Historic Sites

Charleston: Adventures of Historic Proportions

Stand on the site of the first shot in the Civil War. Come face to face with a giant sea turtle. Take a tour of an antebellum mansion. Climb aboard a WWII aircraft carrier. There are so many blossoming gardens, so many photo opportunities and so many reasons to come back to see us again.

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Fort Sumter Tours

Stops at Fort Sumter National Monument, where the Civil War began. Tours depart from the Visitor Education Facility at Liberty Square downtown and from Patriots Point.

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Joseph Manigault House

Built in 1803, the Joseph Manigault House is an exceptional example of Federal period architecture. This National Historic Landmark displays a remarkable collection of period English and French furnishings dating to the early 19th century. See website or call for hours and pricing.

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Aiken-Rhett House

The city’s most intact antebellum urban complex (c. 1820). Historic interiors, surviving virtually unaltered since 1858, have been conserved and stabilized. Many family objects are still found in the rooms for which they were purchased. $12. M-Sa 10am– 5pm, Su 2pm–5pm. Last tour beings at 4:15 p.m.

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Nathaniel Russell House

Grand Federal townhouse completed in 1808. Restored interior w/ elaborate ornamentation and a magnificent free-flying staircase. Set amid spacious gardens and furnished with period antiques, the house evokes the gracious lifestyle of the city's elite. $12. M-Sa 10am– 5pm, Su 2pm – 5pm. Last tour beings at 4:15 p.m.

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Edmondston-Alston House

Dating to 1825 and located on Charleston’s High Battery, guided tours invite visitors to step into a world of Antebellum elegance and style. Visitors will see furniture, silver and paintings original to the Alston family, and breathtaking views of the harbor from the second-floor piazza.

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Heyward-Washington House

Built in 1772, Charleston's Revolutionary War House was the town-home of Thomas Heyward, Jr., signer of the Declaration of Independence. The home features magnificent Charleston-made furniture and a formal 18th century garden. See website or call for hours and pricing.

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Middleton Place House Museum

Built in 1755, the House Museum interprets generations of the Middleton family -- rice barons who shaped the history of the U.S. from the founding of Charleston to the Civil War. Guided tours describe the amazing collection of original Middleton family portraits, furniture, silver, jewelry and documents.

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Drayton Hall

The oldest unrestored plantation house in America still open to the public. Admission includes guided House Tour, Connections Program: From Africa to America, interactive landscape tour, African-American cemetery, nature walks, Museum Shop. Please call ahead for hours and tour times.

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Avery Research Center for African-American History and Culture

Reading room and archives open 10am-5pm M-F and 12-5pm Sa. Walk-in tours open M-Sa 12-5pm. Group tours by appointment. (1990 Carolopolis Award). Beautifully restored facility, site of former Avery School built in 1865. Tour of building includes exhibits and archives.

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Charleston City Market

Open M-Su. Built in 1841 to sell produce and meats, it features small shops, restaurants and flea market with everything from produce to antiques.

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Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site

Su-M 9am-6pm. Dorchester was settled in 1696 by a small group of Congregationalists on a high bluff on the east bank of the Ashley River. Today, the ruins of Fort Dorchester, old St. George’s Church, and interesting archaeological excavations mark the site of Dorchester.

Fort Moultrie

The Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm, closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The first decisive patriot victory over the British Navy on June 28, 1776 at a palmetto log fort on the shores of Charleston Harbor galvanized the patriot’s cause for independence. The National Park Service interprets 171 years of American seacoast defenses from 1776 to 1947. The Visitor Center houses exhibits on Fort Moultrie’s history and a 20-minute orientation film. Adults $3; Seniors (62+) $1; Children (15 and under) free; Families $5.

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Fort Sumter National Monument

Open daily except New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Hours vary according to the season. Concessionaire ferries depart from Liberty Square in Charleston and from Patriots Point in Mt. Pleasant. America’s most tragic conflict ignited at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, when a chain reaction of social, economic and political events exploded into civil war. A powerful symbol to both the South and the North, Fort Sumter remains a memorial to all who fought to hold it. The fort may be visited by concession operated ferry boat or private boats.Correspondences should be sent to park headquarters at 1214 Middle St., Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482.

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Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square

The Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30am to 5pm, and admission is free. Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. This National Park Service facility is the primary departure point for visitors to Fort Sumter. Exhibits provide an overview of events leading up to the Civil War.

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Morris Island Lighthouse

Morris Island is located off of Folly Beach and is an ecologically and historically sensitive barrier island. One of Charleston's best known and most beloved landmarks is recognized as one of the top 100 cultural sites in the state of South Carolina by the Heritage Trust Program Board.

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Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon

Built by the British in 1771, American Patriots were held prisoner in the Provost during the War of Americas' Independence. One of the three most historically significant buildings of colonial America. Educational tours/evening events. Adults $8; 7-12 $4; 6 and under free.

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South Carolina Historical Society

The state’s oldest historical society maintaining a vast research library and archives. Researchers are invited to explore our collections. Members conduct research for free and receive the Society’s publications. Tours available by appointment.

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The Charleston Library Society

M-F 9:30am-5:30pm; Sa 9:30am-2pm. Established December 28, 1748 by seventeen young gentlemen of various trades. The Charleston Library Society paved the way for the founding of the College of Charleston in 1770 and provided the core collection of artifacts for the founding of the Charleston Museum.

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The College of Charleston

Founded in 1770, the first municipal college in America was built in 1724 on land set aside for educational purposes. Present main building was designed by eminent Philadelphia architect William Strickland, built in 1828, and paid for by voluntary subscription by the people of Charleston.

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The Historic Dock Street Theatre

“America’s First Theatre,” located in the heart of downtown Charleston, is home to the City’s finest cultural institutions including Spoleto Festival USA and Moja Arts Festival. Charleston Stage, the theatre company in residence at Dock Street, presents a full season of plays each year.

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The Powder Magazine

Oldest public building in the Carolinas. The Powder Magazine stored the powder crucial for defending Charleston. Although replaced by a newer magazine in 1748, it served effectively until the American Revolution. Restored to its mid-nineteenth century appearance and open as a National Historic Landmark.

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