Charleston is home to many famous buildings that have played a starring role in the city’s rich history. Here are three buildings you may have heard of (or would like to visit!)
Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
A National Historic Landmark, this colonial American building was constructed by the British in 1771 due to a growth in trade in Charles Town (Charleston). During the Revolutionary War, patriots were detained in the Provost.
“…Charleston was the namesake of one of the most hedonistic of English monarchs, and its unspoken mission was to build a miniature aristocratic London in the midst of a recreated English countryside inhabited by a landed gentry.
How did the vulnerable Charles Towne, the only fortified city in English America, become Charlestown, fourth largest, most beautiful, and wealthiest city in colonial America? The answer lies in the shipping trade. Rice, indigo, and slavery (“black ivory”) were the major ingredients in the original Low Country recipe, and it was on that simple but powerful economy that colonial Charlestown was built.” –Robert Rosen, A Short History of Charleston
The Powder Magazine
Known as the oldest public building in the Carolinas, the Powder Magazine was the storehouse for the powder that defended Charleston during the American Revolution. The Magazine has been restored to its original appearance and serves today as a National Historic Landmark.
“Holding about five tons of gunpowder, this building was dangerous, but necessary. Gunpowder was needed to supply the fortifications that surrounded colonial Charles Town. Early threats included the Spanish, French, pirates, slave rebellion, and native attacks.
The walls of The Powder Magazine are three feet thick solid brick…this facility was used as an arsenal from 1713 – 1748 and then temporarily reinstated by the Continental Army during the American Revolution in 1780.”
Morris Island Lighthouse
The Morris Island Lighthouse is near Folly Beach and is one of Charleston’s best known buildings. It is recognized as one of the top 100 cultural sites in the state of South Carolina, and a brief history is below.
1673 Three years after Charles Towne (Charleston) was founded, records show a navigation aid on Morris Island consisting of a raised metal pan filled with pitch and set afire at night.
1767 The first lighthouse, 42 feet tall, is built on Morris Island.
1838 A second, taller tower (102 feet tall) replaces the first lighthouse.
1862 The Civil War begins in 1861 and the lighthouse is destroyed in 1862 to prevent its use by Union troops as a lookout tower.
1876 The new Morris Island Lighthouse is illuminated on October 1, 1876.
1938 The Morris Island Lighthouse is now at the water’s edge.
1962 The Lighthouse is decommissioned and replaced by the new Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse. 1965 The lighthouse is sold to a private citizen by the Federal Government as surplus property.
1999 Save The Light, Inc. buys the historic lighthouse to preserve it for the people of South Carolina. In 2000, the lighthouse is transferred to the State of South Carolina through the Department of Natural Resources.
2007–2008 Save The Light, Inc. completes Phase I of the Morris Island Lighthouse preservation with the help of the Army Corps of Engineers.
2010 Save The Light, Inc. begins Phase II of the Morris Island Lighthouse preservation.
Have you visited any of these historic places?