Charleston, South Carolina
|— City —|
|City of Charleston|
|St. Michael's on Broad Street.|
|Nickname(s): "The Holy City", "Chucktown"|
|Motto: Aedes mores juraque curat (Latin: "She guards her buildings, customs, and laws")|
|Country||United States of America|
|Historic colony||Colony of South Carolina|
|• Mayor||Joseph Riley, Jr. (D)|
|• City||405.5 km2 (164.1 sq mi)|
|• Land||361.2 km2 (147.0 sq mi)|
|• Water||44.3 km2 (17.1 sq mi)|
|Elevation||4 m (20 ft)|
|• City||124,632 (US: 208th)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP code(s)||29401, 29403, 29405, 29406, 29407, 29409, 29412, 29414, 29424, 29425, 29455, 29492|
|GNIS feature ID||1221516|
Charleston is the oldest and second-largest city in the southeastern U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County, and the principal city in the Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina's coastline and is located on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers.
Founded in 1670 as Charles Towne in honor of King Charles II of England, Charleston adopted its present name in 1783. It moved to its present location on Oyster Point in 1680 from a location on the west bank of the Ashley River known as Albemarle Point. By 1690, Charles Towne was the fifth largest city in North America, and it remained among the ten largest cities in the United States through the 1840 census. With a 2010 census population of 120,080 (and a 2012 estimate of 124,632), current trends put Charleston as the fastest-growing municipality in South Carolina. The city's metropolitan area population was counted by the 2010 census at 664,607 – the second largest in the state – and the 75th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.
Known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, restaurant community, and mannerly people, Charleston has received a large number of accolades, including "America's Most Friendly [City]" by Travel + Leisure in 2011 and "the most polite and hospitable city in America" by Southern Living magazine.
Colonial era (1670–1776) 
After Charles II of England (1630–1685) was restored to the English throne following Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate, he granted the chartered Province of Carolina to eight of his loyal friends, known as the Lords Proprietors, on March 24, 1663. It took seven years before the group could arrange for settlement expeditions. The first of these founded Charles Towne, in 1670. The community was established under the leadership of William Sayle on the west bank of the Ashley River, a few miles northwest of the present day city center. It was soon predicted by Anthony Ashley-Cooper, one of the Lords Proprietors, to become a "great port towne," a destiny the city quickly fulfilled. By 1680 the settlement was enlarged by additional immigrants from England, Barbados, and the Province of Virginia. It was at this time that the town center was relocated to its current peninsular location. As the capital of the Carolina colony, Charles Towne was a center for further expansion, but remained the southernmost point of English settlement on the American mainland during the late 17th century.
The early settlement was often subject to attack from sea and land, including periodic assaults from Spain and France (both of whom contested England's claims to the region), and pirates. These were combined with raids by Native Americans, who violently resisted further expansion of the settlement.
While the earliest settlers primarily came from England, colonial Charles Towne was also home to a mixture of ethnic and religious groups. French, Scottish, Irish, and Germans migrated to the developing seacoast town, representing numerous Protestant denominations, as well as Roman Catholicism and Judaism. Sephardic Jews migrated to the city in such numbers that by the beginning of the 19th century the city was home to the largest and wealthiest Jewish community in North America—a status it would hold until about 1830. Africans were brought to Charles Towne on the Middle Passage, first as servants, then as slaves, especially Wolof, Yoruba, Fulani, Igbo, Malinke, and other peoples of the Windward Coast. The port of Charles Towne was the main dropping-off point for Africans captured and transported to the American English colonies for sale as slaves.
By the mid-18th century Charles Towne had become a bustling trade center, the hub of the Atlantic trade for the southern colonies. Charles Towne was also the wealthiest and largest city south of Philadelphia. By 1770, it was the fourth largest port in the colonies, after Boston, New York, and Philadelphia; with a population of 11,000—slightly more than half of them slaves.
Charles Towne was a hub of the deerskin trade. In fact, deerskin trade was the basis of Charles Towne's early economy. Trade alliances with the Cherokee and Creek insured a steady supply of deer hides. Between 1699 and 1715, an average of 54,000 deer skins were exported annually to Europe through Charles Towne. Between 1739 and 1761, the height of the deerskin trade era, an estimated 500,000 to 1,250,000 deer were slaughtered. During the same period, Charles Towne records show an export of 5,239,350 pounds of deer skins. Deer skins were used in the production of men's fashionable and practical buckskin pantaloons, gloves, and book bindings.
Colonial low-country landowners experimented with cash crops ranging from tea to silk. African slaves brought knowledge of rice cultivation, which plantation owners made into a successful business by 1700. With the help of African slaves from the Caribbean, Eliza Lucas, daughter of plantation owner George Lucas, learned how to raise and use indigo in the low-country in 1747. Supported with subsidies from Britain, indigo was a leading export by 1750. Those and naval stores were exported in an extremely profitable shipping industry.
As Charles Towne grew, so did the community's cultural and social opportunities, especially for the elite merchants and planters. The first theater building in America was built there in 1736. Benevolent societies were formed by several different ethnic groups. The Charles Towne Library Society was established in 1748 by some wealthy residents who wished to keep up with the scientific and philosophical issues of the day. This group also helped establish the College of Charles Towne in 1770, the oldest college in South Carolina and the oldest municipally supported college in the United States.
American Revolution (1776–1785) 
As the relationship between the colonists and Britain deteriorated, Charles Towne became a focal point in the ensuing American Revolution. It was twice the target of British attacks. At every stage the British strategy assumed the existence of a large base of Loyalist supporters who would rally to the king's forces given some military support.
In late March 1776, South Carolina President and Commander in Chief, John Rutledge, learned that a large British naval force was moving toward Charles Town. To help defend the city, he ordered the construction of Fort Sullivan (now Ft. Moultrie), on Sullivan's Island in the harbor. He placed Col. William Moultrie in charge of the construction and subsequently made him the fort's commanding officer.
On June 28, 1776 General Henry Clinton along with 2,000 men and a naval squadron tried to seize Charles Towne, hoping for a simultaneous Loyalist uprising in South Carolina. When the fleet fired cannonballs, the explosives failed to penetrate Fort Sullivan's unfinished, yet thick, palmetto log walls. Additionally, no local Loyalists attacked the town from behind, as the British had hoped. Col. Moultries' men were able to return fire and inflicted heavy damage on several of the British ships. The British were forced to withdraw their forces, and the fort was renamed Fort Moultrie in honor of its commander.
This battle kept Charles Towne safe from conquest for four years, and therefore was perceived as so symbolic of the revolution that it spawned a number of key icons of South Carolina and the revolution:
- During the battle, the flag Moultrie had flown in the battle (which he had designed, himself) was shot down. It was then hoisted into the air again by Sargent William Jasper and kept aloft, rallying the troops, until it could be remounted. This Liberty Flag was seen as so important that it became the Flag of South Carolina, with the addition of the palmetto tree, the logs of which had been used to make the fort so impenetrable.
- The day of that battle, June 28, is now a state holiday known as Carolina Day.
Clinton returned in 1780 with 14,000 soldiers. American General Benjamin Lincoln was trapped and surrendered his entire 5,400 men force after a long fight, and the Siege of Charles Towne was the greatest American defeat of the war. Several Americans who escaped the carnage joined up with other militias, including those of Francis Marion, the 'Swampfox', and Andrew Pickens. The British retained control of the city until December 1782. After the British left, the city's name was officially changed to Charleston in 1783.
When the city was freed from the British, General Nathanael Greene presented its leaders with the Moultrie Flag, describing it as the first "American" flag flown in the South.
Antebellum era (1785–1861) 
Although the city lost the status of state capital to Columbia, Charleston became even more prosperous in the plantation-dominated economy of the post-Revolutionary years. The invention of the cotton gin in 1793 revolutionized the production of this crop, and it quickly became South Carolina's major export commodity. Cotton plantations relied heavily on slave labor, and slaves were also the primary labor force within the city, working as domestics, artisans, market workers and laborers. By 1820 Charleston's population had grown to 23,000, with a black majority. When a massive slave revolt planned by Denmark Vesey, a free black, erupted in 1822, hysteria ensued amidst white Charlestonians and Carolinians who feared that the activities of slaves in the Haitian Revolution might be copied. Soon after, Vesey was hanged along with 34 other slaves. Later, the activities of free blacks and slaves were severely restricted.
As Charleston's government, society and industry grew, commercial institutions were established to support the community's aspirations. The Bank of South Carolina, the second oldest building constructed as a bank in the nation, was established in 1798. Branches of the First and Second Bank of the United States were also located in Charleston in 1800 and 1817. By 1840, the Market Hall and Sheds, where fresh meat and produce were brought daily, became the commercial hub of the city. The slave trade also depended on the port of Charleston, where ships could be unloaded and the slaves sold at markets.
In the first half of the 19th century, South Carolinians became devoted to the idea that state's rights were superior to the Federal government's authority. In 1832 South Carolina passed an ordinance of nullification, a procedure in which a state could in effect repeal a Federal law, directed against the most recent tariff acts. Soon Federal soldiers were dispensed to Charleston's forts and began to collect tariffs by force. A compromise was reached that would gradually reduce the tariffs, but the underlying argument over state's rights escalated in the coming decades.
Civil War (1861–1865) 
On December 20, 1860, following the election of Abraham Lincoln, the South Carolina General Assembly voted to secede from the Union. On January 9, 1861, Citadel cadets opened fire on the Union ship Star of the West entering Charleston's harbor. On April 12, 1861, shore batteries under the command of General Pierre G. T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in the harbor. After a 34-hour bombardment, Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort, thus starting the war.
Union forces repeatedly bombarded the city, causing vast damage, and kept up a blockade that shut down most commercial traffic, although some blockade runners got through. In a failed effort to break the blockade on February 17, 1864, an early submarine, the H.L. Hunley made a night attack on the USS Housatonic.
In 1865, Union troops moved into the city and took control of many sites, including the United States Arsenal, which the Confederate Army had seized at the outbreak of the war. The War Department also confiscated the grounds and buildings of the Citadel Military Academy, and used them as a federal garrison for over seventeen years. The facilities were finally returned to the state and reopened as a military college in 1882 under the direction of Lawrence E. Marichak.
Postbellum era (1865–1945) 
After the defeat of the Confederacy, Federal forces remained in Charleston during the city's reconstruction. The war had shattered the prosperity of the antebellum city. Freed slaves were faced with poverty and discrimination. Industries slowly brought the city and its inhabitants back to a renewed vitality and growth in population. As the city's commerce improved, Charlestonians also worked to restore their community institutions. In 1865 The Avery Normal Institute was established by the American Missionary Association as a private school for Charleston's African American population. General William T. Sherman lent his support to the conversion of the United States Arsenal into the Porter Military Academy, an educational facility for former soldiers and boys left orphaned or destitute by the war. Porter Military Academy later joined with Gaud School and is now a prep school, Porter-Gaud School. The William Enston Homes, a planned community for the city's aged and infirm, was built in 1889. It was designed by J. Taylor Pearson, a freed slave, who passed away peacefully there after spending years as its maintenance manager. An elaborate public building, the United States Post Office and Courthouse, was completed in 1896 and signaled renewed life in the heart of the city.
On August 31, 1886, Charleston was nearly destroyed by an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale. It was felt as far away as Boston, Massachusetts to the north, Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin to the northwest, as far west as New Orleans, Louisiana, as far south as Cuba, and as far east as Bermuda. It damaged 2,000 buildings in Charleston and caused $6 million worth of damage ($133 million in 2006 US$), at a time when all the city's buildings were valued at approximately $24 million ($531 million in 2006 US$).
Contemporary era (1944–present) 
Charleston languished economically for several decades in the 20th century, though the large military presence in the region helped to shore up the city's economy. The Charleston Hospital Strike of 1969 was one of the last major events of the civil rights movement and brought Ralph Abernathy, Coretta Scott King, Andrew Young and other prominent figures to march with the local leader, Mary Moultrie. Its story is told in Tom Dent's book "Southern Journey." Joseph P. Riley, Jr. was elected mayor in the 1970s, and helped advance several cultural aspects of the city. Riley has been the major proponent of reviving Charleston's economic and cultural heritage. The last thirty years of the 20th century saw major new reinvestment in the city, with a number of municipal improvements and a commitment to historic preservation. These commitments were not slowed down by Hurricane Hugo and continue to this day. The eye of Hurricane Hugo came ashore at Charleston Harbor in 1989, and though the worst damage was in nearby McClellanville, three-quarters of the homes in Charleston's historic district sustained damage of varying degree. The hurricane caused over $2.8 billion in damage. The city was able to rebound fairly quickly after the hurricane and has grown in population, reaching an estimated 124,593 residents in 2009.
Charleston is famous for its unique culture, which blends traditional Southern U.S., English, French, and West African elements. The downtown peninsula is well known for its art, music, local cuisine, and fashion. Spoleto Festival USA, held annually in late spring, is one of the world's major performing arts festivals. It was founded in 1977 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who sought to establish a counterpart to the Festival dei Due Mondi (the Festival of Two Worlds) in Spoleto, Italy. Charleston's oldest community theater group, the Footlight Players, has provided theatrical productions since 1931. A variety of performing arts venues includes the historic Dock Street Theatre. The annual Charleston Fashion Week held each Spring in Marion Square brings in designers, journalists, and clients from across the nation. Charleston is known for its local seafood, which plays a key role in the city's renowned cuisine, comprising staple dishes such as gumbo, she-crab soup, fried oysters, lowcountry boil, deviled crab cakes, red rice, and shrimp and grits. The culture in Charleston differs greatly even from the rest of South Carolina, with British and French elements heavily prevalent.
Charleston's unique dialect has long been noted in the South and elsewhere for its singular attributes. Alone among the various regional Southern accents, the Charleston accent traditionally has ingliding or monophthongal long mid-vowels, raises ay and aw in certain environments, and is non-rhotic (although non-rhoticity was definitely not unique to Charleston and some or all of the above features may not have been either). Some attribute these unique features of Charleston's speech to its early settlement by French Huguenots and Sephardic Jews, both of whom played influential roles in Charleston's development and history. However, given Charleston's high concentration of African-Americans who spoke the Gullah language, the speech patterns were probably more influenced by the dialect of the Gullah African-American community. Some also say the large influx of Barbados immigrants in Charleston's early history also plays a role in its unique dialect.
The "Charleston accent" can be particularly noted in the local pronunciation of the city's name itself. A Charleston native typically ignores the r, elongates the middle vowel, and shorts the ending vowel, pronouncing the name as "Ch-\aw\lst-un."
Today, the Geechee language and dialect is still spoken among African-American locals. However, rapid development, especially on the surrounding sea islands, is slowly diminishing its prominence.
Two important works shed light on Charleston's early dialect: Charleston Provincialisms and The Huguenot Element in Charleston's Provincialisms, both by Sylvester Primer. Further scholarship is needed on the possible influence of Sephardic Jews on Charleston speech patterns. Unfortunately, as older Charlestonians pass away, the accent is disappearing.
Charleston is known as The Holy City, perhaps by virtue of the prominence of churches on the low-rise cityscape, perhaps because, like Mecca, its devotees hold it so dear, and perhaps for the fact that Carolina was among the few original colonies to provide toleration for all Protestant religions, though it was not open to Roman Catholics. Many Huguenots found their way to Charleston. Carolina also allowed Jews to practice their faith without restriction. Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, founded in 1749, is the fourth oldest Jewish congregation in the continental United States. Brith Sholom Beth Israel is the oldest Orthodox synagogue in the South, founded by Ashkenazi German and Central European Jews in the mid-19th century. The city's oldest Roman Catholic parish, Saint Mary of the Annunciation Roman Catholic Church, is the mother church of Roman Catholicism to North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. In 1820, Charleston became the see city of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, which at the time comprised the Carolinas and Georgia and presently encompasses the state of South Carolina. The Cathedral of St Luke and St Paul is the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.
Annual cultural events and fairs 
Charleston annually hosts Spoleto Festival USA founded by Gian Carlo Menotti, a 17-day art festival featuring over 100 performances by individual artists in a variety of disciplines. The Spoleto Festival is internationally recognized as America's premier performing arts festival. The annual Piccolo Spoleto festival takes place at the same time and features local performers and artists, with hundreds of performances throughout the city. Other notable festivals and events include the Taste of Charleston, The Lowcountry Oyster Festival, the Cooper River Bridge Run, Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE), Charleston Food and Wine Festival, Charleston Fashion Week, the MOJA Arts Festival, and the Holiday Festival of Lights (at James Island County Park).
Music in Charleston 
As it has on every aspect of Charleston culture, the Gullah community has had a tremendous influence on music in Charleston, especially when it comes to the early development of jazz music. In turn, the music of Charleston has had an influence on that of the rest of the country. The geechee dances that accompanied the music of the dock workers in Charleston followed a rhythm that inspired Eubie Blake’s “Charleston Rag” and later James P. Johnson’s “The Charleston”, as well as the dance craze that defined a nation in the 1920s. “Ballin' the Jack”, which was a popular dance in the years before “The Charleston”, was written by native Charlestonian Chris Smith.
The Jenkins Orphanage was established in 1891 by the Rev. Daniel J. Jenkins in Charleston, South Carolina. The orphanage accepted donations of musical instruments and Rev. Jenkins hired local Charleston musicians and Avery Institute Graduates to tutor the boys in music. As a result, Charleston musicians became proficient on a variety of instruments and were able to read music expertly. These traits set Jenkins musicians apart and helped land some of them positions in big bands with Duke Ellington and Count Basie. William “Cat” Anderson, Jabbo Smith and Freddie Green are but a few of the alumni from the Jenkins Orphanage band who became professional musicians in some of the best bands of the day. Orphanages around the country began to develop brass bands in the wake of the Jenkins Orphanage Band’s success. At the Colored Waif’s Home Brass Band in New Orleans, Louisiana, for example, a young trumpeter named Louis Armstrong first began to draw attention.
As many as five bands were on tour during the 1920s. The Jenkins Orphanage Band played in the inaugural parades of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft and toured the USA and Europe. The band also played on Broadway for the play "Porgy" by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, a stage version of their novel of the same title. The story was based in Charleston and featured the Gullah community. The Heywards insisted on hiring the real Jenkins Orphanage Band to portray themselves on stage. Only a few years later, DuBose Heyward collaborated with George and Ira Gershwin to turn his novel into the now famous opera, Porgy and Bess. George Gershwin spent the summer of 1934 at Folly Beach outside of Charleston writing this “folk opera.” Porgy and Bess is considered the Great American Opera and is widely performed.
To this day Charleston is home to many musicians in all genres.
The Park Circle Film Society is a nonprofit art house theater that holds over 70 screenings of independent and documentary films each year. It holds the annual Lowcountry Indie Shorts Festival, South Carolina's festival dedicated to short film.
Live theater 
Charleston has a vibrant theater scene and is home to America's first theater. In 2010 Charleston was listed as one of the country's top 10 cities for theater, and one of the top two in the South. Most of the theaters are part of the League of Charleston Theatres, better known as Theatre Charleston . The city's theaters include:
- The Dock Street Theatre – America's first theater. Home of the Charleston Stage Company, South Carolina's largest professional theater company.
- The Village Playhouse – A nationally recognized professional theater company east of the Cooper River.
- The Footlight Players – One of the leading community theaters in the South.
- Theatre 99 – An improvisational theater company.
- Pure Theatre – A small professional theater that produces contemporary plays.
- Sottile Theater – on the campus of The College of Charleston
- The Black Fedora Comedy Mystery Theatre – Clean comedy whodunits with volunteer audience participation.
- Threshold Repertory Theatre
- Creative Spark
Museums, historical sites and other attractions 
Charleston has many historic buildings, art and historical museums, and other attractions, including:
- The Calhoun Mansion, a 24,000 square foot, 1876 Victorian home at 16 Meeting Street, named for a grandson of John C. Calhoun who lived there with his wife, the builder's daughter. The private house is periodically open for tours.
- The Charleston Museum, America's First Museum, founded in 1773. Its mission is to preserve and interpret the cultural and natural history of Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry.
- The Exchange and Provost was built in 1767. The building, located on Broad Street, features a dungeon that held various signers of the Declaration of Independence and hosted events for George Washington in 1791 and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788. It is operated as a museum by the Daughters of the American Revolution.
- The Powder Magazine is a 1713 gunpowder magazine and museum. It is the oldest surviving public building in South Carolina.
- The Gibbes Museum of Art opened in 1905 and houses a premier collection of principally American works with a Charleston or Southern connection.
- The Fireproof Building houses the South Carolina Historical Society, a membership-based reference library open to the public.
- The Nathaniel Russell House is an important Federal style house. It is owned by the Historic Charleston Foundation and open to the public as a house museum.
- The Gov. William Aiken House, also known as the Aiken-Rhett House, is a home built in 1820 for William Aiken, Jr.
- The Heyward-Washington House is a historic house museum owned and operated by the Charleston Museum. Furnished for the late 18th century, the house includes a collection of Charleston-made furniture.
- The Joseph Manigault House is a historic house museum owned and operated by the Charleston Museum. The house was designed by Gabriel Manigault and is significant for its Adam style architecture.
- The Market Hall and Sheds, also known as the City Market or simply the Market, stretch several blocks behind 188 Meeting Street. Market Hall was built in the 1841 and houses the Daughters of the Confederacy Museum. The sheds house some permanent stores but are mainly occupied by open-air vendors.
- The Avery Research Center For African-American History and Culture was established to collect, preserve, and make public the unique historical and cultural heritage of African Americans in Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry. Avery's archival collections, museum exhibitions, and public programming reflect these diverse populations as well as the wider African Diaspora.
- South Carolina Aquarium
- Fort Sumter, site of the first shots fired in the Civil War, is located in Charleston Harbor. The National Park Service maintains a visitor center for Fort Sumter at Liberty Square (near the Charleston Aquarium), and boat tours including the fort depart from nearby.
- The Battery is an historic defensive seawall and promenade located at the tip of the peninsula along with White Point Garden, a park featuring several memorials and Civil-War-era artillery pieces.
- Rainbow Row is an iconic strip of homes along the harbor that date back to the mid-18th century. Though the homes themselves are not open to the public, they are one of the most photographed attractions in the city and are featured heavily in local art.
Charleston is home to a number of professional, minor league, and amateur sports teams:
- The Charleston Battery, a professional soccer team, plays in the USL Professional Division. The Charleston Battery play on Daniel Island at Blackbaud Stadium.
- The Charleston RiverDogs, a Minor League Baseball team, play in the South Atlantic League and are an affiliate of the New York Yankees. The RiverDogs play at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
- The Charleston Outlaws RFC is a Rugby Union Football Club founded in 1973. The club is in good standing with the Palmetto Rugby Union, USA Rugby South, and USARFU. It competes for honors in Men's Division II against the Cape Fear, Columbia, Greenville, and Charlotte "B" clubs. The club also hosts a Rugby Sevens tournament during Memorial Day weekend.
- The Charleston Gaelic Athletic Association is a Gaelic athletic club focusing on the sports of hurling and Gaelic football. The club competes in the Southeastern Division of the North American County Board of the GAA.
Other notable sports venues in Charleston include Johnson Hagood Stadium (home of The Citadel Bulldogs football team) and Toronto Dominion Bank Arena at the College of Charleston, which seats 5,700 people who view the school's basketball and volleyball teams.
Charleston is a popular filming location for movies and television, both in its own right and as a stand-in for southern and/or historic settings. For a list of both, see here. In addition, many novels, plays, and other works of fiction have been set in Charleston, including the following:
- Several books by Citadel alumnus and novelist Pat Conroy, such as The Lords of Discipline (based on Conroy's experiences as a cadet at The Citadel) and South of Broad.
- The Gullah opera Porgy and Bess
- Clive Barker's novel Galilee
- Harry Turtledove's Southern Victory Series, an alternate history series about a Confederacy that won the Civil War
- Rafael Sabatini's novel The Carolinian
- The 1991 bestseller Scarlett, sequel to Gone with the Wind. In fact, Alexandra Ripley, the author of Scarlett, derived inspiration from the city for her novel Charleston and its sequel On Leaving Charleston.
- The Notebook, 2004, starring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, was filmed in Charleston. The American Theatre on King Street was Allie and Noah's first date spot.
- The Novel, Werewolf Smackdown by Mario Acevedo is set in Charleston
- The novels Dreams of Sleep, Rich in Love and The Fireman's Fair were written by Josephine Humphreys, a native of Charleston. All are set in Charleston and the Charleston area. See the film entry for Rich in Love, which was filmed on Mount Pleasant and in Charleston.
- The 2010 film, Dear John.
- Gullah Gullah Island
- The College of Charleston's Randolph Hall is featured in the 2000 movie The Patriot. It serves as the meeting house where the South Carolinians decide to join the fight against the British.
- Virals and Seizure by Kathy Reichs. The book's venue is Charleston.
- Rich in Love, a novel by author Josephine Humphreys published in 1987, was set in the Charleston suburb of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 347.5 square kilometers (134.2 sq mi), of which 251.2 square kilometres (97.0 sq mi) is land and 44.3 square kilometres (17.1 sq mi) is water. The old city is located on a peninsula at the point where, as Charlestonians say, "The Ashley and the Cooper Rivers come together to form the Atlantic Ocean." The entire peninsula is very low, some is landfill material, and as such, frequently floods during heavy rains, storm surges and unusually high tides. The city limits have expanded across the Ashley River from the peninsula, encompassing the majority of West Ashley as well as James Island and some of Johns Island. The city limits also have expanded across the Cooper River, encompassing Daniel Island and the Cainhoy area. North Charleston blocks any expansion up the peninsula, and Mount Pleasant occupies the land directly east of the Cooper River.
The tidal rivers (Wando, Cooper, Stono, and Ashley) are evidence of a submergent or drowned coastline. There is a submerged river delta off the mouth of the harbor, and the Cooper River is deep, affording a good location for a port. The rising of the ocean may be due to melting of glacial ice during the end of the Ice Age.
Charleston has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with mild winters, hot, humid summers, and significant rainfall all year long. Summer is the wettest season; almost half of the annual rainfall occurs during the summer months in the form of thundershowers. Fall remains relatively warm through November. Winter is short and mild, and is characterized by occasional rain. Snow flurries seldom occur, although in 2010, 3.4 inches (8.6 cm) fell on the evening of February 12, the heaviest in 20 years. The highest temperature recorded (inside city limits at the Customs House on E. Bay St.) was 104 °F (40 °C), on June 2, 1985, and the lowest temperature recorded was 10 °F (−12 °C) on January 21, 1985. Hurricanes are a major threat to the area during the summer and early fall, with several severe hurricanes hitting the area – most notably Hurricane Hugo on September 21, 1989 (a Category 4 storm).
|Climate data for Charleston, South Carolina (Airport), 1981–2010 normals|
|Average high °F (°C)||59.0
|Average low °F (°C)||38.1
|Precipitation inches (mm)||3.70
|Snowfall inches (cm)||0.1
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||9.5||8.6||7.9||7.7||7.8||11.9||13.0||13.2||10.0||7.3||7.0||8.7||112.6|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||0.1||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.2||0.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||179.8||189.3||244.9||276.0||294.5||279.0||288.3||257.3||219.0||223.2||189.0||170.5||2,810.8|
|Source: NOAA, HKO (sun only, 1961–1990)|
Metropolitan Statistical Area 
The Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area currently consists of three counties: Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the metropolitan statistical area had a total population of 664,607 people. North Charleston is the second largest city in the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area and ranks as the third largest city in the state; Mount Pleasant and Summerville are the next largest cities. These cities combined with other incorporated and unincorporated areas surrounding the city of Charleston form the Charleston-North Charleston Urban Area with a population of 548,404 as of 2010. The metropolitan statistical area also includes a separate and much smaller urban area within Berkeley County, Moncks Corner (with a 2000 population of 9,123).
The traditional parish system persisted until the Reconstruction era, when counties were imposed. Nevertheless, traditional parishes still exist in various capacities, mainly as public service districts. The city of Charleston proper, which was originally defined by the limits of the Parish of St. Philip & St. Michael, now also includes parts of St. James' Parish, St. George's Parish, St. Andrew's Parish, and St. John's Parish, although the last two are mostly still incorporated rural parishes.
Charleston has a strong mayor-council government, with the mayor acting as the chief administrator and the executive officer of the municipality. The mayor also presides over city council meetings and has a vote, the same as other council members. The current mayor, since 1975, is Joseph P. Riley, Jr. The council has twelve members who are elected from one of twelve districts.
The city's voters are among the most liberal in South Carolina. In 2006, Charleston's residents voted against Amendment 1, which sought to ban same-sex marriage in South Carolina. Statewide, the measure passed by 78% to 22% but the voters of Charleston rejected it by 3,563 (52%) to 3,353 votes (48%).
Emergency services 
Fire department 
The City of Charleston Fire Department consists over 300 full-time firefighters. These firefighters operate out of nineteen companies located throughout the city: sixteen engine companies, two tower companies, and one ladder company. Training, Fire Marshall, Operations, and Administration are the divisions of the department. The department operates on a 24/48 schedule and had a Class 1 ISO rating until late 2008, when ISO officially lowered it to Class 3. Russell (Rusty) Thomas served as Fire Chief until June 2008, and was succeeded by Chief Thomas Carr in November 2008.
Police department 
The City of Charleston Police Department, with a total of 412 sworn officers, 137 civilians and 27 reserve police officers, is South Carolina's largest police department. Their procedures on cracking down on drug use and gang violence in the city are used as models to other cities to do the same. According to the final 2005 FBI Crime Reports, Charleston crime level is worse than the national average in almost every major category. Greg Mullen, the former Deputy Chief of the Virginia Beach, Virginia Police Department, serves as the current Chief of the Charleston Police Department. The former Charleston police chief was Reuben Greenberg who resigned August 12, 2005. Greenberg was credited with creating a polite police force that kept police brutality well in check, even as it developed a visible presence in community policing and a significant reduction in crime rates.
EMS and medical centers 
Emergency medical services (EMS) for the city are provided by Charleston County Emergency Medical Services (CCEMS) & Berkeley County Emergency Medical Services (BCEMS). The city is served by the EMS and 911 services of both Charleston and Berkeley counties since the city is part of both counties.
Charleston is the primary medical center for the eastern portion of the state. The city has several major hospitals located in the downtown area: Medical University of South Carolina Medical Center (MUSC), Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, and Roper Hospital. MUSC is the state's first school of medicine, the largest medical university in the state, and the sixth oldest continually operating school of medicine in the United States. The downtown medical district is experiencing rapid growth of biotechnology and medical research industries coupled with substantial expansions of all the major hospitals. Additionally, more expansions are planned or underway at another major hospital located in the West Ashley portion of the city: Bon Secours-St Francis Xavier Hospital. The Trident Regional Medical Center located in the City of North Charleston and East Cooper Regional Medical Center located in Mount Pleasant also serve the needs of residents of the city of Charleston.
The following table shows Charleston's crime rate for six crimes that Morgan Quitno uses for to calculate the ranking of "America's most dangerous cities", in comparison to the national average. The statistics shown are not for the actual number of crimes committed, but for the number of crimes committed per 100,000 people.
|Crime||Charleston, South Carolina (2007)||National Average|
Since 1999, the overall crime rate of Charleston has begun to decline. The total crime index rate for Charleston in 1999 was 597.1 crimes committed per 100,000 people, while in 2007 the total crime index rate was 430.9 per 100,000. (The United States average is 320.9 per 100,000.)
According to the Congressional Quarterly Press 2008 City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America, Charleston, South Carolina ranks as the 124th most dangerous city of cities with more than 75,000 inhabitants. However, the entire Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area had a much higher overall crime rate, ranking as 21st.
Infrastructure and economy 
Economic sectors and major employers 
Charleston is a major tourist destination, with a considerable number of luxury hotels, hotel chains, inns, and bed and breakfasts and a large number of award-winning restaurants and quality shopping. The city has two shipping terminals, owned and operated by the South Carolina Ports Authority, which are part of the fourth largest container seaport on the East Coast and the thirteenth largest container seaport in North America. Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company, a grocery store chain with stores in South Carolina and Georgia, is headquartered in the city. Charleston is becoming a prime location for information technology jobs and corporations and has experienced the highest growth in this sector between 2011 and 2012 due in large part to the Charleston Digital Corridor. In 2013, the Milken Institute ranked the Charleston region the ninth best performing economy in the US due in large part to the growing IT sector. Notable companies include Blackbaud, SPARC, BoomTown,CSS and Benefitfocus. Higher education is also an important sector in the local economy, with institutions such as the Medical University of South Carolina, College of Charleston, The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, and Charleston School of Law. Charleston is also an important art destination, named a top 25 arts destination by AmericanStyle magazine.
Charleston is served by the Charleston International Airport, which is located in the city of North Charleston (IATA: CHS, ICAO: KCHS) and is the busiest passenger airport in the state of South Carolina. The airport shares runways with the adjacent Charleston Air Force Base. Charleston Executive Airport is a smaller airport located in the John's Island section of the city of Charleston and is used by non-commercial aircraft. Both airports are owned and operated by the Charleston County Aviation Authority.
Interstates and highways 
Interstate 26 enters the city from the northwest and connects the city to North Charleston, the Charleston International Airport, Interstate 95, and Columbia, South Carolina. It ends in downtown Charleston with exits to the Septima Clark Expressway, the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge and Meeting Street. The Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge and Septima Clark Expressway are part of U.S. Highway 17, which travels east-west through the cities of Charleston and Mount Pleasant. The Mark Clark Expressway, or Interstate 526, is the bypass around the city and begins at U.S. Highway 17 North/South. U.S. Highway 52 is Meeting Street and its spur is East Bay Street, which becomes Morrison Drive after leaving the Eastside. This highway merges with King Street in the city's Neck area (Industrial District). U.S. Highway 78 is King Street in the downtown area, eventually merging with Meeting Street.
Major highways 
- I-26 (Interstate 26) (Eastern terminus is in Charleston)
- I-526 (Interstate 526)
- I-526 Bus. (Business Spur 526)
- US 17 (U.S. Route 17)
- US 52 (U.S. Route 52) (Eastern terminus is in Charleston)
US 52 Spur (Spur)
- US 78 (U.S. Route 78) (Eastern terminus is in Charleston)
- SC 7 – Sam Rittenberg Boulevard
- SC 30 – James Island Expressway
- SC 61 – St. Andrews Boulevard/Ashley River Road
- SC 171 – Old Towne Road/Folly Road
- SC 461 – Paul Cantrell Boulevard/Glenn McConnell Parkway
- SC 700 – Maybank Highway
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge 
The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge across the Cooper River opened on July 16, 2005, and was the second longest cable-stayed bridge in the Americas at the time of its construction. The bridge links Mount Pleasant with downtown Charleston, and has eight lanes plus a 12-foot lane shared by pedestrians and bicycles. It replaced the Grace Memorial Bridge (built in 1929) and the Silas N. Pearman Bridge (built in 1966). They were considered two of the more dangerous bridges in America and were demolished after the Ravenel Bridge opened.
Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority 
The city is also served by a bus system, operated by the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA). Most of the urban area is served by regional fixed route buses, which are equipped with bike racks as part of the system's Rack & Ride program. CARTA offers connectivity to historic downtown attractions and accommodations with DASH (Downtown Area Shuttle) trolley buses, and it offers curbside pickup for disabled passengers with its Tel-A-Ride buses.
Rural parts of the city and metropolitan area are served by a different bus system, operated by Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Rural Transportation Management Association (BCD-RTMA). The system is also commonly called the TriCounty Link.
The Port of Charleston, owned and operated by the South Carolina Ports Authority, is one of the largest ports in the U.S. The Port of Charleston consists of five terminals. Despite occasional labor disputes, the port is ranked number one in customer satisfaction across North America by supply chain executives. Port activity at the two terminals located in the city of Charleston is one of the city's leading sources of revenue, behind tourism.
Today the Port of Charleston boasts the deepest water in the southeast region and regularly handles ships too big to transit through the Panama Canal. A next-generation harbor deepening project is currently underway to take the Port of Charleston's shipping channel deeper than 45 feet at mean low tide.
Union Pier, in the city of Charleston, is a cruise ship passenger terminal which hosts numerous cruise departures annually. In May 2010, the Carnival Fantasy was permanently stationed in Charleston, offering weekly cruises to the Bahamas and Key West, eventually to include Bermuda. With the addition of the weekly Carnival Fantasy sailings, Union Terminal hosted 67 embarkations and ports of call in 2010.
- Wando Welch Terminal – used for container cargo, located in the town of Mount Pleasant.
- Columbus Street Terminal – used for project cargo, breakbulk and roll-on/roll-off cargo. Located in the City of Charleston.
- Union Pier Terminal – used for cruise ship operations, located in the city of Charleston.
- North Charleston Terminal – used for container cargo, located in the city of North Charleston.
- Veterans Terminal – used for project cargo, break-bulk and roll-on/roll-off cargo. Located in the city of North Charleston.
Nearby cities and towns 
Other outlying areas 
- James Island
- Johns Island
- Wadmalaw Island
- Morris Island
- Edisto Island
- Dewees Island
- Yonges Island
Schools, colleges and universities 
Because most of the city of Charleston is located in Charleston County, it is served by the Charleston County School District. Part of the city, however, is served by the Berkeley County School District in northern portions of the city, such as the Cainhoy Industrial District, Cainhoy Historical District and Daniel Island.
Charleston is also served by a large number of independent schools, including Porter-Gaud School (K-12), Ashley Hall (K-12), Charleston Day School (K-8), First Baptist Church School (K-12), Palmetto Christian Academy (K-12), Coastal Christian Preparatory School (K-12), Mason Preparatory School (K-8), and Addlestone Hebrew Academy (K-8).
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston Office of Education also operates out of the city and oversees several K-8 parochial schools, such as Blessed Sacrament School, Christ Our King School, Charleston Catholic School, Nativity School, and Divine Redeemer School, all of which are "feeder" schools into Bishop England High School, a diocesan high school within the city. Bishop England, Porter-Gaud School, and Ashley Hall are the city's oldest and most prominent private schools, and are in themselves a significant part of Charleston history, dating back some 150 years.
Public institutions of higher education in Charleston include the College of Charleston (the nation's 13th oldest university), and The Citadel (The Military College of South Carolina). The city is home to private universities, including Charleston Southern University, the Charleston School of Law, and the Medical University of South Carolina. Charleston is also home to the Roper Hospital School of Practical Nursing, and the city has a downtown satellite campus for the region's technical school, Trident Technical College. Charleston is also the location for the only college in the country that offers bachelors degrees in the building arts, The American College of the Building Arts. The Art Institute of Charleston, located downtown on North Market Street, opened in 2007.
Armed forces 
Coast Guard 
- Coast Guard Sector Charleston
- Coast Guard Station Charleston
Broadcast television 
Charleston is the nation's 98th largest Designated market area (DMA), with 312,770 households and 0.27% of the U.S. TV population. The following stations are licensed in Charleston and have significant operations or viewers in the city:
- WCBD-TV (2, NBC, CW): licensed in Charleston, owned by Media General, studios in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
- WCIV-TV (4, ABC): licensed in Charleston, (Allbritton Communications), studios in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
- WCSC-TV (5, CBS, Ind., Bounce TV): licensed in Charleston, owned by Raycom, studios in Charleston, South Carolina
- WITV-TV (7, PBS): licensed in Charleston, owned by South Carolina Educational Television, transmitter in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
- WLCN-CD (18, RTV) licensed in Charleston, owned by Faith Assembly of God, studios in Summerville, South Carolina
- WTAT-TV (24, Fox): licensed in Charleston, owned by Cunningham Broadcasting Company, studios in North Charleston, South Carolina
- WAZS-CD (29, Azteca America Independent) licensed in Charleston, owned by Jabar Communications, studios in North Charleston, South Carolina
- WJNI-CD (31, America One Independent) licensed in Charleston, owned by Jabar Communications, studios in North Charleston, South Carolina
- WMMP-TV (36, My Network Television, TheCoolTV): licensed in Charleston, owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Company, studios in North Charleston, South Carolina
Radio stations 
Sister cities 
Charleston has one official sister city, Spoleto, Umbria, Italy. The relationship between the two cities began when Pulitzer Prize-winning Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti selected Charleston as the city to host the American version of Spoleto's annual Festival of Two Worlds. "Looking for a city that would provide the charm of Spoleto as well as its wealth of theaters, churches and other performance spaces, they selected Charleston, South Carolina as the ideal location. The historic city provided a perfect fit: intimate enough that the Festival would captivate the entire city, yet cosmopolitan enough to provide an enthusiastic audience and robust infrastructure."
Charleston is also twinned with Speightstown, St. Peter, Barbados. The original parts of Charlestown were based on the plans of Barbados's capital city Bridgetown. Many dispossessed indigo, tobacco and cotton planters departed from Speightstown, along with their slaves, and helped found Charleston after there was a wholesale move to adopt sugar cane cultivation in Barbados, a land and labor-intensive enterprise that helped usher in the era of trans-Atlantic slave trade in the former British West Indies.
See also 
- Old Slave Mart
- Charleston Sofa Super Store fire
- French Quarter (Charleston, South Carolina)
- Hampton Park Terrace
- John Henry Devereux
- Hurricane Hugo
- List of people from Charleston, South Carolina
- List of tallest buildings in Charleston, South Carolina
- List of television shows and movies in Charleston, South Carolina
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Charleston, South Carolina
- Riverland Terrace
- "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- As defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and used by the U.S. Census Bureau for statistical purposes only.
- "Charleston Time Line". Retrieved 2007-07-09.
- "Population of the 100 Largest Urban Places: 1840".
- "A 'portion mah of the People'," Harvard Magazine, January – February 2003. Retrieved June 11, 2007.
- Joseph A. Opala ; The Gullah People and Their African Heritage by William S. Pollizer pp. 32–33
- Joseph A. Opala
- "The Gullah People and Their African Heritage"; by William S. Pollitzer; Pp. 91–92.
- Mark Urban. Fusiliers.
- "Profile for Charleston, South Carolina". ePodunk. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
- Between August 1863 and March 1864, not a single blockade runner made it in or out of the harbor. Craig L. Symonds, The Civil War at Sea (2009) p. 57
- "H. L. Hunley, Confederate Submarine," Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center. Retrieved June 13, 2007.
- "Century V City of Charleston Population 2010 Estimates" (PDF).
- Perry, Lee Davis; McLaughlin, J. Michael (2007) . Insiders Guide to Charleston (google books) (Eleventh ed.). Guilford, CN: Morris Book Publishing. p. 374. ISBN 978-0-7627-4403-9. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- Rosen, Robert N. (1992) . A Short History of Charleston (Google books) (Second ed.). charleston, SC: Peninsula Press. p. 92. ISBN 1-57003-197-5. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- "History of the Huguenot Society".
- "Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim".
- "Brith Sholom Beth Israel".
- Jack McCray (6 June 2007). Charleston Jazz. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 11, 12. ISBN 978-0-7385-4350-5.
- Jack McCray (6 June 2007). Charleston Jazz. Arcadia Publishing. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-7385-4350-5.
- Hubbert, Julie. "Jenkins Orphanage". Retrieved February 18, 2013.
- Edgar, Walter. South Carolina Encyclopedia (2006) pp. 590-591, ISBN 1-57003-598-9
- Erb, Jane. "Porgy and Bess (1934)". Retrieved February 19, 2013.
- Jinkins, Shirley (February 23, 1997). "Charleston S.C. has had a long and turbulent history, but a remarkable number of its buildings have survived". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
- Richard Marcus. Book Review: Werewolf Smackdown by Mario Acevedo. Seattle PI. Posted: March 23, 2010
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rich_in_Love "Rich in Love [[Wikipedia Page]]". Wikipedia. Retrieved January 26, 2013. Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)
- Maximum and minimum temperatures from Yahoo! Weather
- Lane, F.W. The Elements Rage (David & Charles 1966), p. 49
- "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-02-12.
- "Climatological Normals of Charleston, South Carolina". Hong Kong Observatory. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
- "List of Populations of Urbanized Areas". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 13, 2012. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
- "Charleston County election results by precinct: 2006 general election".
- "Investigation examining Charleston firefighters' handling of deadly blaze," KSLA News 12. Retrieved June 21, 2007.
- "Fire department overview," City of Charleston Official Website. Retrieved June 20, 2007.
- "2005 FBI Crime Reports". Charlestonsc.areaconnect.com. Retrieved 2009-02-25.
- Michael Ledeen, "Hail to the Chief," National Review Online, August 18, 2005. Retrieved June 18, 2007.
- "Charleston, South Carolina (SC) Detailed Profile – relocation, real estate, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, move, moving, houses news, sex offenders". City-data.com. Retrieved 2009-02-25.
- "CQ Press: City Crime Rankings 2008". Os.cqpress.com. Retrieved 2009-02-25.
- North American Container Traffic (2009), Port Ranking by TEUs as reported by the American Association of Port Authorities
- Charleston ranks #1 in Customer Service
- Charles Towne Landing
- "Charleston drops in TV market pecking order".
- "Television station listings in Charleston, South Carolina – Total station FCC filings found".
- Charleston-Spoleto Sister City Web Site
- Cultural Heritage Programme – The Barbados Carolina Connection, Barbados Ministry of Tourism
- International Partnership Tells Story of Carolina–Barbados Connection, DiscoverSouthCarolina.com
- Barbados: South Carolina's Mother Colony, SCIway.net
Further reading 
- Borick, Carl P. A Gallant Defense: The Siege of Charleston, 1780. U. of South Carolina Press, 2003. 332 pp.
- Bull, Kinloch, Jr. The Oligarchs in Colonial and Revolutionary Charleston: Lieutenant Governor William Bull II and His Family. U. of South Carolina Press, 1991. 415 pp.
- Clarke, Peter. A Free Church in a Free Society. The Ecclesiology of John England, Bishop of Charleston, 1820–1842, a Nineteenth Century Missionary Bishop in the Southern United States. Charleston, South Carolina: Bagpipe, 1982. 561 pp.
- Coker, P. C., III. Charleston's Maritime Heritage, 1670–1865: An Illustrated History. Charleston, South Carolina: Coker-Craft, 1987. 314 pp.
- Doyle, Don H. New Men, New Cities, New South: Atlanta, Nashville, Charleston, Mobile, 1860–1910. U. of North Carolina Press, 1990. 369 pp.
- Fraser, Walter J., Jr. Charleston! Charleston! The History of a Southern City. U. of South Carolina, 1990. 542 pp. the standard scholarly history
- Gillespie, Joanna Bowen. The Life and Times of Martha Laurens Ramsay, 1759–1811. U. of South Carolina Press, 2001. 315 pp.
- Hagy, James William. This Happy Land: The Jews of Colonial and Antebellum Charleston. U. of Alabama Press, 1993. 450 pp.
- Jaher, Frederic Cople. The Urban Establishment: Upper Strata in Boston, New York, Charleston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. U. of Illinois Press, 1982. 777 pp.
- McInnis, Maurie D. The Politics of Taste in Antebellum Charleston. U. of North Carolina Press, 2005. 395 pp.
- Pease, William H. and Pease, Jane H. The Web of Progress: Private Values and Public Styles in Boston and Charleston, 1828–1843. Oxford U. Press, 1985. 352 pp.
- Pease, Jane H. and Pease, William H. A Family of Women: The Carolina Petigrus in Peace and War. U. of North Carolina Press, 1999. 328 pp.
- Pease, Jane H. and Pease, William H. Ladies, Women, and Wenches: Choice and Constraint in Antebellum Charleston and Boston. U. of North Carolina Press, 1990. 218 pp.
- Phelps, W. Chris. The Bombardment of Charleston, 1863–1865. Gretna, La.: Pelican, 2002. 175 pp.
- Rosen, Robert N. Confederate Charleston: An Illustrated History of the City and the People during the Civil War. U. of South Carolina Press, 1994. 181 pp.
- Rosen, Robert. A Short History of Charleston. University of South Carolina Press, (1997). ISBN 1-57003-197-5, scholarly survey
- Spence, E. Lee. Spence's Guide to South Carolina: diving, 639 shipwrecks (1520–1813), saltwater sport fishing, recreational shrimping, crabbing, oystering, clamming, saltwater aquarium, 136 campgrounds, 281 boat landings (Nelson Southern Printing, Sullivan's Island, South Carolina: Spence, ©1976) OCLC: 2846435
- Spence, E. Lee. Treasures of the Confederate Coast: the "real Rhett Butler" & Other Revelations (Narwhal Press, Charleston/Miami, ©1995)[ISBN 1-886391-01-7] [ISBN 1-886391-00-9], OCLC: 32431590
Art, architecture, literature, science 
- Coles, John R.; Tiedj, Mark C. (June 4, 2009). Movie Theaters of Charleston (PaperbackISBN 1-4414-9355-7.). p. 97.
- Cothran, James R. Gardens of Historic Charleston. U. of South Carolina Press, 1995. 177 pp.
- Gadsden Cultural Center; McMurphy, Make; Williams, Sullivan (October 4, 2004). Sullivan's Island/Images of America. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-7385-1678-3.
- Greene, Harlan. Mr. Skylark: John Bennett and the Charleston Renaissance. U. of Georgia Press, 2001. 372 pp.
- Hudgins; Carter L., ed (1994). The Vernacular Architecture of Charleston and the Lowcountry, 1670 – 1990. Charleston, South Carolina: Historic Charleston Foundation.
- Hutchisson, James M. and Greene, Harlan, ed. Renaissance in Charleston: Art and Life in the Carolina Low Country, 1900–1940. U. of Georgia Press, 2003. 259 pp.
- Hutchisson, James M. DuBose Heyward: A Charleston Gentleman and the World of Porgy and Bess. U. Press of Mississippi, 2000. 225 pp.
- Jacoby, Mary Moore, ed (1994). The Churches of Charleston and the Lowcountry (hardbackISBN 0-87249-888-3.). Columbia South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-87249-888-4.
- McNeil, Jim. Charleston's Navy Yard: A Picture History. Charleston, South Carolina: Coker Craft, 1985. 217 pp.
- Moore, Margaret H (1997). Complete Charleston: A Guide to the Architecture, History, and Gardens of Charleston. Charleston, South Carolina: TM Photography. ISBN 0-9660144-0-5.
- O'Brien, Michael and Moltke-Hansen, David, ed. Intellectual Life in Antebellum Charleston. U. of Tennessee Press, 1986. 468 pp.
- Poston, Jonathan H. The Buildings of Charleston: A Guide to the City's Architecture. U. of South Carolina Press, 1997. 717 pp.
- Severens, Kenneth (1988). Charleston Antebellum Architecture and Civic Destiny (hardbackUniversity of Tennessee Press. p. 315. ISBN 0-87049-555-0.). Knoxville: ISBN 978-0-87049-555-7
- Smith, Alice R. Huger; Smith, D.E. Huger (1917). Dwelling Houses of Charleston, South Carolina. New York: Diadem Books.
- Stephens, Lester D. Science, Race, and Religion in the American South: John Bachman and the Charleston Circle of Naturalists, 1815–1895. U. of North Carolina Press, 2000. 338 pp.
- Stockton, Robert, et. al (1985). Information for Guides of Historic Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston, South Carolina: City of Charleston Tourism Commission.
- Waddell, Gene (2003). Charleston Architecture, 1670–1860 (hardbackISBN 978-0-941711-68-5.) 2. Charleston: Wyrick & Company. p. 992. ISBN 0-941711-68-4
- Weyeneth, Robert R. (2000). "Historic Preservation for a Living City: Historic Charleston Foundation, 1947–1997". Historic Charleston Foundation Studies in History and Culture series (University of South Carolina Press). p. 256. ISBN 1-57003-353-6. ISBN 978-1-57003-353-7.
- Yuhl, Stephanie E. A Golden Haze of Memory: The Making of Historic Charleston. U. of North Carolina Press, 2005. 285 pp.
- Zola, Gary Phillip. Isaac Harby of Charleston, 1788–1828: Jewish Reformer and Intellectual. U. of Alabama Press, 1994. 284 pp.
- Susan Harbage Page and Juan Logan. "Prop Master at Charleston's Gibbes Museum of Art", Southern Spaces, September 21, 2009.
- Nelson, Emily The Locket, 2010, 207 pp. The Angel Oak tree at Johns Island near Charleston is featured prominently in the book, The Locket by Emily Nelson.
- Bellows, Barbara L. Benevolence among Slaveholders: Assisting the Poor in Charleston, 1670–1860. Louisiana State U. Press, 1993. 217 pp.
- Drago, Edmund L. Initiative, Paternalism, and Race Relations: Charleston's Avery Normal Institute. U. of Georgia Press, 1990. 402 pp.
- Egerton, Douglas R. He Shall Go Out Free: The Lives of Denmark Vesey. Madison House, 1999. 248 pp. online review
- Greene, Harlan; Hutchins, Harry S., Jr.; and Hutchins, Brian E. Slave Badges and the Slave-Hire System in Charleston, South Carolina, 1783–1865. McFarland, 2004. 194 pp.
- Jenkins, Wilbert L. Seizing the New Day: African Americans in Post-Civil War Charleston. Indiana U. Press, 1998. 256 pp.
- Johnson, Michael P. and Roark, James L. No Chariot Let Down: Charleston's Free People of Color on the Eve of the Civil War. U. of North Carolina Press, 1984. 174 pp.
- Kennedy, Cynthia M. Braided Relations, Entwined Lives: The Women of Charleston's Urban Slave Society. Indiana U. Press, 2005. 311 pp.
- Powers, Bernard E., Jr. Black Charlestonians: A Social History, 1822–1885. U. of Arkansas Press, 1994. 377 pp.
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