Did you know Darius Rucker is originally from Charleston?
Nah, just kidding. If you know us, you know we’re here for the deep cuts — and there’s plenty of interesting factoids to go around.
As connoisseurs of the quirky and unconventional, we put together a list of Charleston’s history, quirky characteristics, and more.
Maybe you’ve lived here your whole life and know some of this, or maybe you’ll learn something new. Either way, test your local knowledge with these 15 interesting facts.
1. The Holy City is home to the historic Dock Street Theatre, recognized as “America’s first theater.” This landmark was the first structure in the country constructed exclusively for theatrical performances.
2. Similarly, Charleston is also home to America’s First Museum. Read up on the history of The Charleston Museum, established in 1773. Pssst: This local landmark is commemorating its 250th anniversary on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023.
3. The College of Charleston is recognized as the oldest municipal college in the United States. Shout out to you, CofC Cougars.
4. The co-inventor of Morse Code and the telegraph, Samuel Morse, spent time living and painting in Charleston between 1817-1821. Charleston adopted the telegraph not long after in 1848.
5. In 1738, Elizabeth Ann Timothy took over the South Carolina Gazette to become the first female newspaper editor + publisher right here in the Holy City.
6. Originally known as Charles Town after King Charles II, the city was renamed Charleston in 1783. Read all about Charleston’s names + nicknames.
7. Charleston is almost identical in layout to Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados. Local features including cobblestone streets, bright, colonial buildings, and crape myrtle trees are mirrored in each city. Read more about this influence + connection here.
8. One of history’s most mysterious + eerie poets, Edgar Allan Poe, was stationed at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island between 1827-1828, where he enlisted under the name Edgar A. Perry. The island is where Poe’s short story, The Gold Bug, takes place.
9. Lavinia Fisher, recognized as “the first female serial killer in the United States,” is said to haunt the Old City Jail where she and her husband were incarcerated before they were hanged in 1820.
New theories have surfaced which suggest she may never have actually killed anyone, and her arrest may have been a setup. Find out if the Fishers were innocent.
10. Many of the ceilings of the piazzas on historic Charleston homes are painted a light blue, recognized as haint blue. Gullah Geechee descendants of enslaved African people thought the soft, blue-green paint would keep “haints,” or evil spirits, away.
11. If you take a stroll down Sullivan’s Island beach at just the right time, a Panama mount, “gun turret,” dating back to World War II can be identified around Station 30. The artifact has been spotted after certain weather conditions, including record high tides and following Hurricane Matthew.
12. Many homes in Charleston possess a piazza, or a covered porch held up by columns, which were frequently built facing south or west to catch the sea breeze + help residents cool off during warm summers.
13. Pawleys Island is said to have a friendly neighborhood ghost dubbed “the Gray Man.” This figure becomes visible ahead of inclement weather to warn locals that a storm is coming and has said to have appeared before five major storms that have impacted the coast of Pawleys Island.
14. South Carolina Ports ranks in the top 10 busiest container ports in the nation. A record-breaking number of containers were moved at the Ports of Charleston during October, marking the third busiest month in port history.
15. You’ve probably visited The Pineapple Fountain at Charleston Waterfront Park — recognized as an iconic landmark in the Holy City. Did you know that the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality in Charleston?
Your turn. Think you can get one over on us? Let us know your favorite local trivia tidbit and you just might make it into the newsletter.