Cabbage Row - Catfish Row
In the early 1920's, Du Bose Heyward wrote the book "Porgy" based on the comings and goings of the residents of 89 and 91 Church Street. The Building was commonly known at that time as Cabbage Row because of the cabbages grown in the court yard and sold on the doorstep.
In Heyward's book the location of the building was changed to the waterfront and renamed the buildings as Catfish Row.
The Building has had a colorful history from being a tenement for many years, A much missed ladies dress shop, Porgy & Bess; and now the new home to Carolina Antique Maps and Prints at 91 Church. We moved the Print Shop from King Street in 2001.
"Catfish Row, in which Porgy lived, was not a row at all, but a great brick structure that lifted its three stories about the three sides of the court..... and pierced in its center by a wide entrance way. Over the entrance there still remained a massive grill of Italian wrought iron, a battered capital of marble surmounted each of the lofty gate-posts. The court itself was paved with large flag-stones, which even beneath the accumulated grime of a century, glimmered with faint and varying pastel shades in direct sunlight. The south wall, which was always in shadow, was lichened from pavement to rotting gutter; and opposite, the northern face, unbroken except by rows of small paned windows, showed every color through its flaking stucco, and, in summer, a steady blaze of scarlet from rows of geraniums that bloomed in old vegetable tins upon every window sill.
Within the high ceilinged rooms, with their battered colonial mantels and broken decorations of Adam designs in plaster, governors had come and gone, and ambassadors of kings had schemed and danced....
archived photo from the collection of The Historic Charleston Foundation of the building