Charleston, South Carolina

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

I had heard rave reviews of Charleston, and they're all true. Old Charleston is on a point between two rivers and in the old section the main streets run more or less north-south. Meeting Street is the central axis, with King Street to the west and Church and State Streets to the east. East Battery, which becomes East Bay, parallels the east shore. Major cross streets, from south to north, are South Battery, Tradd, Broad, Queen, Cumberland and North Market Streets.

Saint Michael's Church

80 Meeting Street

Built 1752-1761.


Meeting Street

St. Michael's spire in the distance.
Above: Charleston County Court House, completed in 1792. 77 Meeting Street Below left: 59 Meeting Street: The Branford-Horry House, dating from about 1750.

58 Meeting St. William Harvey House c.1770

57 Meeting Street

First Scots Presbyterian Church built about1814.

31 Meeting St.

The James Ladson House from about 1792

25 Meeting Street

The pink house was built around 1750 and has one of the best displays of earthquake bolts. These were giant turnbuckles that extended all the way through the house and which were tightened gradually to bring the masonry walls back into alignment with the wooden frames. The distinctive feature is that they are often randomly placed yet appear at the same positions on both sides of the house.

Below: closeups of the decorative rosettes on the ends of the bolts.

These can be used anyplace a building shifts and distorts. I know of old buildings here in Wisconsin that have them even though they've never experienced an earthquake.

16 Meeting St.

The Calhoun Mansion dates from 1876. It became the Calhoun Mansion after it was acquired by a descendant of John C. Calhoun.

7 Meeting Street

Josiah Smith House, built around 1785.

Below: 2 Meeting Street

New as Charleston goes, built in 1892.

The three story house below dates from 1846. It is located at 1 Meeting Street.  

French Huguenot Church

44 Queen Street. The French Huguenot (Protestant) Church. The present building dates from 1845 and was damaged in the Civil War and the 1886 earthquake. The church claims to be the only remaining independent Huguenot Church in America. So how does a French church stay alive in an English-speaking city? Services are in English, translated from the 18th century Huguenot liturgy. There is a French service once a year.

St. Philip's Episcopal Church

142 Church Street. St. Philip's Episcopal Church was rebuilt after a fire in 1835 and completed in 1838. It was badly damaged in the 1886 earthquake, which accounts for the slightly askew steeple.

Powder Magazine

Left and above: the Powder Magazine, built in 1712, is the oldest public building in Charleston. Life in Charleston was pretty hairy then, since it was the southernmost English settlement and vulnerable to raids by the Spanish, Indians, and pirates.

Old City Market

Left and below: Old City Market, home to various establishments and the gathering spot for carriage tours.

Circular Congregational Church

150 Meeting Street. Circular Congregational Church was built about 1890.

Charleston City Hall

Charleston City Hall was built 1800-1801.

South Battery

4 South Battery

A new house by Charleston standards, the Villa Marguerita was built in 1892-93.

View along South Battery.
Live oaks along South Battery.
20 South Battery

This large mansion was built about 1843.

22-24 South Battery

The large pink house dates from about 1858.

32 South Battery

The mansion with the turret was built around 1782.


Other Landmarks

Above: 21 East Battery

The Edmondston-Alston House was built in 1825.

Below: 27 King Street

The Brewton House dates from about 1765.

39 King Street

Built about 1850, seriously damaged in the 1886 earthquake.

55 King Street.
Detail of earthquake bolts
188 Meeting Street

Market Hall, built in 1841.


51 East Bay Street, built about 1799
122 East Bay

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, built in 1771-2.

The building where South Carolina passed the Ordinance of Secession that precipitated the Civil War was destroyed in a great fire in December, 1861. This placard commemorates the location.

Views in Old Charleston

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Created 28 March 2007, Last Update !--webbot bot="Timestamp" S-Type="EDITED" S-Format="%d %B %Y" -->