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Charleston, Day 1

I'm visiting Charleston, SC. I decided to go because of what I read about it in my 1893 guide book. Surprisingly, much of what is written is either still around, or there were pictures/exhibits of those things in the Charleston Museum. What's also surprising is when I visit some of the places mentioned in the guide book and ask people about what I read, they know what I'm talking about. This is really great and makes my trip even better. In a future entry will be a link to the entire photo album for those interested. Anyway, on to my guide's description (in bold), followed by what happened when I visited/looked for said places:

Charleston, the largest city of South Carolina and one of the chief seaports of the Southern States, occupies the end of the narrow peninsula formed by the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers about 6 M[etres] from their embouchure in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a pleasant old-fashioned town, with its main streets well paved and numerous picturesque private residences
embowered in semi-tropical flowers and trees.


Pop. (1890) 54,955, more than half of whom are colored. The land-locked harbour, since the completion of the new jetties, admits vessels of 20 ft. draught.
The small body of colonists under Col. Salye, sent out by the lords proprietors to take possession of the Carolinas in 1669, after calling at Port Royal, settled on the W. bank of the Ashley River, but soon (ca. 1680) transferred their town, named in honour of Charles II, to its present site. In 1685-6 numerous Huguenot emigrants were added to the population, and 1200 exiles from Acadia settled here in 1755. Charleston took a prominent share in the Revolution, repelled an attack on Sullivan's Island in 1776, and was captured by Sir Henry Clinton in 1780 after an obstinate defense.



The Civil War began in Charleston with the bombardment of Fort Sumpter (April 12-13 1861), and the city was more than once attacked by the Unionists in the ensuing years, being eventually evacuated in Feb., 1865. In 1886 Charleston was devastated by a severe earthquake, which has left numerous traces of its action in the form of ruined buildings, iron stays and clamps, and makeshift wooden fronts inserted in place of the destroyed brick ones.



Before the War Charleston was the chief cotton-shipping port of America, but its present prosperity is chiefly due to the discovery of extensive beds of excellent phosphates near the Ashley River; and the annual value of the exports of this article (including fertilizers) amounts to about $8,500,000. A visit to the Phosphate mines is interesting.


Charleston also carries on a considerable trade in timber, rice, fruit, and vegetables, and manufactures cotton, flour, carriages, machines, and other articles (value in 1890, $9,294,200).

The photos included above were all taken in the amazing Charleston Museum. So far that museum is my favourite thing here to do. Besides the above exhibits it lets you try on hoop skirts, see a mummy, a replica of the Rosetta Stone, and has numerous taxidermied animals, some of which are extinct. Oh, and there's this film they show about rice plantations, in which it specifically states that black people were the ideal race to grow and maintain the crops.

Following Meeting Street, the chief wholesale business street, from the Railway Station towards White Point, we pass the Charleston and St. Charles Hotels, the Market, and the Circular Church, recently rebuilt in a handsome style.


Went to both of the hotels mentioned. One is renamed the Mills Hotel and the other kept its original name. I went into each of these places and asked if they give tours. I was told, by both staff members, that they do not. I then asked if there was anything in their lobbies from about 100 years ago or so. One had a clock and some paintings, the other had a staircase and a mantle. Both of their outside facades were original as well. I did not take photos, but they are both very fancy places. As for the Circular Church, I only visited the cemetery, not the inside of the building.

Charleston prides itself, with some reason, on its charitable institutions. Perhaps the most prominent of these is the Orphan House, founded in 1792 and said to be the oldest American institution of its kind.

This Orphan home is, of course, gone. However, the wonderful Charleston Museum has a statue from it called "Charity".




Other important buildings are the College of Charleston, founded in 1788; St. Philip's Church, Church St., with Calhoun's grave in the churchyard (on the other side of the street); St. Finbar's Cathedral, rebuilt in 1890; the old Huguenot Church (liturgy translated from the French); the Medical College; and the Roper Hospital

I found Calhoun's grave!!!! So glad it told me to go across the street, because there are actually two different Calhoun slabs. One on each side of the graveyard. The last photo shows the entry sign to the graveyard. It says to ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK. Never seen a graveyard sign like that before.






Anyway, thanks for getting this far. More tomorrow!

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