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. 

Workflow: 
Published

Sign up for the Charleston Time Machine newsletter!

Workflow: 
Published

Recent Trips in Charleston's History

  • The Auction Sales of Enslaved Residents in Colonial Era Charleston

    Charleston was once the most active marketplace for enslaved people in North America. While incoming Africans were sold from the vessels that brought them, enslaved people already living in the Lowcountry during the colonial era were commonly sold at at a long-forgotten, open-air auction site within the heart of Charleston known as “the usual place.”

  • Hurricanes in Lowcountry History, Part 2

    Here’s the conclusion of our overview of notable hurricanes in the history of Lowcountry South Carolina, from the dramatic storm of 1804 to the mild passing of Matthew of 2016. Learning about these old tropical twisters will help you get in the groove for the next hurricane, which is always just around the corner during the month of September.

  • The Sales of Incoming Africans on the Wharves of Colonial Charleston

    The arrival of more than 150,000 African captives before 1808 forms one of the most important themes in Charleston’s history, but there are many details about this traffic that remain obscure. To acknowledge the suffering and legacy of those people, many people wish to retrace their first footsteps here. But where did they stand when they were sold into a life of slavery in Charleston?

  • Charleston’s First Orchestra: The St. Cecilia Society

    November 2016 marked the 250th anniversary of the first concerts of the most significant musical organization in the early history of the United States—Charleston’s St. Cecilia Society. In this episode, we’ll take quick tour of the society’s history, from its origins in 1766, through the Revolution and the War of 1812, to its final concerts in 1820.

  • Indigo in the Fabric of Early South Carolina

    Indigo forms an important part of the early history of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Although its memory flourishes today, lingering misconceptions have distorted our general understanding of the story. In an effort to help “grow” this colorful conversation, I’ve crafted a series of questions and responses that address some points of indigo history that every Charlestonian should know.

  • The Evolution of Charleston’s Name

    For the anniversary of the incorporation of Charleston, let’s take a close look at the legal document that defined the new municipality. Our focus isn’t politics, but spelling: The city’s 1783 charter shortened its name from “Charles Town,” and the surviving manuscript contains a curious spelling that provides new insight in the evolution of the familiar name “Charleston.”

Workflow: 
Published

Listen to the Podcast

Subscribe on these free services

 
 
Workflow: 
Published
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! 

Workflow: 
Published