The CSS H. L. Hunley was a submarine of the Confederate States of America that played a small part in the American Civil War, but a large role in the history of naval warfare.
H.L. Hunley, a small, hand-powered submarine, was privately built at Mobile, Alabama, in 1863, based on plans furnished by Horace Lawson Hunley, James R. McClintock and Baxter Watson. Her construction was sponsored by Mr. Hunley and superintended by Confederate officers W.A. Alexander and G.E. Dixon. Following trials in Mobile Bay, she was transported to Charleston, South Carolina, in August 1863 to serve in the defense of that port. On 29 August, while moored to a steamer, In Charleston Harbor, the Hunley sank, with five men lost. With a volunteer crew and a Naval officer at the helm, the curious sub had readied herself for a nighttime attack on a Union ship, but tragically, disaster struck and the Hunley disappeared off the end of Fort Johnson wharf. Four crew members escaped; the other five drowned. Charles Hasker, a crewmember who survived, later reported that the officer in charge, Lt. John A. Payne, had accidentally stepped on the lever controlling the dive planes, causing the submarine to dive while her hatches were still open. The sunken vessel was salvaged; within 72 hours of the fatal accident. Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard, in command of Confederate defenses, sent the following order: "Fish Torpedo still at bottom of bay, no one working on it. Adopt immediate measures to have it raised at once.
After salvage, she was given a new crew and began a series of tests. However, during diving trials on 15 October 1863, she failed to surface. Horace Lawson Hunley, who was directing her operation, and the rest of her men were drowned.
H.L. Hunley was again raised and repaired. With a third crew, and under orders to only operate on the surface, she began a series of attempts to attack United States Navy ships on blockade duty off Charleston. On 17 February 1864, these efforts were successful. H.L. Hunley approached the steam sloop of war USS Housatonic and detonated a spar torpedo against her side. The Federal ship sank rapidly, becoming the first warship to be lost to a submarine's attack.
However, H.L. Hunley did not return from this mission, and was presumed lost with all hands. Her fate remained a mystery for over 131 years, until May 1995, when a search led by author Clive Cussler located her wreck. On 8 August 2000, following extensive preliminary work, the H.L. Hunley was raised and taken to a conservation facility at the former Charleston Naval Base. At present, she is the subject of a careful preservation effort that ultimately should place her in suitable condition for general public exhibition.
A total of 21 sailors died in the three sinkings of the H.L. Hunley. The Union forces lost five sailors in the sinking of the USS Housatonic.
The Hunley crew members are buried at the Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston.
Today, the foremost minds in marine archaeology are using the latest technologies on one of the most challenging and unique recoveries of our time. State-of-the-art equipment is being provided by international companies such as Fuji, while others are donating their valuable time and expertise. Still, the conservation of the Hunley - will take much more time, money, and commitment.
No other laboratory in the world exists like the one that has been built for the Hunley. New techniques have been and are continuing to be developed to handle the problems of excavating and preserving this unique marine artifact. Flexibility has been built-in from the beginning; most of its state-of-the-art scientific equipment is mobile so that it can be moved to different places throughout each phase of the conservation process. Everything from video scopes, x-ray machines, and computers, to a wide spectrum of archeological supplies will be required throughout every phase of the project.
Hunley tours are available every Saturday from 10 AM - 5 PM and Sunday Noon – 5 PM (except Easter Sunday). Last tour begins at 4:40 PM. Tours are not available on weekdays so scientists can continue their work preserving the Hunley for future generations. All tour proceeds go to support the Hunley Project. To reach the Warren Lasch Conservation Center where the Hunley is being studied and restored from I-26, take exit 216-B, Cosgrove Avenue North.
At the 3rd traffic turn left onto Spruill Avenue.
At the next light, turn right onto McMillan.
Proceed onto the old Charleston Navy Base.
At the next light, turn right onto Hobson Avenue.
Go approximately 1 mile and turn left onto Supply Street.
You will pass the Commissioners of Public Works building with a blue roof and the Conservation Center will be directly on your left.
After visiting our 2nd historic house of the day it was time for an afternoon break and a stop at Paolo's Gelato Italiano. We had seen this place during our lunch stop next door, but we had decided we weren't ready for a dessert yet after lunch so we made it a point to stop back about 90 minutes later.
Once we stopped into the store we were overwhelmed at the wide variety of all sorts of tasty creations, all very authentic Italian. We actually only ended up getting a Hazelnut Flavored Gelatto with a Wafer Cookie as we were still a little full from lunch and didn't want to spoil our dinner a little later in the day.
What was unique were the number of flavors available and if you look at this video connection the different types of gelato creations they can prepare. They have cream flavors, fruit flavors and then the unique flower flavors (violet as an example) and even vegetable flavors (rosemary).
I wasn't sure how to classify this tip. But I opted to keep it separate from the restaurant reviews, since it's really not a restaurant but a hidden treasure in Charleston. Paolo has one other location in Atlanta. Paolo didn't serve us during the day, but when we walked by on the way back to our car later that evening we saw him serving up some creations to some other satisfied customers.
Charleston's Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, considered the Independence Hall of South Carolina, was constructed from 1767 to 1771. It has served as a custom house, mercantile exchange, military prison, military barracks, and post office. The South Carolina State Constitution was ratified in this building in 1790. President Washington visited Charleston and had dinner at the exchange in 1791.
The dungeon, located in the cellar of the exchange building, contains the remnants of the original city wall of Charleston, erected from 1670 to 1718. In the cellar, General Moultrie hid 10,000 pounds of powder during the 1780 British occupation of Charleston. Later the British occupiers used the cellar to house political prisoners.
Today the building owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution, and they give guided tours of all three levels of the building and the dungeon. The Old Exchange is open daily 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
The U.S. Post Office and Courthouse at the corner of Meeting and Broad Streets was constructed from 1887 to 1896, on the site of a a police guardhouse that was destroyed in the 1886 earthquake. Today the impressive building continues to serve as a United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. The building, designed in the Second Renaissance Revival style, was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 1974.
The Confederate Home was constructed around 1800 and was home to South Carolina's governor. Later the home, actually a large complex of a number of different properties, became a hotel. Following the Civil War, this building became a home for hundreds of widows of Confederate soldiers.
A plaque at the entrance to the great and historic building on Broad Street in downtown Charleston reads:
The Confederate Home
This handsome building, c. 1800 was constructed by Gilbert Chalmers. From 1810 to 1825 it was the home of Gov. John Geddes, who married the builder's daughter. During Gov. Geddes' term in office, Pres. James Monroe visited here. In 1867 Mary Amarinthia Yates Snowden and her sister Isabella Yates Snowden established a home here for Confederate widows and orphans and subsequently opened a college on the premises. It is still known as the Confederate Home.
Its a forgotten place only known by locals. Its on hwy 402 in Moncks Corner. If you get on 402 from hwy 17a/52 its about a half mile down, the road splits, left continues on 402 and the right takes you to a boat landing. Theres a cemetery in the center, the church is in the back of the grounds.
"In 1755 it burned by forest fire, six years later in 1761 the church was rebuilt. The ruins in the photograph are believed to be from this latter building. The British burned the church again in 1781 as they re-treated to Charleston. The church was restored and used until the end of the Confederacy. In 1886 the church was once more the victim of a forest fire." (info from Berkeley County Government)
Early one fall, we visited the Beidler Forest from our son's place in Summerville. We visited the little information center and took a self-guided tour on the boardwalk which runs through the old growth forest over the black swamp water. It was cool, calm and peaceful in the forest. We saw a few birds and some turtles sunning on the logs as we followed the tour pamphlet.
For groups of ten or more, a guided tour is available. There are also canoe trips which let you paddle the deep blackwater of the swamp and meet alligators and cottonmouths on their turf! You can gain another perspective by taking one of the night walks.
* Admissions: $7; ages 6 to 18 $3.50; Audubon members $6
* Days and Holidays Closed: M, New Year's Eve/Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day
* Days and Hours of Operation: T-Su 9am-5pm and occasionally on Monday
Directions: I-26 W to Exit 187- L Hwy 27 (S) to Hwy 78. Turn R (W). At fork, veer R to Hwy 178. Turn right on Francis Beidler Forest Rd (1st paved right). After 4 mi.- paved road makes a 90-degree turn left, veer R onto Mims Road (dirt road). Go a mile- on the right
The purpose of the canal was to shortcut the route planters from the interior of SC took to get their products to Charleston. They had been going down the Santee River to the Atlantic, and then had to go south along the coast to Charleston, which meant offloading the river barges into something more able to cope with the Atlantic. The canal connected the Santee River with the Cooper River which goes right down into Charleston. Most of the canal is now underwater in Lake Moultrie since the building of a dam on the river.
There is an interesting museum on the site which details the building of the canal, and also the natural history of the area.
Year Round Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ages 7-64 $3.00
Seniors (65 and older)$2.00
Children 6 and under FREE
One of the most forlorn lighthouses in the United States, Morris Island Lighthouse sits on a sand bar of what used to be Morris Island. At high tide, the base of the lighthouse is underwater. First illuminated in 1876, it was originally 2700 feet from the shoreline. But jetties that were constructed not long afterwards to help the shipping lanes of Charleston, had the effect of eroding Morris Island. By 1938, the erosion was so bad that Morris Island Lighthouse was automated, and the keepers buildings removed. In 1962 the lighthouse was decommissioned.
Today, it's an interesting sight to see this once proud lighthouse sitting abandoned out in the Atlantic Ocean. Located south of Charleston at the northern tip of Folly Island.
When we were in Charleston Maritime Center, this boat was docked ahead of us. I didn't take the tour, so I don't know how good they are.
They have History, Nature and Sunset Tours all aboard the Palmetto, a 45ft USCG certified catamaran. Maximum capacity is 49 people. The history tours are of Charleston Harbor I think.
Their website says: " Our nature tours and history tours are proud to have a local naturalist and local historian aboard who will interpret the sites your guests will see. The Palmetto is a versatile catamaran that allows our Captain to venture down salt marsh creeks, land the boat on the beach, and handle the harbor's waters smoothly. Experience Charleston, its harbor, and Lowcountry living like never before."
If you visit Charleston, you can't leave without visiting Sumter Island and exploring Fort Sumter. I have thoroughly enjoyed it!
Kids (6-11) $ 6.00
Rosebank Farms Cafe is a great Lowcountry restaurant in the Bohicket Marina on Seabrook Island, about 30 minutes from downtown Charleston.
The best time to go is about an hour before sunset so that you can have dinner and then sit outside and watch the sun set.
Food is delicious but expect to pay $17 to $22 for entrees. They have everything from Fried Chicken to Filet Mignon, as well as great seafood!
Rosebank Farms Cafe gets very busy in the summer especially between 7 -9 pm. (Note: they are only open from 5:30 to 9:30. And they only take reservations for large parties.)
Went here with a couple of old folks (Mom and her husband) and walked around the boardwalk with no problems whatsoever. A very easy, beautiful walk around the trees sitting in green, algae covered water....very photogenic! Saw a few birds and some fish in the water, but is was not hot under the trees, and everyone enjoyed the walkies.
about a 30-40 minute drive from Charleston.
If you want to do something really off the beaten path that's amazing go out to Morris Island by boat. The boat leaves from Folly Beach (20 minutes from downtown Charleston) and it is a private trip that won't break the bank but something the family will love! You'll have dolphins right next to the boat, learn about the estuaries and walk out to an old lighthouse on Morris Island. You can swim in tide pools, collect sea shells and you may be the only ones on the whole island. Your family will love it!
You will need a car to see this one. The Angel Oak is located on Johns Island. Estimated to be 300 to 400 years old, the tree is only 65 feet high but has a circumference of 25.5 feet and its area of shade is over 17,000 square feet. Other statistics, the largest limb has a circumference of 11.5 feet and the length of the longest limb is 89 feet.
The Angel Oak is a Live Oak which is native to the Lowcountry (Coastal Carolina). The oak is located in a small park owned by the City of Charleston. To get there you take US Highway 17 out of Charleston to Johns Island, get on Folly Road to Maybank Highway. On Maybank Highway you will see a small sign on the right hand side of the road. You will take this small bumpy road to the Angel Oak.
For the gift happy they do have a small gift shop and the day we were there a lady was outside the gift shop selling the straw baskets you see everywhere in Charleston.
Admission is Free, although they do accept donations or like us a small purchase in the gift shop made us feel better.