The city of Charleston is the oldest city in South Carolina, and, having been founded almost 350 years ago, is home to a wealth of knowledge and historic sites. Living in Charleston is an excellent opportunity to learn about our nation’s history, but with so many historic sites to visit, it can be hard to decide on which one to visit. That’s why we here at The Peninsula Company have compiled a list of six of our favorites for you to check out.
Located on lower King Street just across from the Charleston Library Society, the Unitarian Church Graveyard is a favorite of tourists and locals alike. The lush grounds offer an other-worldly escape from the shopping of King Street, and the headstones tell the stories of numerous Charleston citizens. It is also believed that Anna Ravenel, Edgar Allen Poe’s lost love who inspired the character of Annabel Lee, was buried in the graveyard under a different name by her father who disapproved of the union.
The Dock Street Theatre, located in the heart of Charleston’s French Quarter, is not only a popular working theatre, but it was also the first theatre building erected in the Thirteen Colonies! Visitors are welcome to tour the grounds when performances are not going on, and we highly recommend staying to attend a performance.
This popular landmark has had many uses in its day, including a custom house, a public meeting place, storage for confiscated tea in 1774, a military prison, and, currently, a museum run by the Daughters of the American Revolution. This site is a great and informative visit for families and history buffs alike - they’ll even let you down into the dungeons!
Possibly the most infamous historic site in all of South Carolina, the Battle of Fort Sumter marked the beginning of the American Civil War in April of 1861. Today, this fort and a series of museums still stand as a monument and educational tool for thousands of visitors. A visit to this site can be made into a whole day with a ferry ride out to the sea fort and stops at each of the museums.
This working church is nestled in the heart of downtown on a square known as the Four Corners of Law. Representing ecclesiastical law, this church was built in the 1750s and welcomes visitors to come in and see the sanctuary and churchyard, in which two signers of the US Constitution are interred. St. Michael’s also welcomes visitors to their Sunday Services, which begin at 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 6 p.m.
This unique floating museum is a favorite of South Carolinians, offering a glimpse into the naval history of South Carolina through the ages alongside a chance to explore several real ships used in various wars, including the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, the destroyer USS Laffey, and the submarine USS Clamagore. This museum also boasts an extensive Medal of Honor museum, which includes biographies of every medal recipient. The USS Yorktown was also featured on a recent episode of Buzzfeed Unsolved: Supernatural, in which the hosts investigated reported sightings of ghostly airmen onboard.