-doors were a masterpiece of jewel-toned Tiffany stained glass. In every room, the marble fireplaces were hand-carved, the intricate mahogany woodwork polished to a discrete gloss. The double parlor chandeliers were custom made of Austrian crystal.
Wentworth Mansion sunroom
One century later, the present owners have meticulously returned the property to its original splendor (with the welcome addition of twenty-first century amenities such as central air conditioning and oversize whirlpool bathtubs). And the legendary southern hospitality of the staff, unfailingly attentive and courteous is still in evidence. Click here for more on how my romantic notions of the antebellum south came alive at the Wentworth Mansion.