Founded in 1670 and originally named Charles Town in honor of King Charles II of England, Charleston is the oldest city in South Carolina. South Carolina was one of the original Thirteen British Colonies. By 1690, Charleston was the fifth largest city in North America. Charleston adopted its present spelling with its incorporation as a city in 1783 at the close of the Revolutionary War. Charleston remained one of the 10 largest cities in the U.S until 1840.
Modern Charleston offers visitors small-town charm but is filled with big time attractions. This Southern city has a rich history, well-preserved architecture, top-notch restaurants and bars, and friendly people filled with Southern hospitality. This makes it a popular tourist destination often mentioned among top-cities to visit in the world by travel magazines such Travel and Leisure and Conde Naste Traveler.
The Charleston Battery
My focus today is on the area of Charleston known as the Battery. Visiting the Battery today you will see locals and tourists alike enjoying views of the Charleston Harbor and antebellum mansions, walking their dog, or enjoying a leisurely walk or run through White Point Gardens.
The Battery’s origin dates back to 1737 as a landmark defensive seawall and promenade. Given Charleston’s prominence and importance as a port in early American history, it was necessary to have a place for artillery to defend the city and harbor. It saw action in the American Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and the American Civil War. War memorials as spread throughout the park.
A Few Featured Homes
The Edmonton-Alston House (1825) is now a museum open for tours. It was one the first mansions homes built along the Battery and featured a Federal styling. Originally built by Charles Edmonston, the home was sold to Charles Alston and remains in the Alston family. Mr. Alston updated the home with Greek Revival stylings.
The William Washington house (c. 1768) shown in the image below on the left is the only pre-Revolutionary house on Charleston’s Battery. It was built in the Georgian style by Thomas Savage. In December 1785, Mr. Savage sold the home to Revolutionary War hero William Washington.
The Roper House is a Greek Revival home built in 1838 for cotton planter Robert William Roper. His father donated funds for Roper Hospital which is still serving people in Charleston. Mr. Roper died of Malaria in 1845 and the home has exchanged hands several times. I found it interesting that Solomon R. Guggenheim (Guggenheim museum in New York) once owned the home. Several former U.S. Presidents and international leaders have visited and stayed in this home.
The antebellum mansion called “Zero Water Street” (c. 1837) is one of twelve historic homes on the “High Battery”. In the image below, it is the center mansion of the first three shown. The third floor suite is available for vacation rental – Zerowaterstreet.com
The Charles Drayton house (c. 1885) features Medieval European and Chinese architectural references. Drayton came from a family that had made it’s wealth from a rice plantation (Drayton Hall Plantation). After the Civil War, Charles turned his attention to a successful business venture in mining phosphate from the Ashley River near his family’s plantation.
Two Meeting Street Inn is a popular bed and breakfast on the Battery.
This post will continue to evolve as I gather more photos and interesting facts about the Battery in my travel to historic Charleston. In the meantime, time to catch a carriage and enjoy the ride through the rest of a city with so much still to see.
Where in the world…