Robert Mills Manor

National Register Listing
Street Address:
Bounded by Queen, Smith, and Logan Sts.; Including Cromwell Alley, Wilson St., and portions of Franklin St., Charleston, SC (Charleston County)
Alternate Name:
Robert Mills Manor Extension; Jenkins Orphanage/Old Marine Hospital

NRHP Nomination

Record Number:
Description and Narrative:
Robert Mills Manor is an 11.7-acre, United States Housing Authority (USHA)-funded and -planned low-income housing complex within the Charleston Historic District. Constructed in two phases (Robert Mills Manor in 1938-1939 and Robert Mills Manor Extension in 1940-1941), the public housing complex was part of a nationwide, joint federal-local effort to provide low-income housing for poor American families. It includes twenty-six extant two- and three-story, multi-family residential buildings; three antebellum dwellings preserved and incorporated into the complex; and the ca. 1833 Robert Mills-designed former Marine Hospital, which was rehabilitated to serve as the Housing Authority of the City of Charleston Administrative Building. It is individually listed as an example of the application of the social ideals and planning standards of federal public housing at the local level, and as the first public housing complex designed, constructed, and managed by the Housing Authority of the City of Charleston. A segregated complex that served local white residents, the Manor was also part of a wave of slum clearance efforts in Charleston that resulted in the forced displacement of African American families from the city’s historic urban core. Robert Mills Manor is also eligible at the local level under Criterion C for Architecture as a generally intact, planned, low-income public housing complex designed with the standard low-rise, multi-family, grouped buildings, but with building materials and a Colonial Revival architectural style representative of Charleston’s existing historic built environment. Well-known local architects Albert Simons and Samuel Lapham – working as the Housing Authority of the City of Charleston Architects – with local landscape architect, Loutrel W. Briggs, incorporated historic brick, clay tile roofing, copper-flared hipped porch roofs, and decorative iron porch supports into the standard building plans. Robert Mills Manor retains a high degree of integrity and reflects the distinctive characteristics of the federal-assisted public housing program during the period of significance. Listed in the National Register September 24, 2021.
Period of Significance:
1938 – 1941
Level of Significance:
Area of Significance:
Architecture;Politics/Government;Social History
National Register Determination:
Date of Certification:
September 24 2021