Charleston Tourist Attractions
If you want to see a well preserved "Southern belle" and breathe the atmosphere of the old white South, you must go to Charleston. Built on a peninsula where the Cooper River and the Ashley River flow into the Atlantic, it retains, to a greater extent than any other town in the southern states, the luxurious, almost aristocratic, ambience of the great days of plantation society - dependent as it was on the sweat and the misery of the blacks.
A walk or a drive in a horse-drawn carriage through the Historic District, with its Georgian mansions fronted by verandas and Classical columns and its slender church towers, makes it easy to see why the heroine of "Gone with the Wind" preferred to live in Charleston.Tourism is now a major element in the economy of Charleston, but the armed forces also make a considerable contribution. Transport planes of the United States Air Force drone almost constantly over the town, and ships of the United States Navy set out from the port on exercises.History The first British settlers landed on the marshy banks of the Kiawah (now the Ashley) River in April 1670, naming their settlement Charles Towne in honour of Charles II. A few years later, however, they moved to the more conveniently situated peninsula and began to develop a new town. Reinforced by new settlers, including French Huguenots, Charles Towne grew to become an important port that owed its prosperity to the trade in skins, rice and indigo. The planters living in the interior sought entertainment and relaxation in the town, and it acquired the first theatre, the first museum and the first college in North America. In 1773 Charleston was described as the wealthiest town in the American South. During the War of Independence the town was occupied in 1780 by British forces, who held it until December 1781. Eighty years later the bombardment of Fort Sumter, at the entrance to Charleston harbour, marked the beginning of the Civil War. The town suffered much damage during the war, but was rebuilt in the old style. It was similarly rebuilt in 1989 after being devastated by Hurricane Hugo.
The Charleston Historic District is comprised of buildings dating from the18th and 19th C. Three of the most famous of these are the City Market, the Powder Magazine, and St Philip's.
The Charleston Museum is the oldest municipal museum in North America, founded in 1773. It is devoted to the history and natural history of the coastal region. In front of the building is a replica of the Confederate submarine "Hunley", which carried out the first underwater attack in history. Nearby are two luxuriously furnished old mansions that are managed by the Museum: the Aiken-Rhett House (1817) at 48 Elizabeth Street and the Joseph Manigault House (1802) at 350 Meeting Street.
Official site: www.charlestonmuseum.com
Address: 360 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29403-6297, United States
The return to the City Market can be either along King Street, lined by antique dealers' shops, or on East Battery, with the beautiful Waterfront Park, from which there is a good view of the gigantic steel structure of the Grace Memorial Bridge, a double bridge spanning the Cooper River.The 12-acre park includes a 400-foot-long wharf, fishing pier and formal gardens.
Festival of Houses and Gardens
Organized by Historic Charleston Foundation, the Annual Festival of Houses and Gardens features tours and educational programs specifically geared toward architectural and gardening enthusiasts. Held during the peak of the historic port city's blooming season, the Festival offers guests the rare opportunity to see inside the private residential interiors and gardens of approximately 150 of America's most distinctive historic houses in 12 colonial and antebellum neighborhoods of Charleston.
Official site: www.historiccharleston.org/
Address: Box 1120, Charleston, SC 29402-1120, United States
Best Friend of Charleston
The Best Friend of Charleston Museum displays a replica of the "Best Friend" steam engine and many railroad artifacts. The "Best Friend" did much in its short life. It returned economic prosperity to Charleston and it instituted regularly scheduled steam passenger service.Although temporarily housed in Norfolk Southern Atlanta, the steam engine will soon find permanent placement in a glass enclosed building on John Street, behind the Visitor Center.
Official site: www.bestfriendofcharleston.org
Address: 456 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403-6230, United States
Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture
The Avery Research Center in Charleston collects photographs, letters, organizational records and minutes, newspapers, family albums, diaries, and church records for its archives. With these collections, the center strives to collect, preserve, and document the history and culture of African Americans in Charleston and the South Carolina Low Country.
Official site: avery.cofc.edu
Address: 125 Bull Street, Charleston, SC 29424-1247, United States
Gibbes Museum of Art
The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston was built in 1905. The collection includes more than 10,000 pieces of art and objects that reflect American fine arts with a Charleston perspective. The museum focuses on art of the American South. Visitors can explore stories of the Lowcountry as seen through painting, miniature portraiture, sculpture, photographs and more.
Official site: www.gibbesmuseum.org
Address: 135 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401-2297, United States
South Carolina Aquarium
The South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston features animals, plants and habitats from the five regions of the Southeast Appalachian Watershed. The Mountain Forest exhibit features indigenous plant life; the Piedmont Gallery explores the reservoirs and aquatic insect species; the Coast Gallery has a recreation of a salt marsh and the Ocean Gallery is a 322,000-gallon tank filled with hundreds of sea animals.
Official site: www.scaquarium.org
Address: 100 Aquarium Wharf, Charleston, SC 29401-6300, United States
American Military Museum
The American Military Museum in Charleston is dedicated to the men and women who have served, are serving, or will serve in the armed forces of the United States. Uniforms and artifacts are on display from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
Official site: www.americanmilitarymuseum.org
Address: 360 Concord Street, Charleston, SC 29401-3115, United States
Charles Towne Landing
Charles Towne is the site of the first permanent English settlement in South Carolina. It was founded in 1670.The 665-acre park showcases animals indigenous to the state in 1670, these include alligators, bobcats, bison, foxes, white tailed deer, pumas (cougars), and bears. A guided tram tour is available for visitors.
Official site: southcarolinaparks.com/park-finder/state-park/1575.aspx
Address: 1500 Old Towne Road, Charleston, SC 29407, United States
First Baptist Church
The First Baptist Church was organized on September 25, 1682 in Kittery, Maine. In 1696, pastor William Screven and 28 members of the Kittery congregation immigrated to Charleston.The Church has experienced extensive damage over the years but has managed to repair and resume worship.
Official site: www.fbcharleston.org
Address: 48 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401-2598, United States
The Hagood Stadium in Charleston was named for Brigadier General Johnson Hagood, Citadel 1847, who was chairman of the Board of Visitors from 1877 to 1898. Johnson Hagood Stadium is home to the Citadel Bulldogs' football and soccer teams. It seats 21,000.
Old Powder Magazine
The Old Powder Magazine in Charleston is the only public building remaining in North or South Carolina from the period of the Lords Proprietors, the group of English noblemen who originally owned and ruled the joint province of Carolina. The Magazine was crucial to the defense of the city.
Official site: www.powdermag.org
Address: 79 Cumberland Street, Charleston, SC 29401-3112, United States
The Aiken-Rhett House in Charleston was built in 1817. Much of the house is preserved as it was in the early 19th century. Original outbuildings include the kitchens, slave quarters, stables, privies and cattlesheds.
Official site: www.historiccharleston.org/experience/arh/
Address: 48 Elizabeth Street, Charleston, SC 29403-6250, United States
Battery (White Point Gardens)
The Battery in Charleston contains cannons and other war relics from Forts Moultrie and Sumter. White Point Gardens was established in 1837 but became Battery Ramsey when the Civil War began.
The Citadel Archives and Museum in Charleston represents the history of The Military College of South Carolina from its founding in 1842 to the present. Permanent exhibits feature military, athletic, academic and social aspects of cadet life.
Official site: www.citadel.edu/archivesandmuseum/
Address: 171 Moultrie Street, Charleston, SC 29409-0002, United States
Dock Street Theatre
The Dock Street Theatre in Charleston was the first building in America to be designed solely for theatrical performances. The Charleston Stage Company has performed at the Dock Street since 1978.
Official site: www.charlestonstage.com
Address: Box 356, Charleston, SC 29402, United States
The Huguenot Church in Charleston is the oldest continuously active Huguenot congregation in the United States today. The Huguenot Society of South Carolina was established in 1885.
Official site: www.huguenotsociety.org
Address: 138 Logan Street, Charleston, SC 29401-1941, United States
John Rutledge House
John Rutledge was one of 55 men who signed the Constitution of the United States. He built this home in Charleston in 1763 as a wedding gift for his wife. This antebellum home is now a Bed & Breakfast Inn.
Official site: www.johnrutledgehouseinn.com
Address: 116 Broad Street, Charleston, SC 29401-2437, United States
Joseph Manigault House
The Joseph Manigault House in Charleston was built in 1803. The home was near ruin in the 1920's until the Society for Preservation of Old Dwellings stepped in. The furniture is from the 18th and 19th century.
Official site: www.charlestonmuseum.org/joseph-manigault-house
Address: 350 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29403-6438, United States
Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim
Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim in Charleston is the second oldest synagogue in the United States and the oldest in continuous use. The original was built in 1749 and the building standing today was built in 1840.
Official site: www.kkbe.org
Address: 90 Hasell Street, Charleston, SC 29401-1418, United States
Karpeles Manuscript Museum
The Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Charleston is housed in a Greek Revival structure that was built in 1791. Regular art exhibits include paintings, sculptures, and photography.
Address: 68 Spring Street, Charleston, SC 29403-5326, United States
St John's Lutheran Church
St John's Lutheran Church in Charleston has a history that spans 250 years. The first church sanctuary was located on the present site and was dedicated on June 24, 1764. The congregation dates to 1742.
Official site: www.stjohnscharleston.org
Address: 5 Clifford Street, Charleston, SC 29401, United States
St Mary's Roman Catholic Church
St Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Charleston was the first Roman Catholic Church in the Carolinas and Georgias. The present building was completed in 1839 after a fire destroyed the original church.
Official site: www.catholic-doc.org/saintmarys/
Address: 89 Hasell Street, United States
Washington Square is Charleston's first public park, known as City Hall Park until the 1880's. It displays several monuments honoring South Carolinians and the very first fireproof structure.
The Calhoun Mansion in Charleston was built in 1876 and features walnut, cherry and oak woodwork, a ballroom, gas chandeliers and some of the original furniture.
Official site: calhounmansion.net
Address: 14-16 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29401-2724, United States
Charleston's City Hall building was built between 1800 and 1804. It began as the home of The First Bank of the United States and in 1818 became City Hall.
Official site: www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/charleston/cch.htm
Address: 80 Broad Street, United States
Forever Charleston tells the story of Charleston through images provided by museums, archives, private collections, and photographers.
Address: 375 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29403-6238, United States
The Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston has war dead from the War of 1812 through the Vietnam conflict. It is the oldest cemetery in Charleston.
Marion Square in Charleston contains several monuments, including a statue of John C. Calhoun.
St Michael's Episcopal Church
St Michael's Episcopal Church was the second Episcopal church in Charleston and was established in 1751. The interior includes box pews and the original pulpit.
Official site: www.stmichaelschurch.net
Address: 71 Broad Street, Charleston, SC 29401-2596, United States
Waring Historical Library
The Waring Historical Library houses rare books and special collections pertaining to the history of the health sciences.
Official site: waring.library.musc.edu
Address: Box 250403, Charleston, SC 29425, United States
Macaulay Museum of Dental History
The Macaulay Museum of Dental History in Charleston features a collection of dental artifacts such as a dental office from 1900, dental chairs and dental instruments.
Official site: waring.library.musc.edu/page.php?id=711
Address: Box 250403, Charleston, SC 29425, United States
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