The house was built in the late Federal style by Scottish shipping merchant Charles Edmondston at the height of his commercial success. During the Panic of 1837 Edmondston was forced to sell his house. It was purchased by Charles Alston, a member of a well-established Low Country rice-planting dynasty who quickly set about updating the architecture of his house in the Greek Revival style.
The house has remained in the Alston family since 1838. Despite the ravages of the Civil War, the Earthquake of 1886 and numerous hurricanes, the Alston family pieces remain in place much as they have for over 150 years.