Trivia Thursday: Charleston, SC

Charleston, South Carolina is rich in history dating back to 1670. Thanks to forward thinkers back in the early 1900’s, much of Charleston is preserved with thousands of historic buildings and sites. Walking through the historic district is like taking a step back through time.

Charleston has survived the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War as well as pirates, hurricanes and social revolutions. She still bears the scars — yet a spirit of renewal makes this city special. The people who call Charleston home are a gracious, proud group, who take tremendous care in the preservation of the past and the hope of the future. Historic buildings are so well preserved they look as if they were built yesterday. In its heyday, Charleston was the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan city in the colonies — loaded with rich merchants and plantation owners. As it is today, Charleston of yesterday was a tourist destination, attracting visitors with its culture, wine, dancing, and imported luxuries.

Here is some fun trivia and facts about Charleston. Pay attention, there may be a quiz later.

  1. During the colonial era, Charleston was enclosed by a fortification wall with defensive bastions to protect it from invasion by pirates and enemies of the English empire. The wall was later removed. But, wall or no wall, Charleston shares its history with some of the most infamous pirates of all time, including Irish-born Anne Bonney, Edward Teach (known as Blackbeard) and “gentleman” pirate Stede Bonnet.

  2. Charleston boasts the first public college, museum and playhouse in the U.S.

  3. George Gershwin composed his well-known opera Porgy and Bess while living on Folly Beach, SC. Porgy and Bess are buried in the James Island Presbyterian Church graveyard.

  4. The Charleston area is home to a large number of best-selling novelists, including Pat Conroy, Sue Monk Kidd, Dorothea Benton Frank, Mary Alice Monroe and fantasy author Robert Jordan.

  5. According to Charleston legend, a an African American butler by the name of William Deas created the world-renowned she-crab soup at the John Rutledge Inn.

  6. The first game of golf played in the U.S. took place in Charleston.

  7. As early as the 1700’s, Limners (Traveling Artists) flocked to Charleston. Many were portrait painters like Samuel Morse, who eventually threw in the brush and invented Morse code.

  8. North America’s longest cable-stayed bridge spans the Charleston Harbor. The Arthur J. Ravenel Jr. Bridge connects historic Charleston and Mount Pleasant, SC.

  9. The first shot to be fired in the Civil War was fired by Citadel Cadets stationed on Morris Island.

  10. After the Civil War, it is said that the North donated black paint to spruce things up. But black was Yankee paint so they found mixing two parts Yankee black and one part Rebel yellow produced the signature Charleston dark green.

  11. The Charleston, a famous 1920’s-era dance, started in Charleston and was patterned after Gullah dance steps.

  12. A sea captain would spear a pineapple to his fence post to let friends know he was home safely and to please visit so he could regale his guests with tales of the high seas. The pineapple today is a symbol of hospitality.

  13. Charleston is also known as the “Holy City” because of the prevalence of church steeples on the city skyline. There are more than 400 houses of worship throughout the city. The oldest church, St. Michael’s, dates back to 1761.

  14. These Charlestonians signed the Declaration of Independence: Arthur Middleton, Thomas Heyward Jr., Edward Rutledge and Thomas Lynch Jr.

  15. Charleston’s first woman newspaper editor and publisher was Mrs. Elizabeth Timothy in 1739.

  16. Charleston is the seventh largest container port in the U.S.

  17. Sullivan’s Island, home of Fort Moultrie, which sits at the mouth of Charleston Harbor and was the site of significant action during the Revolutionary War, has been featured in works by both contemporary novelist Pat Conroy and dark poet Edgar Allan Poe. Poe’s story The Gold Bug was set there.

  18. The city’s first baseball team was the Sea Gulls, established in 1886, and now called the Charleston Riverdogs. Part owner and director of fun is actor Bill Murray.

  19. Dr. Alexander Garden, a Charleston physician first imported “Cape Jasmine” from South Africa in about 1754. The flower was renamed Gardenia after Dr. Garden.

  20. Comedian Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report grew up in Charleston and attended Porter-Gaud, a prestigious local prep school.

  21. The old city market was first a meat market. Buzzards “Charleston’s Eagle” once trolled the market for meat scraps and kept the pace clean and were protected by law.

  22. The Isle of Palms was originally named Hunting Island and then Long Island, it’s thought to be at least 25,000 years old, and was first inhabited by the indigenous Seewee Indians.

  23. Sweetgrass basket making has been a part of the Mount Pleasant community for more than 300 years.

[SOURCE: Fun facts about Charleston and South Carolina]

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