Charleston, SC - An Overview of a Wonderful and Historic City


By: Staff Editor, Charleston Harbor Tours
February 29, 2016

Known for its foodie culture, extravagant homes, killer shopping, year round beautiful weather and its rich history there is no question why Charleston, SC was named the best city in North America and the 2nd best city in the world 2015 by Travel and Leisure. The millions who visit this dynamic city are treated to the ultimate vacation.

One can spend the day exploring the offerings of local vendors at the city market, carriage tours that bring to light the historical local neighborhoods South of Broad, and Plantations that display the unique and storied pasts of the Lowcountry. Its stunning skyline filled with majestic church Steeples give the city its clever nickname, the “Holy City”. Beautiful days spent discovering the antiquity of Charleston are only matched by experiencing this truly amazing destination from the water.

Charleston Harbor, formed by the meeting of the Cooper and Ashley rivers, overflows with fascinating Maritime History. Pirates, The Revolutionary War, and the start of the Civil War are all parts of the eclectic and enriching scene. Charleston Harbor Tours, a local sightseeing company has the best way to experience Charleston from the water, offering a narrated tour of the top historical spots in the Harbor. This all-encompassing tour opens visitor’s eyes to such places as Ft. Sumter, Ft. Moultrie, The Battery, The USS Yorktown and the impressive cable- stayed Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.

The Battery, also known as White Point Garden due to the piles of bleached oyster shells that occupied the land when first developed, was constructed as a defensive sea wall to fortify and protect the City of Charleston from outside attacks during the Revolutionary war, and is the focal point of many tours in Charleston. It features a serene park, surrounded by beautiful antebellum homes, which was used as a public park in 1837 until the use of the park changed with the beginning of the civil war. The park also has a storied pirate past, with many pirates meeting their fate in the gallows of the now beautiful Oak lined Park.

Ft. Sumter, arguably one of the most important locations in US history, was first commissioned by the Madison Administration after the War of 1812. It was named for Army General Thomas Sumter, a Revolutionary War hero and is the fated site where the Civil War began on April 12, 1861. The assault by Confederate Soldiers lasted for 34 straight hours and ended with the surrender and evacuation of Union forces the next day. It is interesting to note that during the bombardment, no one perished from either side. As part of the terms of surrender, the Union Forces were permitted a 100-gun salute before evacuation; the salute was cut short when an accidental explosion killed a gunner, bringing forth the first death of the Civil War.

Ft. Moultrie, the next historical site on the tour of Charleston Harbor, first constructed in 1776 and was built with the logs of the Palmetto Tree, was unfinished when it faced its first attack from British Forces on June 28, 1776. Under the Command of Colonel William Moultrie, Charleston was protected from British occupation as, surprisingly, their warship cannon balls bounced off the Palmetto enforced walls of the Fort. After this victory the structure was named in honor of Colonel Moultrie and the Palmetto log protection inspired the State flag adorned with the Palmetto Tree and state nickname, The Palmetto State. During the Civil war, as Ft. Sumter was reduced to a little more than rubble, Ft. Moultrie was cleverly reinforced with sand banks, which proved successful in preserving the Fort, which is still in great condition today.

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, built to replace the outdated bridges that previously spanned the Cooper River, was completed in 2005. This impressive spectacle measures 2.5 miles long and is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere. Built to withstand wind gusts up to 300 mph and earthquakes up to 7.2 magnitude the Ravenel Bridge is as sturdy as it is beautiful. It takes center stage every year in early spring when the City hosts the famous Cooper River Bridge run, a 10k and the only competition in South Carolina sanctioned by USA Track and Field, attracting thousands of elite and recreational runners alike.

Taking the time to get to know this wonderful and historic city and the significant part that it played in both the Civil and Revolutionary wars, it's obvious why its citizens have such pride to call this place home.


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