7 things you may not know about King Street

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Photo by @donniewhitaker

We all know King Street, where parking is like trying to fit 10 pounds of grits into a five pound bag. On any given day, you can spot locals heading to a coffee date, dogs trotting happily by their owners, and visitors eyeing window displays. 🚶

But there’s much more to this bustling design + shopping district than meets the eye. We love learning about our city — especially the historic streets that get us from A to B in style — so we rounded up trivia about Charleston’s famous route.


The corner of King + Wentworth between 1880-1895. | Photo via the University of South Carolina

Here are seven fun facts about King Street:

  1. King Street was named after King Charles II of England. Charles Towne, established in 1670, was also named in honor of the king.
  2. There are sites from the National Register of Historic Places on King Street, including the Radcliffe-Aimar Building at 409 King St. and St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church at 405 King St.
  3. King Street was previously known as The Broad Path, the High Way, and The Broad Road.
  4. It may be Charleston’s main corridor, but King Street is not the city’s actual Main Street — which crosses the West Ashley Bikeway. See it on the map.
  5. Its history spans over 300 years, and it is one of the most historically + architecturally important roads in the city.
  6. In the 1950s, Upper King became a one-way street due to the popularity of shopping in the area. In 1994, it was converted back into a two-way road.
  7. The street underwent a revival in the 1980s, including the construction of Charleston Place Hotel. Today, the hotel is owned by local billionaire Ben Navarro.

For more local expertise, read about the history of Broad Street and the origins of 15 street names in Charleston.