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

  • The South Carolina Revolution of 1719, Part 2

    The secret confederacy that formed in November 1719 assembled as an elected Convention of the people that December. In a showdown with the proprietary government, the Convention staged a bloodless coup d’etat that unhinged the colony’s political landscape. Born of frustration with the Lords Proprietors, the Revolution of 1719 was won at the end of a musket barrel and crowned by the royal approval of King George.

  • The South Carolina Revolution of 1719, Part 1

    Frustrated by years of neglect and contrary government, the citizens of South Carolina asserted their political will in the closing months of 1719 by organizing a rebellious confederacy that descended on Charleston to seize the reins of power. Today we’ll follow the chain of events that precipitated the political and military revolt that forms one of the most important, but least remembered, events of this state’s early history.

  • A look back at the 10 most popular travels in the Charleston Time Machine

    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!

  • Proprietary vs. Royal Government in Colonial South Carolina

    South Carolina was an English colony for its first century, but that era was marked by two contrasting periods characterized by different administrations: An initial “proprietary” era gave way to a “royal” government after a rebellion in 1719. To help us appreciate the impact of that uprising, let’s compare the two forms of colonial oversight that motivated one of the most important incidents in our state’s history.

  • Christmas Traditions in Early Charleston

    Here in Charleston, we share a number of Christmas customs with communities near and far, but how deep are the Lowcountry roots of our modern holiday traditions? Today we’ll examine a few historic holiday anecdotes that are sure to please and might even serve as morsels of polite dinner conversation during the upcoming Christmas season.

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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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