The Powder Magazine is a living history museum on the city's famed Museum Mile. Built in 1713, the Powder Magazine was the powder storage area for the small fort that was the start of the city. This structure served as a powder magazine from the time of its construction until around 1770 then again during the Revolutionary War. It has also been used as stables, a wine cellar, a print shop and now a museum. This is known as the oldest surviving public structure in the state and one of the oldest in America.
The powder Magazine is owned by The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of South Carolina. Not really sure what that means, but it sounds cool I guess.
Admission is $2 for adult, and it is also included in the $20 Museum Mile package.
From 1887 to 1888 Charleston installed two huge bell towers that look like deer stands or prison camp watch towers that housed the city's automated fire alarm warning bells. These towers, along with the city's orphanage held three large, 2500-pound bells that were connected to call boxes throughout the city, replacing the original electric fire alarm system that was installed in 1877. The bells were in operation until 1953.
The giant bell towers are located behind 5 Cannon Street and 112 Meeting Street.
The Circular Congregational Church was built around 1892 and is sort of circular in shape, but more like a clover leaf. This is the third church on this site, and an earlier church was actually the "Circular Church." Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973.
The first church here was constructed in 1732 for the Independent Church. The second church on this site was built by famed American architect Robert Mills from 1904 to 1806. The second church burned in 1861, but the ruins stood until destroyed by an earthquake in 1886. The present structure used bricks from the ruined second church.
The cemetery is the city's oldest with one gravestone remaining from the 17th century. This is a site of frequent lantern-light ghost tours, for just $18 a person!
Do Sunset on Isle of Palms...it was so peaceful and just a few folks on the beach. We went down about 5pm as the crowds were leaving and stayed until 9pm (nightfall) It was gorgeous and peaceful. We spent the next morning sunrise....watching the sun come up on Sullivan's Island. It was great. Wonderful views and great place to walk the beach. Not very many shells though!!! But it was great!!!
After you go to the Visitor's Center (which should be first), the next place you ought to go is Liberty Square - at least according to the National Park Service.
Liberty Square links the NPS facility (the Fort Sumpter Visitor's Center which has boat access to the fort plus educational facilites) with the South Carolina Aquarium. Liberty Square also as provides a public park and pedestrian access area. I didnt linger here very long- it was too cold.
They say "The garden rooms are reminiscent of Charleston's treasured gardens in its historic district. The design of the Square and facilities reflect a knowledge of and respect for site specific forces of nature without sacrificing human scale, historic compatibility or aesthetic quality."
The first time down the ICW, we stayed at the Charleston Harbor Marina which is actually at Patriot's Point right next to the state park which has the aircraft carrier Yorktown in addition to some other ships. We all toured the carrier and the submarine (we didn't have time for more because my DIL got lost and didn't get there until late).
Bob was disappointed in the carrier because it was completely changed from when he served on it, and he said that the planes displayed on the deck were not ones that would have flown from the carrier. He was happier with the submarine (which he had also served aboard).
Additional information on this Park is on my U.S.S. Yorktown State Park page
Adults (12 yrs.and older) $ 14.00
Seniors and Active Duty Military w/ID $ 12.00
Children (6 though 11 yrs.) $ 7.00
Children under six with Parent FREE
Hours of Operation
Open Daily (except Christmas) Tickets sold from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Ships close at 6:30 pm
I wanted to see town and I didnt want to sit on a carriage with a bunch of random people, so I thought about renting a bike. After calling around the best rates and deal that I found was Charleston Cruiser Rentals. The bicycle shoppe in town was $10 an hour, but they did 4 hour rentals at $20 and full 8 hour days at $30. We ended up getting a 3 day rental for $45. They gave us a helmet, a lock and a self guided tour included, and they also delivered to our hotel for free. When my parents in law came to meet us for the day, they took the hour long rental with the free guided tour for $20 and loved it. Apparently the carriages run on a lottery system and not all of them get to see the battery area, but the bikes can, and you get exercise, and you dont have to deal with the smell. The guy who delivered our bikes pointed us in the direction in everything we wanted to see and we got to do it at our own pace. Definetly the way to go. We took bikes to dinner and everywhere we wanted to go. We will use them again next time too. Low prices and unbeatable customer service.
While there has been a fort here for 171 years defending the seacoast, the most important part of Fort Moultrie history was the first decisive victory in the American Revolution. That fort was hastily erected using palmetto logs. The fort defenders discovered that the palmetto logs just absorbed the cannon balls fired by British warships and rendered them harmless. Plus of course, the British fleet commander made a number of mistakes in deploying his fleet.
The current fort is the third Fort Moultrie which was built in 1809. The exhibits in the museum cover the whole history of coastal defense in this area instead of concentrating solely on the Revolutionary War battle. When we visited there was a Civil War Reinactment, and those pictures are on my Fort Moultrie page. Note: You cannot get from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter
Open daily, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; closed New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
Seniors (62 and over): $1.00 Adults (17 and over): $3.00 Children (16 and under): Free Family: $5.00 Annual Pass: $20.00
A great tour to consider. The best alternative to all of those hyped-up ghost walks. You will enjoy an entertaining stroll through some of Charleston's most historic taverns and pubs, while listening to unusual (but true) stories of the city's past. Your licensed tour guide will present dressed in period attire - very fun and very professional. This tour came highly recommended to us and we now know why. Save a few dollars and book ahead online www.PubStroll.com
The visit of Sumter was the second aim of our travel in Charleston. The first was the first submarine Hunley. I wished to see the place in which the Civil War began. I am sure there would be the Civil War without the Fort Sumter but History tells us the attack of the Fort by the Charleston troups was the spark which made explode the "powder barrel ".
South Carolina withdrew from the Union but Fort Sumter had a Federal Garrison. Its commander (Major Anderson) decided to gather all his soldiers in the Fort which was easier to defend than the other fortifications even it was not completly finished.
He refused to surrender and the Brigadier general Beauregard (French origin ?), who commanded the confederate troups in Charleston, decided to open fire on the Fort on April 12th 1861. After 2 days of siege, Anderson accepted to surrender.
The Civil War had begun...
The Charleston Historic District.
The district has many historic buildings from the 18th and 19th Centuries. A few are accessable as House Museums, giving visitors an oportunity to see what life was like in a different era. One of the best of these is the Joseph Manigault House (See picture). It was built in 1803 by a wealthy family who made their fortune through rice farming amngst other things.
There are many other beautiful houses, many open to the public, giving one a glimpse into life during the latter 18th and 19th Centuries.
Located just across the river is Patriots Point Maritime Museum. The Museum is centered around the U.S.S. Yorktown (CV-10). Also on site is the U.S.S. Laffey (DD-724), a destroyer that survived an incredible Kamikaze attack in WW-II. The diesel submarine Clamagore (SS-343) was completed in late 1945 and did not see action in WW-II but was in service with the U.S. Navy until 1975. Undergoing each GUPPY upgrade (I, II, and III) it is the only Guppy III class Submarine restored and tourable in the U.S. The Coast Guard Cutter Ingham (WHEC-35) rounds out the ships on display.
Inside the Yorktown and on her Deck are numerous aircraft including the Hellcat, Corsair, and Hornet. A Congressional Medal of Honor museum is located on the Hangar Deck as is a museum remembering the Charleston Naval Yard.
Each ship has it's own tour that goes through the various stations and history of the ship. A Vietnam Support Base is stationed on-land and tells the history of a Patrol Boat Support Base during the Vietnam War
We took a horse and carriage ride with Palmetto Carriage Barn company, although there are plenty of carriage ride tours to choose from. We loved our tour as it really gave us a great history lesson on Charleston. We learned how much this city has been through, between the great fires and the earthquake. We saw historic homes and learned some important details about Charleston architecture. We also learned a lot about the culture of this unique city. I highly recommend doing this when you are visiting Charleston.
In my opinion, every visitor to Charleston should do one of the touristy carriage rides that leave from the Market. They're about an hour and give you a great overview of the City (I wouldn't' necessarily trust everything the guides tell you, but nonetheless, its a great intro to Charleston).
I personally love the walking tours. I think these are probably the best thing that visitors who are in search of culture and history can do during their stay. There are several companies that offer a variety of walking tours. Your hotel will be able to provide you with a list. They're generally about 2 hours long. We did a civil war walking tour and it was fantastic. I've heard the pirate tour is fantastic as well. There's also architectural walking tours.
Charleston is a smaller, compact city that can be toured very easily on foot. There's not much traffic, the streets are navigable, and there's something beautiful on almost every block. If you don't want to talk, there are several person and horse dawn cabs that can take you around town.
While you're in Charleston, be sure to take your time enjoying all of the beautiful buildings, many in bright colors that give Charleston its special ambience.
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