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

  • Charleston’s First Ice Age

    The arrival of natural ice from New England in 1798 marked the beginning of Charleston's first "Ice Age," an era that transformed the culture and the flavors of our community.

  • Firewood cures the winter-time blues

    The Lowcountry of South Carolina has recently witnessed many days of record cold temperatures, and we even had a serious dusting of snow that lasted for several days. On icy, gloomy winter days such as these, you’ll find most folks huddled indoors just trying to stay warm.

  • The New "New Year" of 1752

    The first day of January marks the beginning of a new calendar year in Charleston, as it does in most other places in the world, but this holiday did not exist in the early days of our community, or anywhere in the colonies that became the United States of America. 

  • The history of Emancipation Day

    Most everyone in these United States recognizes the first day of January as New Year’s Day, but that’s not the only holiday being celebrated in our community on this date. Since 1866, the people of Charleston have celebrated the first of January as Emancipation Day—a holiday that includes a parade, orations, religious services, and feasting.

  • Charleston's Victory Day, Part 2

    Most of the American army in South Carolina, consisting of several hundred men under the leadership of General Nathanael Greene, was camped on a number of plantations on the west side of the Ashley River.

  • Charleston's Victory Day, Part 1

    The 14th of December is an important date in the calendar of Charleston history that deserves to be remembered and celebrated. 

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