Charleston

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Charleston is the oldest and second largest city in South Carolina.  The city lies just South of South Carolina coastline and is located on Charleston Harbor and inlet of the Atlantic Ocean.  It was formed by the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers.  Charleston was founded as Charles Town, honoring King Charles II of England in 1670, by the British.  Alan Gallay estimates that between 1670 and 1715 between 24,000 and 51,000 native Americans were captured and sold from South Carolina.   A major establishment of African slavery in the North American colonies occurred with the founding of Charles Town and South Carolina.  When colonists settled on the Charleston peninsula in 1680 an urban development plan called the Grand Model established an orderly grid of streets.  Charles town soon welcomed french Huguenots who imparted the Creole flavor that still colonize the area.  In 1783 it adopted its present spelling with its incorporation as a city at the close of the Revolutionary War.  Charleston was the only major city to have a majority enslaved population.  Antebellum Charleston was controlled by a militarized oligarchy of white planters and merchants.

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Charleston today is a city of pastel houses and tidy brick walled gardens behind lacy iron gates.  Another part of the beauty of Charleston is that the buildings are low with no skyscrapers.  The tallest and most pronounced buildings in the city are the churches and their majestic steeples.  It’s said that you can stand and gaze across the city from any direction and still be in sight of a church, this is why it’s called the “Holy City”.  This is so true no matter where we were at I could see the steeples of a church.  As hard as I tried I know I didn’t see all the Churches.  They are so overpowering on their beauty and height.

St. John Baptist 1890 and 1907,  Emanuel African Methodist 1816, First Sanctuary 1804, Unitarian church 1830 its the oldest in the South, Circular congregation 1892 brick with red door, St. Mathews German Lutheran 1872, St Mary Roman Catholic 1788.

St. Philips Episcopal church 1836 has a leaning steeple and it’s the Mother church of the Province established in 1670 as the oldest religious congregation in South Carolina.  Grace Episcopal 1846 has one of the four English Changing Ringing(bell ringing) towers in the city, French Huguenot 1845 starting in 1648 fleeing France to avoid religious persecution were worshiping in a church on this site. St John’s Cathedral 1854, First Baptist 1822, St Mathews Lutheran 1840, St. Michael’s oldest church built-in 1761 George Washington worship here.   Now you can see why they call Charleston holy City.

This is the parish house for St. Philips.  Even the alleys are unique as you walk down the street, looking between the homes on South Broad.

This is waterfront park its twelve acres along, with one half miles being the Cooper River.   The park was designed by Stuart O. Dawson and is composed of distance sections.  At the north is a large fountain and then you have the Vendue Wharf wooden pier which extends into the Cooper River.

The largest portion of the park is a dense canopy of oak trees and benches.  It was beautiful walking down this path.  Liz and I walked the river path first and then came back through the canopy of trees with park benches and water fountains along the way.

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They have a path that Pedestrians can walk along the Cooper river.  What a view you have a you get your exercise.

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Parallel to the shady urban park and adjacent to the riverfront is an open lawn in the middle where you will find a fountain called the pineapple, because of its design.

Liz and I wanted to tour Charleston so we decided to take the Charleston Carriage  Works.  Now how exciting is it to go on a horse driven carriage.  Gabbie was our driver and Donald (the horse) was our power.  Gabbie is a native to Charleston so she was very knowledgeable about the city.  Donald had a mind of his own if he wanted to go he would and stopped when and where he wanted to.  Liz and I have a wonderful time on the carriage and the history was great.  This was the first time we had traveled by a horse-drawn carriage.

On our carriage ride we learned a lot of history, way too much to remember it all.  The Mills House hotel was built by local grain merchant Otis Mills opened in 1853 -1968 as a 180 room hotel.  The hotel survived the destruction of the Civil War and later renamed the St John Hotel.  President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902 stayed at the hotel.  The original hotel was demolished because it was unsalvageable and a new 217 room replica was built.   Some elements from the original were retained, such as the original wrought iron balcony on the second floor and the terra-cotta window pediments, which were used to cast relics for the new building.

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Calhoun mansion was built-in 1875 for George W. Williams a businessman.  It took nearly five years to build and contained 35 grand rooms.  The 14 by 65 ft grand entrance is a sight to behold.  When Williams died, the house was inherited by Patrick Calhoun his son-in-law.  It was from his ownership that the house derived it common name as the Calhoun Mansion.  It opened as a hotel in 1914 and has been sold several time.   The home is now Charleston largest Private home & museum.  The Calhoun Mansion is known as the “Grande Dame” of Charleston’s great homes and was once dubbed “the greatest post civil war home on the eastern seaboards.  The house and grounds have appeared in ABC’s mini series North and South as the Hazard’s mansion and in Gunfight at  Grandson creek movie.

The Confederate Museum at Market hall was built-in 1841 and the main building of the Charleston City Market.  The hall was the commercial center of Charleston for many years and served as recruiting station during the civil war.   Since 1898 the Daughters of the Confederation has operated the Museum which contained flags, swords and other confederate memorabilia.  Charleston city market was established in 1790 and stretches for four city blocks.  Throughout the 19th century the market provided a convenient place for area farms and plantations to sell beef and produce, it also acted as a place for locals to gather and socialize.

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The old Exchange and Provost Dungeon also know as the Custom house and Exchange was built-in 1761 and owned by South Carolinas provincial government.  It served a variety of civic institutional functions, customs house, public market, public meeting place, and a prisoner of war facility operated by the british forces during the American Revolutionary War.  During the war confiscated tea was stored here in 1774.  It was used for many of the events during George Washington’s two-week stay.

The guys decided to stay back and go to church.  They went to a restaurant called 5 Churches actually in an old church.  It was beautiful inside, I took pictures of it and Kent and Johnny got to enjoy it.

After our carriage ride we met up with the guys at Quelogy in the paster side of 5 Churches they were having a bloody mary southern style, where you get your appetizers with your drink.

We had lunch at Tommy Condon’s an Irish tavern.  I ordered shrimp and grits for the first time.  The building was so Irish and the food was great.  Johnny orders my favorite shepherds pie and I ordered what he likes.  We are both broading our horizons on food.

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Charleston is the birthplace of many early American milestones, including the first permanent theater.  Dock Street Theater was built as a hotel in 1809 and converted to a theater in 1935.  On February 12, 1736 the original dock street theater opened with a performance of the Recruiting Officer.  The theater was the first building in America built exclusively to be used for theatrical performances.  Flora the first open performance in America took place at the Historic Dock Street Theater in Charleston.  The original dock street theatre was destroyed by the great fire of 1740 and in 1809 Planters hotel was built on it s sight the wrought iron balcony and sandstone columns of church street facade were added.  I so wanted to tour this old theater but it wasn’t open.  So all I could do was look into the windows and what I saw was beautiful.

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During the 1700 the Eastern portion of Broad street was occupied solely by merchants and craftsmen until the ” four corner of law ( federal courthouse and Post office, city Hall, and St Michael’s Episcopal Church) were built on their respective corners of Broad and Meeting Street.

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Old State Bank of South Carolina built-in 1881.  The building began housing local offers for bankers Trust in 1969.

This building is in located in what they call the French Quarter.  The United States custom-house constructed in 1853 but was interrupted in 1859 due to cost and the passively to South Carolina secession from the Union.  After the civil war construction was restarted in 1870 and completed in 1879.

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Church street is one of the prettiest residential streets in all of Charleston   While the Battery is lined with impressive stately mansions this quiet little tree canopied street is lined with some more modest yet beautiful homes.

These are a few pictures of what I call the rich and maybe famous.  They were beautiful as you can see.

No Kent you can’t afford the home or the car so just keep on walking.

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Story has it that The Three Sisters home-built in the 18 century by their father in hope that a gentleman would wed his daughter.   The pastel single homes were constructed in similarity style varying in color to represent the hair of each sister.  The story goes that neither of them every got married.

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The oldest house in Charleston is the pink house built-in 1694 as the Bermuda stone by John Breton in the French Quarters.  The building was a tavern in 1750 and sold to James Gordon in 1780 and is now an art gallery.

Joseph Verre single house was built-in 1767 he was a master carpenter.  The other pictures are views of the buildings as we walked.  There is so much to see and do in Charleston that we can only touch the surface.  Being limited with time and transportation you can only see surrounding what is close.  So we were unable to see the Magnolia plantation, Fort Sumter, Patriots pint naval maritime base.

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This is the best way to end each and every day of our trip.  Traveling with great friends and being with your best friend.

 

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