January 14, 2008

Charleston: Historic Center of the Old South

Charlestonís Broad Street
 Charleston Streets
Elegant Mansions
 Elegant Homes
Elegant Homes
 Elegant Homes
In the Carriage
 Betty in the Carriage
Skip, Sue, Margaret and Bill
 Skip, Sue, Margaret and Bill
St. Michael Church
 St. Michael Church

Betty and I spent several wonderful days in Charleston, South Carolina. 400 to 600,000 people live in and around Charleston. That makes it a bit larger than Savannah. It has an extremely large historical district with buildings dating from the 1700ís. But because of fires, most of the homes, governmental, commercial and churches were built in the 1800ís. The homes are larger and grander than in Savannah. The largest home is about 24,000 square feet. There was a recent sale of more than $7 million for one of these large antebellum mansions.

We did a couple of tourist tours through the town. One was in a carriage, which was relaxing and very interesting. The second was a bus-tour that concentrated on Black history and arts. Just to let you know, Charleston was the center of the slave trade before the civil war. So, the second tour was extremely interesting. We learned about Free Blacks who were slave owners. We learned about a Black rebellion in 1822 that was stopped before it started, when the 35 ring leaders, including Denmark Vesey, were hung and the rest we shipped out of Charleston. About 75% of the 25,000 people that lived in Charleston in the 1820ís were slave. We got to see the homes of the free Blacks. The major local handy-craft arts are quilts, baskets made of sweet grass and iron works. The greatest of the blacksmiths to produce wrought iron works is Phillip Simmons.

The weather was abnormally warm the first couple of days we were there, almost hitting 80f or 27c. We could not have asked for better. Now it is hard to believe that it has a sub-tropical climate, but the summers would be unbearable if not for modern air conditioning. We had many great meals there. We enjoyed seafood nearly everyday.

We stayed with Margaret Ford, a good friend of Mickie Turk. She was a wonderful host and showed us much of the city. One day we visited some friends of hers that are caretakers for an old society house. Skip and Sue Johnson explained the history of the house, which was used as a school for orphans when it was originally built, but is now mostly rented out for weddings and other galas. We visited St. Michaelís church and its graveyard, where at least one of the Declaration of Independence signers is buried. Later that day we all visited the Gibbs Museum of Art.

To see all our photos from Charleston, press HERE for a slideshow.

We had a great time in Charleston. It is rich in history. We met so many friendly and charming people in Charleston.

Posted by bill at January 14, 2008 07:33 PM

Thanks for this interesting information and the pictures.

This is a new experience for me (on the computer). I just started a note to you, then it was gone, so I don't know if it was sent or deleted.

Enjoy your travels. Keep me on your mailing list. Leila

Posted by: Leila Gilman at February 18, 2008 09:17 AM