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

  • Policing Charleston during Queen Anne’s War, 1702-1713

    In a short span of time during an international war, the S.C. legislature enacted a succession of laws related to the policing of urban Charleston. It was a confusing period of law enforcement experimentation during a crucial era in the town’s history, in which the colony first achieved a black majority, and produced the earliest evidence of enslaved drummers in Charleston.

  • Declaring Independence in 1776 Charleston

    Every 4th of July, our nation celebrates the anniversary of the ratification of theDeclaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776. Here in Charleston, we gather on this date each year to commemorate a grand event that is less-well remembered—the first publication of the Declaration in the capital city of South Carolina on August 5th, 1776.

  • Remembering the Battle of Sullivan’s Island

    In 2018, the Palmetto Society invited me to deliver a speech at White Point Garden to commemorate the 242nd anniversary of the Battle of Sullivan’s Island, which took place on the 28th of June, 1776. For this year’s celebration of that historic day, long known as Carolina Day, I’d like to share the text of that speech in the hopes that people unfamiliar with the event might draw inspiration from the bravery and determination of those who fought for our nation’s independence.

  • The historic landscape of the Wando Mount Pleasant Library

    The site of CCPL’s newest branch has a rich but invisible history. Formerly occupied by Native Americans, the land was controlled by a succession of owners who grew rich from the labors of generations of enslaved people. From forest land in the 20th century to modern suburban development, the land under the Wando Mount Pleasant library holds quite a story.

  • Abraham the Unstoppable, Part 8

    The “Negro” man Abraham used his courage and equestrian skills to blaze a path from slavery to freedom in 1760 during South Carolina’s Cherokee war. In the conclusion of his dramatic story, we find him dressed in a new blue coat, ranging across the colonial frontier with armed troopers, and then back in Charleston conversing with the royal governor.

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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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