Thursday, July 26, 2012

Charleston, South Carolina

From Savannah we headed north a bit to Charleston, South Carolina.

Typical street scene in Charleston.

Charleston used to be the richest city on the east coast at one time due to the tremendous exporting of a particular kind of rice called Carolina Gold. Supposed to be very tasty. The rivers on either side of Charleston had plantations all along them where the rice was grown, harvested and shipped. This crop needed much intensive labor, even more than cotton needed, thus South Carolina had one of the largest populations of slaves. After the Civil War, the labor pool was gone and a couple of hurricanes brought in too much sea water with surges that upset the water balance needed to grow the rice so the industry died as a result.

An old map of Charleston is the peninsula in the middle. Ashley river to the south, Cooper to the north.

Modern day aerial of the rich part of town. The Cooper River is to the right. Most of the city's population is in the 'burbs off the peninsula. That's where we stayed.

Nowadays, the big revenue stream for the city comes from the shipping port, the 4th largest container port on the east coast, Piggly Wiggly (the grocery store chain) has its headquarters here, Boeing just opened a new plant to build the 787 plane and there is a tremendous medical research community.

What's interesting about Charleston is that there is no skyscrapers, no tall business buildings like you see in SF, NY, etc. The business is tourism and the businesses listed above.

We took a tour of the city on Gray Lines and then the next day went around on our own with the car.
LOTS of gorgeous you can see below....

We toured this house....Joseph Manigault's home.

Charleston is known as The Holy City due to the prominence of churches on the low-rise cityscape, particularly the numerous steeples that dot the city's skyline, and for the fact that it was one of the few cities in the original thirteen colonies to provide religious tolerance, albeit restricted to non-Catholics. Many Huguenots found their way to Charleston. Charleston was also one of the first colonial cities after Savannah, Georgia to allow Jews to practice their faith without restriction

Always a nice thing to see in the south.

Market Hall...a four-block long structure with outdoor and indoor (air-conditioned) shops, food, and tourist traps.

The perfect activity for a hot day.

The famous Pineapple Fountain.

This is the celebrated "Rainbow Row" near the water that you see in all the Charleston literature and brochures.

This is the residence of the owner of Piggly-Wiggly (that's a grocery store chain). He has two pigs, one on each side of the entry stairs. It drives the hoity-toity neighbors nuts !

I did a search on for homes near here in the $3M to $12M range and came up with 17. The highest was $8.9M. It's an expensive town to live in...well in this part of Charleston, which is at the very west tip of the city.

The are actual ballast stones that used to be put in the bottom of the sailing ships for....well...ballast.
We toured a couple of homes as well as the South Carolina Museum, which was terrific.

One day we took the boat out to Fort Sumter which is where the Civil War "started". This was not as fascinating as I thought it would be....just an old, beat up fort. But, we had just come from Fort Pulaski, which was terrific. However, in a few weeks we'll be in Appomattox, Virginia where it all ended so we can bookend the war with these two visits.

The submarine, H.L. Hunley Museum is located here in Charleston also. We did not go. They open it up for viewing only a few times as they are still restoring it as it's immersed in water.

Hunley submarine immersed in refrigerated storage tank at the WLCC upon recovery. Note the cathodic connection to the sub at the spar attachment and the titanium anodes in the white pipes along the submarine.
 Lots to see and do in Charleston if you have the time (and money).

Next stop: Jamestown, Virgina

1 comment:

  1. The info on the Hunley is very interesting.