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

  • Remembering Rhettsbury

    Rhettsbury or "Rhett's Point" was a colonial-era, suburban plantation that in the nineteenth century became homogenized into Ansonborough, but it has separate history and identity that deserve to be remembered.

  • George Washington in Charleston, 1791

    President George Washington came to Charleston in 1791 with three objectives in mind: to increase support for the new Federal government, to view the area's Revolutionary battle sites, and to indulge the thousands of admirers who wished see the hero of the War of Independence in the flesh.

  • The Story of Gadsden’s Wharf

    What and where is this wharf, and how did it get its name? Gadsden’s Wharf is a site on the east side of the Charleston peninsula, along the Cooper River waterfront. More specifically, the historic boundaries of Gadsden’s Wharf included all of the waterfront property between Calhoun Street (on the north) and Laurens Street (on the south)..

  • The End of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

    A brief survey of the timeline of importing Africans into the port of Charleston, from 1670 to the Constitutional end of the trade in January 1808.

  • 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. 

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