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.
Sign up for the Charleston Time Machine newsletter!
Recent Trips in Charleston's History
To commemorate its fifth anniversary, Dr. Nic pauses the Time Machine for a brief review and progress report. Tune-in for an informal, behind-the-scenes chat about the path and process of the first 222 episodes and hear news about the future of CCPL's local-history 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, Charleston's forgotten dead, and Spain's claims on the Lowcountry!
In December 1766, a man reported the theft of his wallet while passing through a crowd of enslaved people listening to a “banjer” playing on the waterfront of urban Charleston. A close reading of his description of the incident identifies clues that illuminate its context and help us reimagine a forgotten aspect of South Carolina’s musical heritage.
The declaration of war between England and Spain in 1702 provoked anxiety in South Carolina about the security of Charleston. The capital's waterfront fortifications provided some protection against invasion, but the rest of the town was undefended. After an offensive expedition failed to capture Spanish St. Augustine, the provincial government elected to build an earthen wall and moat around Charleston’s urban core.
In the decades after the founding of Charleston in 1670, more than a dozen tribes of indigenous people across the Lowcountry interacted with the growing population of White settlers and enslaved Africans. Disease, warfare, and displacement gradually reduced their numbers, however, and the first people of the Lowcountry were virtually extinct by the middle of the eighteenth century.
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!