Charleston is a curious and quaint town that is LOADED with rich history and culture. Most of us have heard about the main attributes that Charleston is famous for, including its pirate and Civil War history, haunted properties, Gullah culture, and riveting plantations and architecture.
But there are so many little details about Charleston that many visitors and locals alike don’t know, and here are just 7 little-known facts that we’ve compiled:
FACT 1: Located in the Battery of downtown Charleston is White Point Gardens, which received its name from the English in 1670. As they sailed along the coast of Charleston, they noticed droves of white oyster shells in this area, which is why the called it “White Point.” Today, you can visit the White Point Gardens for some fantastic pictures and to enjoy beautiful views of Charleston harbor and Fort Sumter. You’ll also find a Confederate monument, cannons, and history-rich plaques.
FACT 2: If you look closely at some of the buildings in downtown Charleston you will notice metal circles or disks (about the size of a plate) on the exterior. These circles are actually the ends of earthquake rods. These rods or bolts were added to newly constructed buildings after the devastating Charleston earthquake of 1886, in hopes to strengthening building structures.
See below for an image of the earthquake bolt on a building in downtown Charleston:
FACT 3: The Gullah language is an official language (as of 1939) of the Lowcountry. Here are a few Gullah words to try: Beehibe (beehive), beritywell (very well), brekwus’ (breakfast), Chaa’stun (Charleston). Click here to learn more Gullah words and phrases.
FACT 4: Traditional Charleston homes and buildings have decks or piazzas that face south or west to ensure that individuals living in the homes received ample breeze. There was no such thing as AC units back then and we all know how HOT Charleston can get!
FACT 5: Isle of Palms was once called Hunting Island nearly 25,000 years ago. And it actually went through another name change. Before being called Isle of Palms, the island that sits to the southeast of Mount Pleasant and the east of downtown Charleston was called Long Island (in fact, there is a restaurant on the island that is called Long Island Café, which pays homage to the island’s old name!).
FACT 6: In the early 1800s when slaves were sold at the Old Exchange Building, and later the Old Slave Mart, the slaves had to wear registered tags, etched with their assigned number and skill set.
FACT 7: No wonder Charleston is so rich with culture, it was the first city in America to have a theater, which is still around today! The Dock Street Theater was built in 1736 and is said to be one of the most haunted places in Charleston . . . Today, you can enjoy live performances at the now Charleston Stage at the Dock.