Behind The Gate Home & History & Walking Tours: 
Testimonials, FAQs and Bibliography
A Walking Tour...A Home Tour...A History Tour...a Book Review

We were delighted to have Elise Detterbeck as our guide on a recent visit to Charleston. She makes history come alive with her deep knowledge of the city. She is energetic and articulate. As a former history teacher, I appreciate the fact that her presentation has been carefully researched. It is obvious that she loves Charleston, and she is able to connect her audience with the city. It made our trip to this beautiful city complete. There would be no better way to learn about Charleston than to take one of Elise's tours.
 Mary W., Wilmette, IL
Elise has been a Gibbes Museum of Art Educator for years. As Associate Curator of Education, she is my go-to person for pursuing new ideas and leading tours. She is enthusiastic, engaging, and knowledgeable. She is such an asset to our museum. Visitors young and old enjoy her guidance and interpretation efforts. 
Rebecca Sailor, Gibbes Museum of Art
Warren, Zach and I send you our warmest thanks for a wonderful tour through Charleston's incredible history this past Wednesday! We each learned so much that extended Zach's end-of-year studies and are grateful to you for having helped to add such wonderful dimension to this year's themes. We appreciate your insights on such a wonderful range of historical figures as well as your exuberance for Charleston!
Debbie S., NYC

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why are your tours unique?    First of all, each tour is for SMALL groups--2 to 8 people. Second, both tours are based on history: For Every House Has a Story, the tour is based on 10 incredible houses from different time periods, each important to Charleston's history. Each residence housed fascinating people, many of whose family stories are connected. All of them influenced the city's long and intriguing history. For "The Wings Tour": Elise provides the historical context for Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention of Wings, using a different set of houses as backdrop for this amazing story of two women & their struggle for freedom. Third, the walking component, through 4 streets in the South of Broad neighborhood, is enhanced by multiple images from the historical periods discussed. . 

This is a wonderful tour for history lovers' first visit to Charleston, or for return visitors, as it develops recurring themes and Charleston's unique culture. We like to think of it as a "guided conversation through time". 

Why no "small children"?   Both tours are history based for people who want to go deeply into Charleston's history,  focusing on recurring themes. Charleston was a major slave center-- it is estimated that 40% of the Africans that were enslaved in the Translatlantic trade came through the port of Charleston. In both Every House Has a Story & in The Wings Tour we make an attempt here to tell their story, as well as the elite planters who brought them here. 

How long does each tour take?   Both tours, about 4 blocks long in different directions, last about 2 hours.  All this history in 4 blocks!  

How do I pay for The Behind The Gate Home & History Tour?  We accept payment by cash or check the day of the tour, or pre-payment ($25 per person) by check. Just click on the blue box below or call 843-789-9763 to contact us for a reservation.  Sorry, no tours June through Labor Day.

Suggested reading:
A Charleston Sketchbook 1796-1806, Charles Fraser
Affra Harleston and Old Charles-Towne in South Carolina, Margaret Simons Middleton, 1971
A Golden Haze of Memory, The Making of Historic Charleston, Stephanie Yuhl, 2001
A Talent for Living: Josephine Pinckney and the Charleston Literary Tradition, Barbara Bellows, 2006
'Behind God's Back, Gullah Memories' , Herb Frasier, 2011
Charleston, Historic and Romantic, Harriette Kershaw Leiding, 1931
Charleston in 1883 ,Arthur Mazyk and Gene Waddell
Charleston in the Age of the Pinckneys, George C. Rogers, Jr., 1969 and 1984
Confederate Charleston, Robert Rosen, 1994
Denmark Vesey, The Buried History of America’s Largest Slave Rebellion, David Robertson, 1999
George Alfred Trenholm and The Company That Went to War, Ethel S. Nepveux, 1973
George A. Trenholm, Financial Genius of the Confederacy, Ethel Trenholm Seabrook Nepveux, 1999
Great Mischief, Josephine Pinckney, 1948
Patriots. Pistols and Petticoats, Walter J. Fraser, Jr., 1976
The Palmetto State, The Making of Modern South Carolina, Jack Bass and W. Scott Poole, 2009
Three O’Clock Dinner, Josephine Pinckney, 1945
Three Rivers Form an Ocean…Vignette of Life in Charleston, SC, James Funk, 2004
Slaves in the Family, Ed Ball, 1998
South Carolina, A History, Walter Edgar, 1998
Upheaval in Charleston: Earthquake and Murder on the Eve of Jim Crow, Susan Willams and Stephen Hoffius
The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
The Grimke Sisters from South Carolina: Pioneers in Women'sRights, Gerda Lerner

Contact Us
We loved your "Wings" tour. You brought the book alive for us! With the backdrop of those lovely Charleston gardens, houses & servants' quarters, your images fleshed out some of the important scenes in The Invention of Wings. You obviously researched the time period, & provided us with the historical context for the novel. Both Sarah Grimke & her servant, Handful, lived in a world so much different from ours. With your help, they became so real.   Sarah P., Kiawah Island, SC