Tour Beaufort's History: The John Mark Verdier House Museum
The John Mark Verdier House Museum is one of the most significant Beaufort landmarks and has its part in South Carolina history. Built in 1804, this magnificent home is a testament to the beauty of Federal style architecture located right in downtown Beaufort on Bay Street. John Mark inherited his father’s estate in the 1700s and became even wealthier by selling cotton in Europe. Verdier built a wharf and storage buildings for his ships and then spent much of his money constructing his new home on the opposite side of Bay Street.
The home was a show of status and wealth for him as he went from a merchant to a planter and is currently an absolute must-see when visiting our historic beautiful downtown Beaufort.
The interior shows examples of many fine architectural details, including an elaborate arch in the entrance hallway, and hand-carved trim at every turn. This 3 storied structure has black shutters that frame the large windows which are part of the Federal style. The tall columns lining the porch are classic and add extra elegance. There is a double set of entrance stairs leading to the main porch.
The furnishings and accessories currently exhibited in the house-turned-museum are exquisite period pieces that add to the authenticity. In fact, a number of items are original to the home. The private quarters for the family members have gleaming hardwood floors.
At the top of the gracefully curved interior staircase is a large ballroom with a small adjoining area that ladies would use to refresh themselves during a party.
Perhaps its most intriguing link to history is its connection to the Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette, who stayed at the Verdier House on the Beaufort leg of his 1825 U.S. tour. Despite the late hour of his arrival, a crowd gathered at the corner of Bay and Scott Streets, and Lafayette finally had to come to the entranceway to satisfy their desire for a speech.
When the Civil War came upon Beaufort in November of 1861, John Mark Verdier was among the Beaufort residents that fled their homes and left their lives and fortunes behind. His magnificent house became the home of the Union headquarters. By the time the war was over, like many of the Beaufort residents that fled, John lost his fortune.
The Verdier family was able to purchase the home back from tax auction after the war. It remained a commercial property after that until the time it was restored in the 1970’s and opened as the John Mark Verdier House Museum in 1976.
The John Mark Verdier House was listed on the National Historic Registry in 1971.
Today the home is maintained by the Historic Beaufort Foundation and can be seen weekly as part of a tour. It is also home to many exhibits throughout the year. The home is set up per period and has been brought back to one of its original colors.
Stop in and see what 200 years ago in Beaufort feels like. It’s open from 10am to 3:30pm, Monday through Saturday. There is a wonderful Civil War museum housed in the bottom floor of the home and also a beautiful example of tabby is displayed there.
For more information, or tour times, please call (843) 379-6335. Visit the Verdier House Museum, you can feel the history in every corner.
For more photos of the John Mark Verdier House and Museum, visit our Photo Gallery here.