The city of Charleston was founded in 1670 and was established as Charles Town after King Charles II of England. Now that 350+ years have passed, the city and its streets are chock-full of vibrant history.
It’s safe to say that over the years, the city has been touched by countless historical figures and happenings — many of which have shaped the names of Charleston’s buildings, parks, and streets. In this guide, we’re delving into the history of Charleston’s streets — specifically how they were named.
The Lower Peninsula, generally located below Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston, is brimming with historic homes, restaurants, theaters, and coffee shops.
Chalmers Street — Chalmers Alley, named after colonial physician Dr. Lionel Chalmers, merged with Beresford Alley and together became Chalmers Street.
Beaufain Street — Beaufain Street got its name from French Huguenot Hector Berenger de Beaufain. Beaufain moved to SC in 1735 and became one of the founders of Charleston Library Society.
The Upper Peninsula, generally located north of the Septima Clark Parkway in downtown Charleston, is home to neighborhoods, breweries, and shopping.
Septima P. Clark Parkway — The parkway was named after civil rights leader and educator Septima P. Clark, who was born in Charleston. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called her the “Mother of the Movement.”
Rutledge Avenue — This road runs through the lower and upper peninsula. It was named after John Rutledge, who served as governor of SC and Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. Read more about John Rutledge.
Line Street — Line Street’s name comes from the War of 1812, when American soldiers created a line of fortifications in the area.
King Street — King Street, which also runs through the upper and lower parts of downtown, was named after King Charles II of England. The street was previously known as the Broad Path, the High Way, and the Broad Road.
Old Village Historic District
This area of Mount Pleasant is bounded by Shem Creek to the north, Whilden Street to the east, the old bridge and marshland to the south, and the Charleston Harbor to the west.
Beach Street — This thoroughfare in the Old Village used to run along a beach. The area is now covered in marsh grass.
Pitt Street — Pitt Street got its name from Sir William Pitt, who served as the Prime Minister of England.