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 Medieval Roots of the Charleston Night Watch

    You might be surprised to learn that the roots of the Charleston police department, and of all law enforcement services in South Carolina, stretch back more than seven hundred years to thirteenth-century England.

  • The Baird Brothers: Charleston's Cycling Stars

    The first bicycles appeared on the streets of Charleston in the spring of 1869, at which time the machine was general called a “velocipede,” after the Latin roots “veloci” (fast) + “pede” (feet). For about six months after the first velocipedestrian rolled through the streets of Charleston, the city experienced a case of bicycle fever.

  • The Rebellion of South Carolina: April 21st, 1775

    After discussing the latest news received from England, and the intelligence contained in the private mail stolen from the post office the preceding night, the president of the Provincial Congress, Colonel Charles Pinckney (1732–1782) appointed William Henry Drayton (1742–1779) to head a “Secret Committee” to execute a series of preemptive covert actions.

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Listen to the Podcast

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