Washington Square (Charleston)

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Washington Square
Coordinates32°46′37″N 79°55′50″W / 32.77694°N 79.93056°W / 32.77694; -79.93056Coordinates: 32°46′37″N 79°55′50″W / 32.77694°N 79.93056°W / 32.77694; -79.93056
Operated byCity of Charleston
Washington Square Park's statue of William Pitt was photographed here in 1892.

Washington Square is a park in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. It is located behind City Hall at the corner of Meeting Street and Broad Street in the Charleston Historic District. It was known as City Hall Park until October 10, 1881, when it was renamed in honor of George Washington.[1][2] The new name was painted over the gates in December 1881.[3]

The location of Washington Square once was the site of Corbett's Thatched Tavern. The city square was opened in 1818.[4][5]

Along the east wall of the park is a monument to Gen. Pierre Beauregard, the Confederate general in charge of the city's defenses in 1862-1864. In 2004, the monument had repair work performed to correct a lean that had developed.[6]

In May 1901, a bust of Henry Timrod was unveiled in the park.[7]

In the center of the park is a memorial to the Washington Light Infantry. The memorial is made of Carolina gray granite and is a miniature version of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. The memorial is about forty-two feet high and is inscribed with the names of important military battles. It was unveiled on February 23, 1891.[8][9]

A statue of William Pitt the Elder was once located in Washington Park. The statue suffered repeated damage, including a decapitation from a falling tree branch in November 1938, before being moved to the County Courthouse.[10] A statue of George Washington was later installed on the base of the Pitt statue following some local controversy. Plans for the new work began in 1992. The Washington statue was going to be a twice-life-size sculpture by Felix de Weldon.[11] Eventually, Jon Michel was chosen instead. The work, which cost $165,000, was unveiled on December 14, 1999.[12]


  1. ^ http://www.charlestonphotographs.com/html/statue_gw.htm
  2. ^ The Revised Ordinances of the City of Charleston, South Carolina. 1903. p. 312.
  3. ^ "Odds and Ends". Charleston News & Courier. Dec 13, 1881. p. 4 (col. 1). Retrieved Dec 3, 2012.
  4. ^ "A Chapter of Local History". Charleston News & Courier. March 3, 1881. p. 4. Retrieved Nov 20, 2012.
  5. ^ "Washington Square". Charleston News & Courier. January 1, 1891. p. 8. Retrieved Nov 20, 2012.
  6. ^ David Slade (Dec 2, 2004). "Setting Gen. Beauregard Straight". Charleston Post & Courier. p. B1. Retrieved Nov 20, 2012.
  7. ^ "Monument to Henry Timrod Unveiled" (PDF). New York Times. May 2, 1901. Retrieved Nov 20, 2012.
  8. ^ "Graven in Granite". Charleston News & Courier. Jan 5, 1891. p. 8. Retrieved Nov 20, 2012.
  9. ^ "Know Your Charleston?". Charleston News & Courier. May 28, 1934. p. 10. Retrieved Nov 20, 2012.
  10. ^ "Statue of Pitt Escapes Wind but Not Tree". Middlesboro Daily News. Nov 9, 1938. p. 4. Retrieved Nov 20, 2012.
  11. ^ Sharon Strauss (June 7, 1993). "Placement of Statue Debated". Charleston Post & Courier. p. B1. Retrieved Nov 20, 2012.
  12. ^ Robert Behre (Dec 15, 1999). "Washington Unveiled in His Square". Charleston Post & Courier. p. A1. Retrieved Nov 20, 2012.