The Story behind Ropemaker’s Lane

January 18, 2019

Ropemaker’s Lane is a narrow alley in urban Charleston with a name that evokes images of an antique industry wrought by men twisting and spinning long fibers into useful objects. While that scenario is accurate, it represents just one facet of t...

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Charleston: The Palmetto City

January 11, 2019

The City of Charleston, in my humble opinion, needs an official nickname, and perhaps even an official symbol. There are a few contenders out there, ranging from cheeky epithets to marketing slogans, but I think there’s only one real option to a...

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Antebellum Charleston’s Most Vulnerable: Foundlings at the Akin Hospital

January 4, 2019

I’d like to share a story that evokes the duality of Charleston’s colorful and painful history. Many of the stories we tell ourselves and visitors about our community’s history have a bright side and a not-so-bright side, and both aspects d...

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The Golden Christmas of 1852

December 20, 2018

If you’ve ever wondered what Christmas was like on a Lowcountry plantation in Antebellum times, William Gilmore Simms has the answers. His 1852 novella, The Golden Christmas, is a lighthearted, sunny tale of romance and comedy that floats carele...

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The Pirate Executions of 1718

December 8, 2018

The mass execution of 49 pirates in Charleston in 1718 is described in historical documents with a frustrating paucity of details. Despite the drama and trauma associated with this event, an air of mystery still hangs over the town regarding the p...

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The Charleston Pirate Trials of 1718

November 30, 2018

Over the course of five weeks in the autumn of 1718, the people of Charleston witnessed thirteen trials of fifty-eight men accused of piracy. Clerks wielding quill pens and ink made a paper record of this entire courtroom spectacle, most of which ...

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The Pirate Hunting Expeditions of 1718

November 23, 2018

This month marks the 300th anniversary of one of the dramatic episodes in the history of Charleston—the trial and execution of four dozen pirates who were captured off the Carolina coast in 1718. In today’s episode, we’ll explore the backgro...

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The Tail of Washington’s Horse

November 9, 2018

Have you seen the tail of the horse in the portrait of George Washington that hangs in Charleston’s City Hall? Have you heard the tale of how that painting came to be, and why the horse’s rear-end is so prominently displayed? Is this depiction...

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Buried Alive in Early Charleston

October 25, 2018

In the spirit of Halloween, today’s program concerns one of the most prevalent and legitimate fears held by the people of eighteenth-century Charleston. I’m talking about taphophobia—the fear of being buried alive. Premature burial was a rea...

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The Akin Foundling Hospital Building

October 19, 2018

Today I’d like to introduce you to the Akin Foundling Hospital, a short-lived and long-forgotten municipal institution that was once located on the west side of Meeting Street in downtown Charleston. Established in 1843 at the bequest of Miss El...

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