Cobwebs…or Spanish Moss?

1850’s Means House vs. Modern

The Edward Means house, (604 Pinckney Street in the Old Point Neighborhood) was built in the

mid-1850’s by Franklin Talbird, and its finery includes fancy interior woodwork, marble mantels, and an extraordinary floating spiral staircase.

During the Civil War, it was used as Union Hospital number 2. A war correspondent for the New

One of the finest floating staircases in America. Photo from the Library of Congress.

York Daily Tribune wrote in December 1861, “The splendor of the houses and furniture and the beauty of the place may have been exaggerated, but the house of Colonel Edward Means would be called handsome in any town in the North.”[i]

Hearing his comment as a back-handed compliment, southerners insisted on mocking the man by changing his quote: “The house of Colonel Edward Means would be called handsome in any town in the North, but I detest these cobwebs that hang in the trees!”



[i] Historic Beaufort Foundation. A Guide to Historic Beaufort, 9th ed. Beaufort: Historic Beaufort Foundation, 1999. 57