The Beautiful Buildings of Charleston, Part III

The Beautiful Buildings of Charleston, Part III

This is the third installment of a series on Charleston’s historic and architectural wonders.

A list of historic Charleston gems could fill pages. Here are just a few more:

dock street theatreDock Street TheatreOn February 12, 1736 the original Dock Street Theatre opened on the corner of Church and Dock Streets (now Queen Street), the first building in America dedicated to theatrical performances. That building was destroyed in the great fire of 1740.

The theatre moved around until 1935, when the dilapidated Planters Inn hotel was converted for its current use.

The Dock Street Theatre is most notable for its wrought iron balcony and sandstone columns, and of course for centuries of American history.

Mother Emanuel todayEmanuel AME Church — The oldest AME church in the South, this Gothic Revival structure was a special place long before the recent tragedy that thrust it into the news. “Mother Emmanuel” was founded nearly 200 years ago by a group including Denmark Vesey, later hanged for allegedly fomenting violent rebellion against slave owners. The church was the religious home of free African Americans in the early 19th century. A wreath now hangs on the front of the church as a memorial to the nine slain parishioners, and is visited by tourists every day.

Croghan’s Jewel BoxA family jewelry store occupying a cherished spot on King Street in Charleston’s historic shopping district, Croghan’s was founded more than a century ago in the narrow side porch of the current location. The store has expanded into the entire building and added an iconic clock beneath the floor during a nearly $1 million renovation 15 years ago. Walk through the doors of Croghan’s, look down, and know what time it is.

customs houseU.S. Customs HouseThis classic Greek Revival structure commands East Bay Street and the harbor from atop the closest thing to a hill on the peninsula. Reflecting Charleston’s place as a major port city, the massive structure is supported by 14 fluted Corinthian columns and rises majestically up a long flight of marble stairs. Building of the Customs House began in 1853 but was halted by a variety of events including the Civil War, and wasn’t completed until 1879.

With the rise of East Bay as a major dining street, the steps of the Customs House have become a key gathering place for tourists and locals alike.

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