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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charleston in Charleston County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

A History of Courtenay Square

 
 
A History of Courtenay Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 2, 2019
1. A History of Courtenay Square Marker
Inscription.  
Firefighting in Charleston
Fires, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and epidemics… although Charleston has faced many kinds of disasters over its long history, fire has had the greatest impact on the city.

In 1698 a great fire swept through the fledging settlement of Charles Town. Although the government established a night watch, taxed property owners to purchase firefighting equipment, and required chimneys to be built from brick or stone, devastating fires ravaged the city in 1700, 1740, and the 1770s.

Volunteer fire companies organized during the first half of the 19th century. Property owners purchased a membership to receive firefighting services. By 1870 over 1600 volunteer firefighters worked in a dozen companies.

It was the great fire of 1861 that prompted the city to establish a permanent firefighting organization. A small fire on Hasell Street became a great conflagration that roared across the peninsula burning 575 private homes and numerous public buildings and businesses.

As a result of the fire, in 1877 Charleston became the first American city to install Gamewell outdoor
Marker detail: 1949 map showing historic Charleston disaster locations including 1861 fire image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: 1949 map showing historic Charleston disaster locations including 1861 fire
In 1949 Alfred Halsey, a city alderman, compiled a map showing the location of historic Charleston disasters including the 1861 fire.
fire alarm boxes. In January 1882, Mayor William A. Courtenay established the city's first paid fire department. This commemorative bell was donated to the City to honor this achievement.

In August 1886, a disastrous earthquake struck Charleston. Fires broke out across the city. Debris obstructed the engine houses and the fire alarm system was rendered useless. Afterward, Mayor Courtenay built three new fire houses at strategic locations across the city: a central house here at Meeting and Wentworth streets, an upper house on Cannon Street near King Street, and a lower house on Meeting Street near Queen Street.

A Park for Mayor Courtenay
In 1885, the City of Charleston decided to honor Mayor William A. Courtenay with a park here on the corner of Meeting and Wentworth streets. The cast iron pavilion was erected as part of the park plan. It is a typical Victorian-era shelter used in parks and gardens throughout the United States. After the earthquake of 1886, Charleston City Council decided to build a new firehouse here instead. Perhaps they kept the pavilion since it was Mayor Courtenay who helped establish the first paid fire department.

Artesian Well
Originally, the fountain in this courtyard was fed by an artesian well. It was one of several wells installed around the city to provide clean water to residents in the 19th century.
Marker detail: Mayor Courtenay image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Mayor Courtenay
This well was a challenge to dig. It took three attempts, three decades, and $150,000.00 before a sufficient amount of water was reached nearly 2,000 feet below the surface in 1877.
 
Location. 32° 47.011′ N, 79° 55.915′ W. Marker is in Charleston, South Carolina, in Charleston County. Marker is at the intersection of Meeting Street and Wentworth Street, on the right when traveling north on Meeting Street. Marker is located beside the fire station, in the plaza at the northeast corner of the intersection. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 264 Meeting Street, Charleston SC 29401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. William C. McElheran House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. Peter's Catholic Church (about 400 feet away); Dr. Joseph Johnson House   (about 400 feet away); Trinity Methodist Church Original Site / William Hammett (about 400 feet away); Col. William Rhett House (about 500 feet away); William Rhett House (about 500 feet away); The Noyer-Wildhagen House (about 600 feet away); St. Stephen's Episcopal Church (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charleston.
 
Also see . . .  William Ashmead Courtenay (Wikipedia). William Ashmead Courtenay was the forty-sixth mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, serving two
Marker detail: Horse-pulled fire pump leaving the station image. Click for full size.
By The Charleston Museum
4. Marker detail: Horse-pulled fire pump leaving the station
terms from 1879 to 1887. (Submitted on June 19, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. DisastersParks & Recreational Areas
 
History of Courtenay Square Marker • wide view<br>(<i>marker visible left, beside fire station</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 2, 2019
5. History of Courtenay Square Marker • wide view
(marker visible left, beside fire station)
Commemorative bell honoring Charleston’s first paid fire department is visible in background. Drinking fountain is visible in center of pavilion.
Charleston Fire Station, Courtenay Square image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 2, 2019
6. Charleston Fire Station, Courtenay Square
Courtenay Square (<i>wide view from Wentworh & Meeting Street intersection</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 2, 2019
7. Courtenay Square (wide view from Wentworh & Meeting Street intersection)
 

More. Search the internet for A History of Courtenay Square.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 19, 2019. This page originally submitted on June 19, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 69 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on June 19, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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