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Lissa D'Aquisto Felzer's Charleston "Freedman's Cottage" project collection

Identifier: AMN 1140

Collection Overview

Series 1. Charleston "Freedman's Cottage" Property Histories This series holds final reports (some with drafts) written by students in Professor Felzer's preservation course: "Researching Historic Properties,"(ARTH-290). Reports were created in the Spring and Fall semesters of 2006 at the College of Charleston. The detailed property histories are derived from a variety of documents: deeds and indices; Charleston County and City ward books (tax records), and probate records; Charleston City directories; the Freedman's Bank Records; historical maps, plats, and census records. Each report includes a current photograph of the said property.

This series is organized in four (4) sub-series, depicting the geographical sections of Charleston, South Carolina: The Lower Peninsula, The West Side, The East Side and The Upper Peninsula.

Several of the student's property histories are referenced in Felzer's book, The Charleston "Freedman's Cottage": An Architectural Tradition, and are noted as such.


  • Creation: 2006


Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

The nature of the Avery Research Center's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Avery Research Center claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Historical Note

"Freedman's cottages" are one-room wide, single-story dwellings with side piazzas and a gable roof. They are occasionally described by architectural historians as a subset of the Charleston single house. The homes are considered a prime example of "vernacular architecture," a term for architecture which reflects local needs, traditions, and construction materials. Many cottages have been identified as being built in clusters by developers for rental in the years following the Civil War. By the early 20th century, there were more than one thousand cottages on the upper peninsula.

There is an ongoing debate as to whether the term "Freedman's cottage" is a valid description. Originally these houses were considered solely inhabited by newly freed slaves. Recent literature contends the phase is a misnomer as the homes were built and occupied by people of many ethnicities. For this reason, many refer to these homes as "Charleston cottages."

Lissa D'Aquisto Felzer has a Master of Science in historic preservation from the University of Pennsylvania, and has been working in this field since 1996. Felzer has worked with the City of Charleston as a Senior Preservation Planner, and as an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston. She is currently a Historic Preservation Consultant and partner with Felzer Consulting, Incorporated in Fort Mill, South Carolina.

Works Cited

"Employee List." Felzer Consulting, Inc. Web. 1 December 2014.

Miles, Suzannah Smith. "So Charleston: Charleston Cottages." Charleston Magazine. Web. 2 December 2014.

"Neighborhood Impact Initiative House Dedication." Historic Charleston Foundation. Web. 2 December 2014.

"Preservation Society buys Charleston Cottage..." Web. Preservation Society of Charleston. 2 December 2014.


1.7 linear feet (4 archival boxes)

Language of Materials



Lissa D'Aquisto Felzer is a former Senior Preservation Planner for the City of Charleston and adjunct professor with the College of Charleston. This collection contains final reports from Professor Felzer's course, "Researching Historic Properties" (ARTH-290) taught at the College of Charleston in 2006. Students were assigned to write detailed property histories of houses identified as "Freedman's cottages." The property histories are derived from a variety of documents: deeds and indices; Charleston County and City ward books (tax records) and probate records; City Directories (Charleston, South Carolina); the Freedman's Bank Records; historical maps, plats, census records and photographs.

The collection is organized by the geographical sections of Charleston, South Carolina: the Lower Peninsula, the West Side, the East Side, and the Upper Peninsula.

Collection Arrangement

This collection contains one series:

1. Charleston "Freedman's Cottage" Property Histories, 2006

Acquisitions Information

Student's final reports/property histories were donated by Lissa D'Aquisto Felzer, 2006.

Related Materials

Book: Felzer, Lissa D'Aquisto. The Charleston "Freedman's Cottage": An Architectural Tradition. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2008.

Processing Information

Processed by Georgette Mayo, December 2014

Edited by Aaron Spelbring,

Encoded by Aaron Spelbring,

Lissa D'Aquisto Felzer's Charleston "Freedman's Cottage" project collection AMN 1140
Finding aid prepared by Georgette Mayo
December 2014
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture Repository

125 Bull Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424 United States