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14 of Charleston’s Firsts & Oldest

14 of Charleston’s Firsts & Oldest

It is impossible to spend a day in Charleston without having a firsthand experience with history.  Charleston is home to not only the nation’s first playhouse and museum, but also to America’s oldest landscaped gardens and first municipal college. No question, this Grand Dame deserves the motto “where history lives.” Scroll on to discover 14 of Charleston’s firsts and oldest.

  1. Charleston was founded in 1670 and is the oldest city between Virginia and Florida.

  2. America’s first golf course, Harleston Green, and first golf club, the South Carolina Golf Club, were built and organized in Charleston.

  3.  The world’s first successful submarine attack occurred in Charleston Harbor in 1864 when the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley sank the Union warship Housatonic.

  4. The Charleston Museum, organized in 1773, was the first in America.

  5. The College of Charleston is the oldest municipal college in America, chartered in 1773.

  6. Situated on Church Street in the heart of downtown Charleston, Dock Street Theatre is the nation’s first permanent playhouse.

  7. Magnolia Plantation & Gardens is home to the oldest public gardens in America.

  8. In 1786, Andre Michaux introduced Mimosa, Crepe Myrtle and Tea Olive to the Charleston area.

  9. Completed in 1742, Drayton Hall now stands as one of the oldest and finest examples of Georgian Palladian architecture built before the American Revolution.

  10. She-crab soup originated in Charleston! The seafood specialty was created by William Deas, butler of former Mayor R. Goodwyn Rhett. Mayor Rhett entertained President Willian H. Taft, who helped make the famous dish.

  11. The Charleston area is home to South Carolina’s oldest live oak tree, the Angel Oak.

  12. The poinsettia was first introduced to America by Dr. Joel Poinsett in Charleston, in the year 1833.

  13. Old St. Andrew’s Parish Church is the oldest surviving church in the Carolinas, founded and built in 1706.

  14. The first American victory of the American Revolution was the Battle of Fort Sullivan on Sullivan’s Island.

Test your Charleston history knowledge with our official Explore Charleston quiz!