Isaac Jenkins Mikell House

National Register Listing
Street Address:
94 Rutledge Ave., Charleston, SC (Charleston County)
Alternate Name:
Ficken House; Charleston Free Library

NRHP Nomination

Record Number:
Description and Narrative:
The Isaac Jenkins Mikell House, built ca. 1853 - ca. 1857, is architecturally significant as a transitional design, perhaps the first of Charleston’s grand classically-inspired dwellings to display both the classical Roman temple form that had been in usage and popularity for centuries and the emergent Italianate detailing of the mid-nineteenth century. While other Charleston residences of the period, such as the Robert William Roper House (ca. 1838) and the William Gatewood House (ca. 1843) followed the more conventional Greek Revival style that had been in vogue since about 1820, the Mikell House incorporated Italianate architectural elements on the exterior such as heavy corner quoins and belt courses, compass-head entrance doors with paneled flanking pilasters featuring foliate decorative festoons, first floor bi-partite window hoods with prominent projecting keystones and second floor window hoods that pierce the roof entablature, and on the interior compass-head doorways and elaborate marble mantels with horseshoe fireboxes. The Mikell House’s bold use of such heavy ornamentation layered upon an otherwise conventional Roman Revival temple form façade heralded the age of eclecticism in Charleston architecture. The dwelling with its physically connected kitchen house/servants’ quarters and the detached carriage house, are both contributing buildings. A historic masonry wall and iron fence also contributes to the nominated property. A parterre garden with swimming pool and a 1960s garden wall are non-contributing resources. Planter and lawyer Isaac Jenkins Mikell (1809-1881) constructed this residence for his third wife, Mary Martha Pope, whom he married in 1854, displaying a pattern of conspicuous consumption and privilege befitting his status. Mikell made his fortune producing long staple sea island cotton at five plantations on Edisto Island. Listed in the National Register March 11, 2014.
Period of Significance:
circa 1853 – 1857
Level of Significance:
Area of Significance:
National Register Determination:
Date of Certification:
March 11 2014