Charleston Time Machine
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.
Recent Trips in Charleston's History
The first exhibition game of American-style “scientific” football in the Lowcountry of South Carolina kicked-off in December 1892, when two teams of eleven college boys scrimmaged at Charleston’s Base Ball Park on Christmas Eve. Only few local youths had by that time seen or played the novel game developed up North, but their interest was keen. Furman University brought its record to bear against the first team ever fielded by South Carolina College (USC), battling for the title of state champion and infusing the roaring Charleston crowd with football fever.
Charleston’s venerable newspaper, the Post and Courier, is transforming its headquarters on upper King Street into an upscale mixed-use development called Courier Square. The present twentieth-century structures will soon disappear, exposing a piece of ground with a forgotten claim to fame. A few years before the American Revolution, a Scottish gardener named John Watson developed the site as South Carolina’s first commercial nursery, cultivating both native and exotic plants for sale. The war devastated Watson’s Garden, but the family persevered in the horticultural business until the turn of the nineteenth century.
Native American ancestry provided a measure of legal immunity to mixed-race people in antebellum South Carolina. Check out the latest episode of Charleston Time Machine to hear examples of their legal victories.
In the late winter of 1684, representatives of eight Native American tribes in the Lowcountry of South Carolina surrendered their traditional homelands to English colonists. A series of documents ostensibly signed on a single day that February ceded Indigenous rights to millions of acres between the rivers Stono and Savannah, ranging from the Atlantic Ocean to the Appalachian Mountains. On the next episode of Charleston Time Machine, we’ll explore the forces driving this historic bargain, parse details of the several transactions, and consider their collective impact on the native peoples in question.
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To stream the Charleston Time Machine: Visit the Time Machine page and either choose an episode from the player above or choose which story you want to know more about. In each story we embed a player of that episode so you can listen as you read.
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