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. 

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Recent Trips in Charleston's History

  • George Anson and Charles Codner: Gambling for Real Estate in 1735?

    Local legend says that George Anson acquired Ansonborough in a card game with Thomas Gadsden. While the documents related to that 1727 conveyance contain no hint of a gambling debt, the circumstances surrounding two transactions with Charles Codner of Daniel Island in 1735 suggest that the legend of Captain Anson’s gambling success might have been applied to the wrong property.

  • The Other New Years: Regnal, Civil, and Personal

    The beginning of a new calendar year in January is one of a variety of “new year” anniversaries that our forebears observed to mark the advent of a new life, monarch, or entity. The various methods of annual calculations in early South Carolina might seem arcane today, but a familiarity with their underlying concepts can help us better understand the past.

  • Top 10: Most popular stories from the Charleston Time Machine podcast

    Each week we take a trip through time in the Charleston Time Machine, traveling from point to point through history to examine the lesser known stories and the tales behind major events that helped shape Charleston. This week we'll take a look at the 10 most popular episodes of the Charleston Time Machine, a list that involves defending our port city, slavery, America's first president -- and pirates!

  • The Christmas Treasure of 1744

    The arrival of captured enemy vessels and booty was a familiar sight in Charleston during the War of Jenkins’ Ear, but the value of a French prize brought here in December 1744 surpassed all imagination. While unpacking her mysterious cargo in the days before Christmas, the crew discovered the most amazing cache of riches ever witnessed in the American colonies.

  • The Destruction and Renewal of Charleston’s Street Trees, 1837–1865

    When Charleston sacrificed a forest of street trees in 1837 for the sake of civic improvement, the loss triggered a long debate about the value of various tree species and the role of local government in promoting public health. Before the Civil War, the city selected a specific native, deciduous tree and commenced to renew the lost green canopy.

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Listen to the Podcast

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Don't know how to get a podcast? Let us help! 

Think of a podcast as a radio show that you can get on the internet and listen to, pause, restart, and skip through anytime you want. You have a couple options: You can listen to a podcast through a website like CCPL's, which is called streaming; or you can download the podcast, which means it is saved to your phone, tablet, or computer so you can listen to it anytime -- even without an internet connection. 

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. 

To download: Use an app and it will be delivered each week to your phone, tablet, or computer. You'll get a fresh Time Machine podcast every Friday afternoon! We offer downloads through services you may have heard of before: Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, and Tune In. Just click on the icon above of the service you want to use and click the subscribe button. It's that easy! 

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