Situated along the bustling Kanawha Boulevard is the Craik-Patton house, an example of Greek-Revival architecture built in 1834. Originally located in the heart of 19th century Charleston, it has been moved twice in order to save the structure from demolition. In the late 20th century when America was less concerned about saving its past and more interested in erecting nondescript box buildings, the Craik-Patton house was save from the wreckers ball by the Colonial Dames of America and moved to its present location beside Daniel Boone Park along side the Kanawha River. This simple one story, two rooms deep house has a tall center section with a wing on either side. Leading to the center section are several stairs taking one up to a wide porch with tall solid columns supporting its roof. In a time when many residents would have lived in log cabins or less refined housing, the Craik-Patton house would have impressed Charleston citizens.
The majority of the present structure is original, but very little of its contents remain. Instead it is decorated with excellent examples of early 19th century furnishings, Windsor chairs, Queen Anne tables, Canton porcelain, American and French clocks, French wall paper, English chinaware, engravings, oil portraits, early maps, silhouettes, etc. One item of interest was the handsome writing desk in the office. Dr. Craik was a close friend of George Washington who gave Craik his writing desk with chair. For almost a hundred years these items were a part of the Craik house inventory until the administrators of Mount Vernon sought to return them to Washington's Potomac River estate. A reproduction of the desk is now on display in the house with hopes that a copy of the chair will be added in the near future. Unlike some house museums, the furnishings do not overwhelm the visitor. Yet one can gain much knowledge from studying the fine examples of decorative art that the mansion contains.
Hundreds of cars pass this structure every day, but very few stop either because they have business elsewhere or they are unaware of the gem that they are passing by. Because the site has low attendance, it presents the visitor with a wonderful opportunity to take ones time and thoroughly explore the house and grounds. During my visit the knowledgeable docent presented a wealth of historical information and details about the house's contents along with items not normally on display. This is an experience one doesn't get at major house museums such as Monticello and Mount Vernon. Depending on ones interests, a visitor can gain much knowledge of early 19th century life at this miniature historical site which makes it well worth the visitor's time and money.
Besides the impressive house, there is a lovely formal boxwood garden behind the structure lined with tall magnolia trees and beside the house, stately holly trees. A reconstructed log cabin on the property gives visitors a glimpse of what other natives were living in when the Craik's occupied their dwelling.
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