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1870-Present: Modern Era Begins

1886 – (August 31) The Lowcountry is struck by an estimated 7.5 earthquake, resulting in 83 deaths and $6 million in damage.

1900 – Charleston's population estimated to be 55,807.

1901 – The South Carolina Interstate and West Indian Exposition, a forerunner of the World's Fair, attracts 700,000 people from around the nation to Hampton Park.

1920 – Susan Pringle Frost and others form the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings, later to be renamed the Preservation Society of Charleston, marking the formal beginning of organized historic preservation.

1925 – Author Dubose Heyward writes tragic novel Porgy, set in Cabbage Row across from his house on Church Street (changed to Catfish Row in the book).

1925 – A new dance craze begins in Charleston's pubs and dancehalls and spreads across the nation; soon to be named "the Charleston."

1931 – The City of Charleston adopts a Planning and Zoning Ordinance establishing the "Old and Historic District," protecting some 400 residential properties in a 23-block area south of Broad Street.

1934 – Composer George Gershwin arrives in Charleston to research and write Porgy and Bess, the first American opera, including its famous song "Summertime."

1935 – Founding of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

1947 – The Historic Charleston Foundation is established to oversee a revolving fund with which to purchase threatened historic properties, restore them, and sell them with protective covenants.

1951 – Charleston Judge J. Watis Waring dissents from a Federal District Court decision upholding the "separate but equal" doctrine in Briggs v. Elliott.

1954 – (May) The U. S. Supreme Court accepts Judge Waring's dissent in Briggs v. Elliott as the basis for their unanimous opinion overturning the "separate but equal" doctrine in Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka.

1957 – Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti comes to Charleston at the instigation of Countess Alicia Paolozzi who owns a home in the city, and begins negotiations to make Charleston the American site of Menotti's Festival of Two Worlds, later called the Spoleto Festival.

1963 – (September) Charleston's Rivers High School becomes the first racially integrated high school in South Carolina.

1966 – Following the destruction of the landmark Charleston Hotel, the Historic District is tripled in size to include Ansonborough, Harleston Village, and other areas between Broad and Calhoun streets.

1977 – (May) The first Spoleto Festival USA is held, and Charleston is designated the permanent American home for this "Festival of Two Worlds."

1982 – (May) The construction of Charleston Place, a hotel-shopping-convention center, sets off a building and rehabilitation boom in the downtown business district.

1989 – (September 21) Hurricane Hugo, a powerful category 4 hurricane with winds of 131-155 mph slams into the city with a 12-17 foot wall of water rolling over Ft. Sumter around midnight. The barrier islands are inundated as an estimated 80% of homes on Sullivan's Island and Folly Island are badly damaged or destroyed . Many homes in the Historic District sustain 10 to 24 inches of flooding. While about three quarters of the 3,500 significant structures suffer some damage, only twenty-five historically important buildings are severely damaged. Total losses are estimated at $2.8 billion.

1995 – (May) Author Clive Cussler announces that his team of divers has discovered the wreck of the Confederate Submarine H. L. Hunley in the waters off Sullivan's Island. Click here to learn more about the recovery of the Hunley.