About Charleston Time Machine

The Charleston Time Machine is an imaginary time-travel device created by historian Dr. Nic Butler. It uses stories and facts from the rich, deep, colorful history of Charleston, South Carolina, as a means to educate, inspire, amuse, and even amaze the minds of our community. By exploring the stories of our shared past, we can better understand our present world and plan more effectively for the future.

The Charleston Time Machine is piloted by Nic Butler, Ph.D., an interdisciplinary historian with an infectious enthusiasm for Charleston’s colorful past. A native of Greenville County, South Carolina, Dr. Butler attended the University of South Carolina before completing a Ph.D. in musicology at Indiana University. He has worked as archivist of the South Carolina Historical Society, as an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston, and as an historical consultant for the City of Charleston. Since 2005 he has been the archivist, and now historian, for the Charleston County Public Library.

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Recent Trips in Charleston's History

  • Carolina’s Bajan Roots, Part 1

    If you pick up any book about the origins of South Carolina in the late 1600s, you’ll be sure to find references to the island of Barbados and the great influence it exerted on our early history. Nearly 350 years later, in November 2017, a number of Lowcountry residents are collaborating with officials in Barbados to commemorate the cultural ties that continue to bind our two communities together.

  • Captain Anson and the Spanish Entourage

    In the summer of 1722, less than two years after the latest peace treaty, British soldiers under the command of the Governor of South Carolina constructed a small, rudimentary fort, named Fort King George, at the mouth of the Altamaha River, near the southern border of the colony (now part of the town of Darien, Georgia).

  • A Brief History of the High and Low Battery Seawalls, Part 2

    At the close of the year 1856, the City of Charleston was just wrapping up the extensive repairs to the High Battery seawall and White Point Garden made necessary by the destructive hurricane of 1854.

  • A Brief History of the High and Low Battery Seawalls, Part 1

    Despite being separated in age by a century, the High Battery and the Low Battery have much in common. For example, they were both long-term projects intended to enhance the scenic beauty of the area. They were both massively expensive projects. And finally, both the High and Low Batteries were built on non-existent real estate.

  • ShakeOut 2017

    Just as it seems like hurricane season is winding down, I know it must sound rather cruel to hear that there’s another potential natural disaster looming on the horizon.  Nevertheless, the fact remains that Charleston and Berkeley Counties are home to several known earthquake faults, with a history of recorded activity since 1698. 

  • A Short History of Philadelphia Alley

    The facts behind the creation and early existence of Philadelphia Alley have been forgotten by the living, only to be replaced by rumors and fabrication.

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