Charleston in Charleston County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
—Charleston Waterfront Park —
Charles Town, named for Charles II, was settled in 1670, a few miles north of this site, on the west bank of the Ashley River It was the capital of the Colony of the Carolinas. In 1671, the Lords Proprietors ordered a fort nearer the sea be laid out on Oyster Point at the juncture of the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, where there was a “bold landing” for ships. Charles Town moved to its present site in 1680 as one of America’s first planned cities. The “Grand Modell” centered on a square with a street along the Cooper River known as “The Bay”. Now East Bay, it lies to the west of this location and is still a principal commercial thoroughfare. The city was centered on the area around the Old Exchange building westward of this park. Exports of lumber, naval stores, salted meats and deer skins were the basis of the city’s first fortunes. Home to a diverse citizenry, early Charles Town took pride in her religious freedom and vigorous maritime trade.
Charles Town was a walled city from about 1704 to about 1720. The walls protected the city from hostile attacks by the Spaniards, French, Indians and pirates. In 1719, South Carolina overthrew the Lords
Charleston, so spelled after 1745, was quick to recover from the Revolution and military occupation. Rice, Sea Island cotton and trade provided the highest per capita wealth of any American city in 1860. Grand houses, public buildings, and plantations were built. Her advocacy of states’ rights, nullification and secession gave her national importance. The Civil War began in 1861 with the firing on Fort Sumter, three miles southeastward of this point. During four years of struggle, the waterfront was the scene of naval activities involving armored warships, torpedo boats, a submarine and blockade runners. This
In the early part of the 20th century, Charleston continued her slow recovery from war, military occupation and social upheaval. In 1900, a naval base was established on the Cooper River, four miles upstream. In 1902, the West Indian Exposition, on the site of Hampton Park on the north side of town drew international attention, and the Cooper River Bridge opened in 1929. Growth of the military presence in both World Wars buttressed the economy. The nations’ preservation movement began in Charleston where the first historic district zoning ordinance was adopted in 1931. The rebuilding of the port wall, begun after 1945, restored the harbor to its former maritime importance. On this spot, stood Mallory Line’s ship terminals, once the city’s busiest, were destroyed by a spectacular fire in 1955. Since the late 1970s, racial harmony, economic revitalization, a cultural renaissance, and attention to urban design have brought Charlestonians a new measure of prosperity and
[Each bronze panel includes a map of the city and harbor for the corresponding century plus a Braille version of the narrative text.]
Erected 1990 by City of Charleston, South Carolina.
Location. 32° 46.74′ N, 79° 55.505′ W. Marker is in Charleston, South Carolina, in Charleston County. Marker can be reached from Vendue Range Street east of Concord Street. Click for map. Marker panels are in Waterfront Park, east of the end of Vendue Range Street, and 1.5 blocks east of E. Bay Street (U.S. 52). Marker is in this post office area: Charleston SC 29401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Robert Smalls (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Elizabeth Timothy (about 500 feet away); Farmers and Exchange Bank (about 800 feet away); The Site of Craven Bastion (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lee Cohen Harby U.S. Custom House (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Old Exchange (approx. 0.2 miles away); 19 State Street (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Charleston.
Also see . . . Waterfront Park, Charleston. (Submitted on May 9, 2010, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
Categories. • Notable Places • Politics •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,504 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 7. submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. 8, 9. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.