John Henry Devereux

John Henry Devereux
(John Henry Delorey)
Born (1840-07-26)26 July 1840
County Wexford, Ireland
Died 16 March 1920(1920-03-16) (aged 79)[1]
Charleston County, South Carolina, United States
St. Lawrence Cemetery[1]
32°48'53"N 79°56'37"W
Nationality Irish
Occupation Architect
Practice postbellum Civil War
Charleston architecture
Buildings United States Post Office and Courthouse (Charleston, SC)
St. Matthew's German Evangelical Lutheran Church
Projects Stella Maris Church
Stevens-Lathers House
Devereux Mansion
Design Second Empire architecture

John Henry Devereux (26 July 1840 – 16 March 1920), also called John Delorey before 1860,[2][upper-alpha 1] was an American architect and builder best known for his designs in Charleston, South Carolina. According to the National Park Service, he was the "most prolific architect of the post-Civil War era" in the Charleston area.[3] His works are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and one of his buildings is designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark: Charleston Post Office and Courthouse. In his career, he also managed to design a theatre, a synagogue, a Masonic hall (he became a Mason to do it, though he was Catholic), and Catholic and Lutheran churches, one of the latter being the tallest building in South Carolina for over a hundred years. He blended and mixed architectural influences and styles.


J. H. D. Devereux, ca 1902
son of John Henry Devereux

Devereux was born on 26 July 1840 in County Wexford in Ireland. His family immigrated to the United States in 1843 when he was 3 years old.[4]

The 1860 Census shows Devereaux (20) was the son of Nicholas (62) and Dorothy Delorey (58). He had two brothers, one older brother James (22) and one younger brother Nicholas Jr (16).[2] Devereux married Agatha Eulalie Brandt, a woman from France, in 1863.[4]

The 1870 Census shows Dorothy Devereux (John's mother), age 70, living with him in Charleston, South Carolina. That Census also shows John H. D. Devereux (son) as 5 years old. It also shows Eulalie (John's daughter) as being 3 years old, making her birth 1867 (the year Devereux's wife died).[5]

The 1880 Census of Moultrieville shows Dorothy "Dolly" Deveraux, his mother, living in John's household. His mother's birthplace is Ireland. In the 1880 Census it shows John Henry as a "Builder" in the Charleston area.[6]

The 1900 Census of Moultrieville, Charleston, South Carolina, shows him to be divorced.[7] The 1910 Census of Moultrieville shows he was widowed, as does the 1880 Census.[6] Devereux's death certificate shows he was a widower.[1]


An Irish immigrant, he started as a plasterer.[8] After studying architecture under Edward C. Jones,[3][8] a well-known Charleston architect and builder,[4] he became a noted architect of South Carolina's Lowcountry public edifices and churches.[8][9] He designed and built St. Matthew's Lutheran church in the period 1867–1872.[4] As a bonus he received from the church a sterling silver tea set.[4]

In 1872, he built St. Matthew's German Evangelical Lutheran Church, which at 255 feet was the tallest building in South Carolina, until 1973. Devereux became Superintendent of Construction and Repairs of the U.S. Treasury Department in 1885, and during that employment he designed the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse. His choice of Second Renaissance Revival architecture expressed the nobility popularly “associated with public architecture” during that epoch.[8] The building was a lengthy project, continuing unabated until 1896 and costing $500,000.[8]

Much of his work in Charleston is proximate to the corner of Meeting and Broad Streets, an area locally known as the "Four Corners of Law." The federal post office and courthouse exemplifies the importance of federal influence. Church and local government are additional components of the metaphor.[8][10] During British rule, the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse was the site of the gallows for public executions. The 1887 Congress authorized funds for construction of the Post Office and Courthouse building. Devereux, as the architect, started the design in 1890 and finished designing the building in 1896.[8]


Devereux was commissioned a captain in the Confederate Army in 1864 and was taken prisoner on 25 February 1865. He was imprisoned in Fortress Monroe, Virginia in Casement no. 6. and was paroled 10 May 1865, a month after Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House.[11]


As the death certificate documents, "Colonel" Devereux died from general arteriosclerosis with a contributing preexisting factor of "paralysis from Cerebral hemorrhage".[1]

Devereux was buried in Devereux Chapel in Charleston's Saint Lawrence Cemetery,[12] which was razed; there is a large sarcophagus with Devereux's name at the location where the Chapel used to be, but it has never been confirmed that Devereux's remains are actually in that sarcophagus.[11]

Selected architectural works

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
post office lobby

The National Park Service recognized him as Charleston's "most prolific architect of the post-Civil War era."[3] A partial listing follows:

Charleston, South Carolina – United States Post Office and Courthouse

This Charleston building was designed by Devereux in 1896. The building was individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, and is also within the boundaries of the National Register and National Historic Landmark Charleston Historic District. Today, the building continues to function as a post office and courthouse.[8]

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Devereux designed the large, Gothic church for the black congregation that was erected starting in spring 1891 and completed in 1892. [13]

St Matthew's German Lutheran Church

St Matthews

Responding to the needs of a growing German community, the German Lutherans purchased land on King Street on which to build a new church in 1867–72 and selected Devereux as the architect.[14] Devereux chose a Gothic Revival design. The original facade was stucco, scored to resemble stonework and painted in different colors, using paint that was mixed with sand, simulating the look of stonework using different colors of stone. This "polychrome" effect reflected a motif for church architecture popularized at the time in The Stones of Venice by John Ruskin.[3] As originally conceived, the black and white Ablaq facade was striking, although it has since been covered over.[15]

The church's steeple is the tallest in South Carolina, and for 101 years the church was the state's tallest building. Its height was only eclipsed in 1973 with the completion of the Tower at 1301 Gervais.[16][17][18][19][20]

In the cyclone of 1885, the steeple fell and its wrought iron spiral and finial built by Christopher Werner was destroyed, and not replaced due to cost. A fire in 1965 again toppled the steeple, which fell to the ground, the spire thrusting eighteen feet deep, where it remains embedded to this day. Fortunately, the church's stained glass was not affected. The church was restored.[14]

Stella Maris

Stella Maris Church

The Stella Maris Church was designed by John Henry Devereux who also was involved with its construction on Sullivan's Island in Charleston, South Carolina.[21][22][23]

20 South Battery (aka the Stevens-Lathers House or Battery Carriage House Inn)

Lathers House

Originally built in 1843 for Samuel S. Stevens, Devereaux was hired after the Civil War by its next owner, Colonel Richard Lathers, a Southerner who fought for the Union Army,[24] to remodel his home at 20 South Battery[9] in the Second Empire style, that was popular at that time. In the remodeling a library was added with a mansard roof overhead. There was a "ballroom" constructed, however its use was not for dancing but as a conference room instead. Colonel Lathers used the conference room for meetings with his wealthy Yankee connections and because of this was unpopular with the locals. He eventually had to leave the territory. As the current owner of the building, now converted to a Bed and Breakfast, tells it: "Charlestonians eventually told Lathers he was unwelcome so he took his Yankee blood money with him and left."[25][26] A different perspective is that the conference room was used to meet with such notables as New York Governor and Presidential Candidate John H. Seymour and William Cullen Bryant. It was written that "after attempting for four years to restore good will between men of the North and the South, Lathers sold the house and returned to New York."[27] Lathers was also a patron of architect Alexander Jackson Davis, after he returned to New York, creating "Lathers' Hill" and associated gothic cottages.[upper-alpha 2]
The house served as the Fabray's mansion in ABC's mini-series North and South[28]

Charleston Female Seminary

24 South Battery c.1790?

The western half of this 18th-century double tenement (the eastern half was demolished) was remodeled in 1870 for George S. Cook, the noted photographer he has been called "the Southern Mathew Brady". Devereux was the architect.[25][29]

225–227 King St. Academy of Music/Riviera Theatre

In 1830 on this site was Kerrison's Department Store (see List of defunct department stores of the United States), which was reputed to be "the South's oldest department store still in operation." When the store was destroyed in the great fire of 1838, it was rebuilt by Kerrison. In 1852 it was purchased by Browning & Leman, dry goods merchants, and a new store was designed by Charleston architect Edward C. Jones.

In 1869, architect John Henry Devereux remodeled the building, which became known as the Academy of Music. It opened on 1 December 1869 with a 1200 patron capacity, and which would often play to sold out houses.[30] The acoustics were first rate. It had a "Sun burner" gas light chandelier illumination system set in a faux "starlit sky" ceiling, and a proscenium arch "supported by gilded columns and moldings."[30] For seven decades it was "one of America's best known theatres . . . patterned after European opera houses" with excellent acoustics. Performers included Sarah Bernhardt, Fanny Brice, Billie Burke, Eddie Foy, Lily Langtry, Lillian Russell, John Philip Sousa and his band, the Ziegfeld Follies[30] and others of similar international acclaim. Important movies opened there.[30] Nevertheless, the building's aura faded, and it was demolished and a new one put up.[30][31][32][33]

In 1939 the Academy of Music was replaced with an Art Deco rendition called the Riviera Theatre.[34][upper-alpha 3] Architect Charles C. Denton described his new design as "classic modern."[35][upper-alpha 4]

249 King St.

In 1875, Susan Wood contracted for a three-story brick building designed and built by Devereux, replacing an earlier structure destroyed by fire that year. Although the Italianate facade was remodeled early in the 20th century, its architectural integrity remains. In order, it housed a dry goods merchant, J.R. Read & Co., and then a studio and residence of George Bernard.[33][36]

270 King Street Masonic Temple

In order to undertake this contract to build a Masonic Temple and defuse any criticism that it was designed by someone not a Mason, Devereux, who was a Roman Catholic, took the Entered Apprentice Degree of Masonry. He fashioned his design in the Tudor Gothic style,[14] and it was constructed of brick and stucco.[37] Though remodeled several times, its original beauty, as built in 1872, persists to a degree,[33][38][39] in part because of a 1984 remodeling in which the "Gothic-arched storefronts were restored."[40] See pic at Flickr.

134 Broad Street John Klinck House

Designed for wealthy Charleston grocery store owner John Klinch, the house was constructed in 1872. It is a combination of Gothic Revival and Italianate stylings, an upright-and-wing structure with a prominent two story porch across the wing.[41]

152 Broad St. c.1885

John Henry Devereux was the architect for William M. Bird, who was a partner with H.F. Welch. Their company was William M. Bird & Co., "wholesale dealers in paints, oils, glass, naval stores and ship chandlery." Bird never resided there, and in 1889 sold it to Otto Tiedeman, a wholesale grocer. Architectural detail mimicks features on the house at 24 South Battery. "Similarities include the prominent two tiered bay window, window treatment, piazza collonettes and railings, and other decorations. The house is faced with novelty siding typical of the period and the foundation is of Stoney Landing brick, made locally in the 1880s."[42]

68 St. Philip St. Brith Sholom Synagogue

The Orthodox Jewish congregation had its synagogue there in 1874–75. Abrahams & Seyle, architects designed the Classic Revival building, and Devereux was both an architect and contractor. In 1955–56. the building's interior was reconstructed inside the Brith Sholom Beth Israel Synagogue at 182 Rutledge Ave.[43][44] See History of the Jews in Charleston, South Carolina.

50 St. Philip St. Charleston Female Seminary

What is a now a parking lot includes the site of the Charleston Female Seminary, which was founded by Henrietta Aiken Kelley in 1870. "Miss Kelley's School", as it was called, was one of the South's leading girls' schools. Constructed in 1871, Devereux used "mixed Roman" or Italianate architecture, and "an arcaded and pedimented facade."[43][45][46]

circa 1875

1914 Middle Street, Sullivan's Island Devereux Mansion

Devereux's personal mansion, built by himself in 1875, was expansive and opulent. The elaborate gate house and massive main “once dwarfed all others on the island”.[47] Devereux took up residence in Charleston and spent his summers on Sullivan's Island.[4] His mansion gateway had whale's jawbones,[upper-alpha 5] and the garden contained a ship's wooden figurehead of a lady.[4] All that remains today is the Gatehouse that was restored in 2005 under the direction of C. Jennings Smith of Sullivan's Island, SC

Camden, South Carolina – Opera House

This building was designed by Devereux in 1885.[48][49]

Blackville, South Carolina - St. Matthew's

The plans for St. Matthew's were drawn in 1884.[50]



  1. His name has sometimes been styled as "Devereaux". See "Charleston SC Historic Churches". Retrieved 16 January 2012. "St. Matthew's German Lutheran Church". National Park Service. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  2. South Carolina Historical Society (1902). This Discursive Biographical Sketch of Colonel Richard Lathers, 1841–1902. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: J.P. Lippincott. Retrieved 6 January 2011. In 1890, the artist Frederic Remington purchased one of these cottages from which he created his estate "Endion", which served as the studio for most of his artistic career. "Study of a New York Suburb – New Rochelle". Architectural Record. 1909. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
  3. Other notable Art Deco Buildings in Charleston include: Martschink Building, 26 Cumberland St.; Kress Building 281 King St. ca.1931 See Smith, Ricardo, Riviera Poster, infra.
  4. "The Riviera closed its doors on 5 September 1977 leaving no motion picture house in operation in peninsular Charleston for the first time since the Theatorium opened in 1907." Coles, John; Tiedje, Mark. "Riviera Theatre". South Carolina Movie Theaters. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  5. Whale jawbones have been used as architectural accents and structures elsewhere. See North Berwick Law, Stewart Park, Aberdeen, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, The Meadows (park), Wyk auf Föhr (Carl Haeberlin Frisian Museum), Providensky District, and Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron


  1. 1 2 3 4 Death Certificate, Charleston, South Carolina, File No. 4569, 16 March 1920.
  2. 1 2 1860 Census Place is Moultrieville, Charleston, South Carolina. Ancestry Library Edition: 1860 Census; Roll: M653_1216; Family History Film: 805216; Page: 390; Image: 417 The name on the census record shows as "John Delorey [John Devereux]."
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Charleston Historic Religious and Community Buildings". National Park Service. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "S.C. Birthday," Charleston News and Courier 26 July 1947.
  5. The 1870 Census Place is Moultrieville, Charleston, South Carolina. Ancestry Library Edition: 1870 Census; Roll: M593_1487; Family History Film: 552986; Page: 403B; Image: 158
  6. 1 2 The 1880 Census Place is Moultrieville, Charleston, South Carolina. Ancestry Library Edition: 1880 Census; Roll: 1223; Family History Film: 1255223; Page: 51D; Enu District: 079
  7. Year: 1900; Census Place: Moultrieville, Charleston, South Carolina; Roll: T623_1521; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 134
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "GSA – U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, Charleston, SC.". General Services Administration. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  9. 1 2 Poston, Jonathan H. (1997). The Buildings of South Carolina: A Guide to the City’s Architecture (hardcover). Historic Charleston Foundation, University of South Carolina Press. pp. 168–169. ISBN 1-57003-202-5. ISBN 1-57003-202-5
  10. "Halsey map". Alfred O. Halsey Map Preservation Research Project. Preservation Society of Charleston. 1949. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  11. 1 2 "John Henry Devereux". Find a Grave. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  12. "St. Lawrence Cemetery". Find a Grave. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  13. "Perhaps the Best in the South". News and Courier. Charleston, South Carolina. December 1, 1891. p. 8. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  14. 1 2 3 Poston, Jonathan H. p. 386.
  15. "Charleston Historic District". National Register Historic Properties in South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
  16. "53. St. Matthew's German Lutheran Church". Charlston Walking Tours, Key to the City. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
  17. "St. Matthew's German Lutheran Church, 405 King St.". Charleston Public Library. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
  18. Legerton, Clifford L; Lilly, Edward G., Editor (1966). Historic Churches of Charleston. Charleston: Legerton & Co. pp. 40–41.
  19. Ravenel, Beatrice St. Julien (1904–1990); Julien, Carl (photographs); Carolina Art Association (1992). Architects of Charleston. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press. pp. 265–266. ISBN 0-87249-828-X. LCCN 91034126.
  20. Stoney, Samuel Gaillard (1960). This is Charleston: a survey of the architectural heritage of a unique American city. Carolina Art Association. p. 65.
  21. Charleston Irish
  22. Bowen, Matthew T. (March 2007). "Stella Maris Church" (photo). SCIWAY (South Carolina Information Highway). Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  23. "Stella Maris Church History". Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  24. Bellamy, Francis Rufus (1908). "Colonel Lather's Reminiscences". The Outlook. 88: 41. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  25. 1 2 Hastie, Drayton, owner of the 1843 Battery Carriage House Inn. "History of the Battery Carriage House Inn in Charleston, SC". Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  26. Lathers, Richard; Grafton, Alvin F., editor (1907). Reminiscences of Richard Lathers: 60 years of a Full Life in Massachusetts, South Carolina and New York. Grafton Press.
  27. Poston. Jonathan H, p. 269
  28. Internet Movie Database
  29. Stockton, Robert P. "Do you know your Charleston: Architect Devereux Directed Remodeling of 24 S. Battery". The Post and Courier. p. 1B 9 November 1981. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  30. 1 2 3 4 5 Coles, John; Tiedje, Mark. "Academy of Music – Charleston, SC". South Carolina Movie Theaters. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  31. Ravenel, Beatrice St. Julien. p. 211, 266
  32. Do You Know Your Charleston. The Post and Courier 22 July 1935.
  33. 1 2 3 "King Street (225–381)". Charleston County Public Library. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  34. Smith, Stephen A., AIA; Viera, Ricardo J.; King, Linwood R.; Smith, Lori S. "VIII. ART DECO 1920–1940: Riviera Theatre Architectural Drawings" (poster). ARCHITECTURE: STYLES OF HISTORIC CHARLESTON. Charleston Public Library. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  35. Coles, John; Tiedje, Mark. "Riviera Theatre". South Carolina Movie Theaters. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  36. Stockton, Robert P. The Post and Courier "Do you know your Charleston". 14 June 1982.
  37. Thomas, W.H.J. (17 June 1968). "Do You Know Your Charleston: Some Gothic Structures Still Survive in Charleston". The Post and Courier. pp. 6–7 (section B). Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  38. Stockton, Robert P. The Post and Courier "Do you know your Charleston". 24 May 1982
  39. Ravenel, Beatrice St. Julien. p. 266
  40. Poston, Jonathan H., p. 370.
  41. Poston, Jonathan H., p. 297.
  42. Stockton, Robert P. The Post and Courier "Do you know your Charleston". 16 Nov. 1981.
  43. 1 2 "Philip Street". Charleston Public Library. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  44. Legerton, Clifford L.; Lilly, Edward G., Editor (1966). Historic Churches of Charleston. Charleston: Legerton & Co. pp. 140–141.
  45. Stockton, Robert P. unpub. notes The Post and Courier.
  46. Whitelaw, Robert N. S.; Levkoff, Alice F. (1976). Charleston, come hell or high water: a history in photographs. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press. p. 89.
  47. Wells, John E.; Dalton, Robert E. (1992). The South Carolina architects, 1885–1935: a biographical dictionary. Richmond, Virginia: New South Architectural Press. p. 262. ISBN 1-882595-00-9.
  48. "Odds and Ends". Charleston News & Courier. March 13, 1885. p. 8. Retrieved Nov 12, 2012.
  49. "The Town Hall at Camden". Charleston News & Courier. March 17, 1885. p. 8. Retrieved Nov 12, 2012.
  50. "Odds and Ends". Charleston News & Courier. Sep 23, 1884. p. 8. Retrieved Nov 14, 2012.


Further reading

See also

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