Charleston's South of Broad Neighborhood has Gone “Afowl”
By Holly Roberson, Guest Contributor
South of Broad conjures up images of wide double porticos, hidden gardens, and pre-constitution history. But lately, it’s starting to run afowl. Yes, I spelled the word correctly! Lamboll Street, with its 18th century homes just one block from the Battery, and a distinct air of southern sophistication, has had numerous spottings of gang activity: the guinea gang. Well, it’s not a gang so much as a growing brood of guinea fowl. It is rumored to have started with just two. Currently there are ten. Four are compliments of this year’s wild spring mating dances held stealthily behind numerous carriage houses. I first saw them during an early morning jog. I thought they were someone's pet chickens out for a stroll on King Street. However, these city guinea are no man’s pet. Though feral, they rarely stray from their territory on Lamboll Street or their routine, for that matter. Residents in this stately South of Broad neighborhood know their routine. Mornings mean unmistakable “Chi- chi- chi” and “Buckwheat buckwheat” calls. The “guard” guinea perch on columns as a lookout. The rest fly down from their night roost to root for bugs. Roaming from house to house pecking insects from the yard has a pattern. They have their breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner spots along Lamboll, Legare, and King streets. They prefer certain shrubs for their afternoon shady snoozes. And, they love to stop traffic.
You won’t find these city guinea in the tour guides, but they are kind of famous. Well known chefs, the Lee Brothers (Charleston SC natives) gave them a shout out in their cookbook. No, it was not a guinea recipe. They actually got a shout out and photo. And, an up and coming Charleston clothing line has named them their official mascot and featured them in the logo. When you stroll down to the end of King Street to visit White Point Gardens, don’t grouse about the traffic jam the "guinea crossing" creates. Just sit back and soak in this more than unlikely South of Broad event. As I mentioned ... these guys are kinda famous.