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

  • A Veteran’s Story: Caring for the Family of Sergeant William Jasper

    Veterans Day is a holiday created in the twentieth century, but its roots date back to the dawn of the United States. Today we’ll use the story of one veteran’s family—the wife and children of the famous Sergeant William Jasper—to trace the evolution of local, state, and national efforts to assist the survivors our nation’s brave defenders.

  • Mackey’s Morphine Madness: The 1869 Shootout at Charleston City Hall, Part 2

    Thomas J. Mackey did not shoot the sheriff, but he shot at him during a meeting of Charleston’s City Council in October 1869. The community condemned the morphine-fueled assault, but justice was not served. In the turbulent world of Reconstruction-era politics, it was easier to sweep a violent assault under the proverbial rug than to disrupt the status quo.

  • Mackey’s Morphine Madness: The 1869 Shootout at Charleston City Hall, Part 1

    Debate within Charleston’s City Council is sometimes harsh, but never as acrimonious as the night in 1869 when arguing aldermen drew pistols to settle a dispute. We’ll begin this real-life tale of drugs, liquor, bullets, and rage by profiling the elected gunmen, uncovering the roots of their disagreement, and following the scene of mayhem at City Hall.

  • Hampstead Village: The Historic Heart of Charleston’s East Side

    Hampstead Village is a downtown neighborhood better known today as the heart of Charleston’s “East Side.” Created in 1769, it has endured a series of ups and downs that transformed it into Charleston’s most diverse and densely populated neighborhood. To better understand its challenges and potential, let’s review Hampstead’s history and its long struggle for dignity and survival.

  • From Intendant to Mayor: The Evolution of Charleston’s Executive Office

    The mayor of Charleston is a prestigious officer who commands respect throughout our community, but that hasn’t always been the case. Nearly two centuries ago, the city’s executive evolved from a nearly powerless, part-time, unsalaried intendant, to a powerful, full-time, salaried mayor. Today we’ll compare and contrast those titles and trace the gradual accretion of powers that define 21st-century Charleston’s most visible citizen.

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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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