Charleston Stories

CHARLESTON DUELS

Charleston, probably more than any other American city, was the setting for numerous “affairs of honor,” a euphemism for the abhorrent practice of dueling. According to Dr. David Ramsey, a respected physician and noted historian in the late-18th and early-19th centuries, the propensity for dueling in Charleston was mostly to due to the climate because…

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Charleston Movie Sites

Thanks to Charleston’s rich history and emphasis on preservation, several movies and TV shows have been filmed here…too numerous to mention all. Two movies (fairly recent) in particular seem to strike a note with people on my tours. These are The Patriot and The Notebook. Early in The Patriot, Benjamin Martin, played by Mel Gibson,…

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The H.L. Hunley, Then and Now

On the chilly night of February 17, 1864, an odd looking, submersible vessel, slipped through Breach Inlet between the Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island toward the United States Navy’s blockading squadron about 5 miles beyond the mouth of Charleston Harbor. It was the H.L. Hunley, and when it had completed its mission, it would…

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My Favorite Charleston Alleys

I decided a while back to create a “Charleston Alleys and Hidden Passages Tour” because there are so many out of the way, narrow, and beautiful passages in Charleston’s Historic District.  There is a wealth of history with each alley and, as no two alleys are adjacent, there’s a wealth of sites and stories…

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Charleston’s Hidden Gems

I am frequently asked questions concerning the “must dos” on a Charleston vacation. While I’m happy to name several attractions that should be on everyone’s Charleston itinerary, I also like to point out a few excellent, but lesser known, attractions as well. I’ve listed a few of my favorites below, in no particular order. I…

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Martin Ufford’s Photos of Charleston

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The Strange, True Story of Dr. Francis Kinloch Huger and the Marquis de Lafayette

Every student of American History should know the name, Lafayette, the French nobleman, who accidentally landed at the Huger (pronounced “You-Gee”) plantation 50 miles north of Charleston. Major Benjamin Huger invited the Marquis to stay the night at his plantation (some sources say several nights). The story was passed down through generations of Hugers. From…

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ROBERT SMALLS – 1839 – 1915

Although born and raised a slave, Robert Smalls became the most famous African-American Charlestonian during the Civil War. Robert was born slave in Beaufort, S.C. and went on to become a most talented ship pilot. His talents were needed in Charleston during the Civil War and his owner, a Mr. McKee, sent Robert to work…

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The Second Presbyterian Church

Situated on one of the highest points in the City, “The Second Presbyterian Church of Charleston and Its Suburbs”, was completed on April 3, 1811 in order to accommodate the growing congregation of the First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, which itself was founded in 1731 and had outgrown its house of worship. Conceived in In 1809,…

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The Great Charleston Fire of 1861

On the evening of December 11, 1861, as a cold front bearing high winds swept into Charleston from the northeast, a fire started near the intersection of East Bay and Hasell Streets, about where Harris-Teeter is now located. The origin is not for certain, but many accounts attribute it to some slave refugees who had…

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