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

  • South Carolina’s First Public Lending Library in 1698

    A plaque in Charleston states that the first lending library in the American colonies was established on the west side of St. Philip Street in 1698. The details of this misleading story are complicated, but South Carolina’s first public library was definitely part of a ground-breaking effort to create circulating libraries throughout the British colonies.

  • The Star-Spangled Spirit of Charleston

    The words of “The Star-Spangled Banner” were written in 1814, but the “Anacreontic” tune used for our national anthem was well-known in Charleston decades earlier. This blending of elements old and new was critical to the success of the patriotic anthem and reflects the cosmopolitan spirit in which Charleston audiences received it more than two centuries ago.

  • The Moving Memorials to Elizabeth Jackson

    Elizabeth Jackson, mother of our seventh president, died near Charleston during the American Revolution, but the site of her grave is a mystery. Obscure clues to her final resting place have confounded efforts to celebrate her memory, and two monuments often mislead visitors. By reviewing the historic evidence, we can point to a forgotten site on the modern landscape.

  • The Public Life of Charleston’s Market Hall

    Market Hall is a 180-year-old public building that has been occupied as a private museum for the past 120 years. That tenure has obscured the building’s the original purpose and the history of its earlier use. During its first sixty years, this architectural gem hosted a forgotten variety of events created and attended by diverse Charleston audiences.

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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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