by coastal plain of sparkling beaches, spacious marshes,
and palmetto trees... Set in the center of the Carolina
LowCountry, like a single jewel on a golden chain... Welcome
to Charleston, South Carolina, city of history, mystery
How did this living museum of the American story come
To understand Charleston, I invite you back to 1663.
Discover King Charles II giving away Carolina, all
the land from Virginia to Florida. The recipients,
Eight Lords Proprietors, look upon the property as
developers; the colony is theirs to settle.
Move on to April, 1670. Imagine our site. Giant alligators
populate virgin forests draped in Spanish moss. Spy
the ship Carolina anchored in our fine harbor.
The colonists arrive. Ten years later, settlers move
to the peninsula defined by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers.
Life for Charles Towne, the oldest English city south
of Virginia, begins.
Three incentives draw new immigrants: free land, the
titles and estates of a landed aristocracy, and religious
freedom. In this small town, cultures of England, France,
Germany, Iberia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland,
and the West Indies blend.
colonists, searching for security and wealth,
discover our rich pluff mud is the perfect
environment for the cultivation of rice. Carolina
gold! Cultivated on high ground is indigo,
the original source of blue dye for denim,
and sea island cotton.
Once the means of creating fantastic wealth
becomes obvious, the cry for field labor
promotes expansion of the English slave
trade. By the early 1700's, Charles Towne's
population is an African majority. The
most cosmopolitan city of eighteenth century
Fast forward to the Revolution. On July
4th, 1776, picture the fourth largest municipality
in the colonies, the richest per capita.
Revolution arouses the citizenry. Three
signers of the Declaration of Independence
own homes here. The Palmetto State is born
in Charles Town, the capital of South Carolina.
Renamed in 1783, Charleston remains the
hub of Carolina long after the Revolution.
President George Washington visits in
1791. The Exchange where he is entertained,
the house where he stays, and the church
where he prays, are all open to the public
into the nineteenth century. South Carolinian John
C. Calhoun gives powerful voice to the cause of strong
state government. The great colonial city of the South
is now the cradle of secession. In 1860 the Ordinance
of Secession is signed here; within six months confederate
troops fire on Fort Sumter. War begins. Charleston,
home to real-life versions of Rhett Butler, harbors
blockade runners who supply the Confederacy. With the
end of the Civil War, America moves into the 20th century,
unequivocally, as "The United States".
abolition of slavery alters virtually everyone and
everything here. The production of wealth withers.
Reconstruction government departs and local leaders
seize control of city and state. Segregation becomes
the law of the land.
at the edge of American history, sultry, decaying,a
beauty "mellowed by time", Charleston enters
the twentieth century.Still inhabited by descendants
of colonial days, but overlooked by others, she is
preserved. We've arrived to 1931. While the Depression
bleeds America, Charlestonians pass the first preservation
ordinance in our country. From now on, this gem of
a city shall be protected, polished and put on display.
Our living museum of American history awaits your arrival.
Join us on a present day adventure into the past.