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Timeline of Colonial South Carolina

Apr 14 1865 - Sep 30 1972

Apr 14 1865

Federal flag-raising ceremony at Ft. Sumter, marking the anniversary of Maj. Anderson's surrender to Confederate forces.

Mar 21 1867

St. Michael's Bells ring for the first time since 1862. They had been sent to Columbia for safety, but were damaged, they were sent to England for recasting before reinstallation.

Aug 26 1879

First telephone exchange begins operation in the city. One of only 11 in the nation. It has 35 miles of wire and 84 subscribers.

Oct 01 1882

The Citadel reopens after 18 years, having closed in December 1864, when all the cadets entered active duty in service of the confederacy.

Aug 25 1885

Hurricane of 1885 strikes with 120 mph winds. 21 people lose their lives and damage is estimated at $2 million.

Aug 31 1886

At 9:51 p.m. on August 31, the most severe earthquake east of the Mississippi rocks the Lowcountry. Charleston reports approximately 80 deaths and damage estimated at $6 million. The magnitude of the earthquake has been estimated at somewhere between 7 and 8 on the Richter Scale. Charleston sits atop the Woodstock fault causing 2 to 3 tremors a year, but none equal to the magnitude of the 1886 earthquake.


Charleston's population: 55,800.


The South Carolina Interstate and West Indian Exposition, a forerunner of the World's Fair, attracts 700,000 people from around the nation to Hampton Park. President Theodore Roosevelt visits.


Norman Rockwell arrives at Charleston's Navy Yard for a tour of duty that lasts about 3 months.


Susan Pringle Frost and others form the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings, later to be renamed the Preservation Society of Charleston, marking the formal beginning of organized historic preservation.


Author Dubose Heyward writes tragic novel Porgy, set in Cabbage Row (changed to Catfish Row in the book) across from his house on Church Street.


A new dance craze begins in Charleston's pubs and dancehalls and spreads across the nation; soon to be named "the Charleston."


The first Cooper River Bridge opens with a formal ribbon cutting ceremony. The Bridge extends 2.7 miles, the fifth longest in the world at this time. To help defray the $6 million construction cost, a 50 cents per person toll is charged. The toll lasts until June, 1946.


Dorothy Legge purchases 99 and 101 East Bay, beginning the renovation of the area between Tradd and Elliot. Originally these valuable mid-1700 homes had been the center of commerce; merchants had stores on the first floor and lived on the floors above. Neglect over time left these valuable building in a state of disrepair. The purchase and restoration by Mrs. Legge inspired others, and today this beautiful array of homes is known as Rainbow Row.


The City of Charleston adopts a Planning and Zoning Ordinance establishing the "Old and Historic District," protecting some 400 residential properties in a 23-block area south of Broad Street. It is the first Historical Zoning Ordinance in the United States


Composer George Gershwin arrives in Charleston to research and write Porgy and Bess, the first American opera, including its famous song "Summertime."


Founding of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

Sep 14 1936

Fire rages along the waterfront engulfing pier 3 of the Clyde Lines in flames & causing some $463,000 worth of damage.

Nov 26 1937

Dignitaries gather for the black-tie opening of the newly renovated Dock St. Theater, seeing the same play which opened the original theater, "The Recruiting Officer."


The Historic Charleston Foundation is established to oversee a revolving fund with which to purchase threatened historic properties, restore them, and sell them with protective covenants. To help raise money for this work, the Foundation begins its "Festival of Houses," tours of private homes given each spring from mid-March to mid-April.


Italian composer Gian Carlo Menotti comes to Charleston at the instigation of Countess Alicia Paolozzi who owns a home in the city, and begins negotiations to make Charleston the American site of Menotti's Festival of Two Worlds, later called the Spoleto Festival.


Following the destruction of the landmark Charleston Hotel, the Historic District is tripled in size to include Ansonborough, Harleston Village, and other areas between Broad and Calhoun streets.

Sep 30 1972

First Scottish Games Highland Gathering held at Middleton Gardens. Competition held in bagpipes, dancing, althetic events.

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