"Following where my camera leads me!"

"Following where my camera leads me!"

Monday, August 29, 2016

Burns Lane

We hadn't been down this long alley yet. So we set off to explore.

Walking down the alley I kept admiring the big windows and their trim. I was wondering what the building was originally. No clues on the outside.

The alley empties out onto the bustling street. The front of the big brick building looks like this. I thought it was pretty and said so. I guessed maybe it had been a bank originally.
The stone arch and the urns out front are pretty. I could also see a pretty staircase.

 One of the stained glass windows had a soft light shining through. I stood there and admired that. And I said "well SOMEBODY'S home". LOL
On our return home I did some research and found this most certainly had not been a bank. LOL This was the old mortuary/funeral home of J.M. Connelley & Co. 
Jesse M. Connelley was an early Charleston resident who worked for the railroad and also sold sewing machines. He saved his pennies and purchased Frederick Ansel's undertaking business (on Calhoun Street) and founded his own business. Years later he purchased an old Federal style building built in 1796. The bricks were made at the old Boone Hall plantation. 
In 1893 Mr. Connelley bought all the corner land at Meeting and Burns streets. He had his architect/builder built the Romanesque style building in three stories and trimmed  the tall brick building in stone. 
Mr. Connelley was the first to introduce embalming in our state, and all the (then) modern ways of the undertaking business.
His morgue and coffin warehouse were large and well known and his house was right next door. In between the two buildings he placed a nice garden and a sparkling fountain. He was also known for his six big greenhouses and he had the very first cut-flower business in South Carolina. 
His funeral home was known as "the best" and he successfully served the elite of Charleston for many years. When he died in 1913, his son took over the business and later on became one of the very first to use motor carriages and motor hearses. 
He renovated the old building around 1930 and he is the one who placed the colorful and pretty stained glass in the big windows which I stood admiring, which was the chapel and had a big pipe organ!
In the fifties the business was bought by Harry Hooker, and when he died in the late seventies, the business was closed. 
Investors renovated the lovely old building into condos in the early eighties. 
What I want to know is "is the garden and the fountain still there??"....I plan to go by this week and find out! I will let you know. 

Down the street:
I have not shopped here, but I think it's a shop with vintage clothing and jewelry.

Laying by the model's feet was this bright and sparkly disco ball!
I would probably buy that over any of the outfits! ha ha LOL I would hang that in our living room!
Look what I bought several days later!! I just LOVE IT!! 



  1. Ha! Some of the prettiest buildings in the small towns I've lived in are the funeral homes. I don't think I would like to live in one though. Happy discoing!


  2. Interesting history of that beautiful old building! Love all the pictures.

  3. i love that colorful window! wouldn't it be so neat to stroll down these streets way back when?! what a history!

  4. Amazing what one can find when walking down a small street or alley.... I'll bet you will go back in the daytime and check some of those buildings out... Love that stained glass window...

    One of my best friends growing up lived in a funeral home. Her Daddy owned the funeral home ---and the family lived on the 2nd floor. I was always afraid to spend the night with her --thinking about the dead bodies below us.... ha ha

    Where are you going to hang your disco-ball?


  5. That's a beautiful building and it's interesting about the history of it. How nice that you can research and find so much out. I love the stained glass windows! And your disco ball is FAB! My son had one in his room back in the '70s! lol Some things are FAB forever! Hugs!

  6. What fascinating history! I do love walking down a wee alley like this one. Charleston has so many wonderful spots! I'm so glad you bring them to us!