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

  • Captain Thomas Hayward’s Poetic Description of 1769 Charles Town

    The identity of the author of a well-known Charleston poem from 1769 is obscure, but clues imbedded in the manuscript suggest a candidate whose unfamiliar name recalls a distant era of local maritime history, and whose biography provides a colorful backdrop for the creation of a famously bold description of the colonial capital.

  • Granville Bastion and the Unfinished Fort of 1697

    Granville Bastion, a brick structure mounting a dozen cannon, stood at the south end of East Bay Street from its creation in 1697 until its partial demolition in the 1780s. A new investigation of its genesis reveals that South Carolina’s oldest English fortification was originally conceived as one corner of a four-bastioned structure that was never completed.

  • Charleston County’s Mobile Library Service, 1931–2021

    Since the first bookmobiles hit the road in Charleston County in 1931, generations of drivers have carried books to remote corners of the county to foster a love of learning outside of traditional libraries. As CCPL’s thirteenth “mobile library” prepares to continue this ninety-year-old tradition, let’s review a brief history of the county’s books (and more) on wheels.

  • The Bowling Green: Recreational Space in Colonial Charleston

    Dedicated recreational space was not part of the vocabulary of urban planning in colonial South Carolina, so early Charlestonians were obliged to borrow private land for use as public greens. The earliest evidence of a shared space for sport and leisure in our community points to a forgotten suburban site once known as the Bowling Green.

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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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