In 1931 Dorothy Legge purchased 99 and 101 East Bay, beginning the renovation of the area between Tradd and Elliot Streets. Originally these 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 buildings 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”.

These old row houses are very popular to Charleston. They represent the very first style of Charleston homes and are portrayed in the story of Porgie and Bess. You’ll see pictures of Rainbow Row throughout your stay in Charleston.


NOVAhunleyhardDate of Historic Mission: February 17, 1864


H.L. Hunley was a Confederate submersible that demonstrated the advantage and danger of undersea warfare. Although not this nation’s first submarine, Hunley was the first submarine to engage and sink a warship.

Privately built in 1863 by Park and Lyons of Mobile, Alabama, Hunleywas fashioned from a cylindrical iron steam boiler, which was deepened and also lengthened through the addition of tapered ends. Hunley was designed to be hand powered by a crew of nine: eight to turn the hand-cranked propeller and one to steer and direct the boat. As a true submarine, each end was equipped with ballast tanks that could be flooded by valves or pumped dry by hand pumps. Extra ballast was added through the use of iron weights bolted to the underside of the hull. In the event the submarine needed additional buoyancy to rise in an emergency, the iron weight could be removed by unscrewing the heads of the bolts from inside the vessel.

On 17 February 1864, the Confederate submarine made a daring late night attack on USS Housatonic, a 1,240-ton (B) sloop-of-war with 16 guns, in Charleston Harbor off the coast of South Carolina. H.L. Hunleyrammed Housatonic with spar torpedo packed with explosive powder and attached to a long pole on its bow. The spar torpedo embedded in the sloop’s wooden side was detonated by a rope as Hunley backed away. The resulting explosion that sent Housatonic with five crew members to the bottom of Charleston Harbor also sank Hunley with its crew of eight. H.L. Hunley earned a place in the history of undersea warfare as the first submarine to sink a ship in wartime.

The Wreck
The search for Hunley ended 131 years later when best-selling author Clive 140214143306-05-hl-hunley-cgp-5470-horizontal-galleryCussler and his team from the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) discovered the submarine after a 14-year search. At the time of discovery, Cussler and NUMA were conducting this research in partnership with the South Carolina Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology (SCIAA). The team realized that they had found Hunleyafter exposing the forward hatch and the ventilator box (the air box for the attachment of a snorkel). The submarine rested on its starboard side at about a 45-degree angle and is covered in a 1/4 to 3/4-inch encrustation of ferrous oxide bonded with sand and shell particles. Archaeologists exposed a little more on the port side and found the bow dive plane on that side. More probing revealed an approximate length of 34 feet with most, if not all, of the vessel preserved under the sediment.

In August 2000 archaeological investigation and excavation culminated with the resurrection of Hunley from its watery grave. A large team of professionals from the Naval Historical Center’s Underwater Archaeology Branch, National Park Service, the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology and various other individuals investigated the vessel, measuring and documenting it prior to preparing it for removal. Once the on-site investigation was complete, harnesses were slipped underneath the sub one by one and attached to a truss designed by Oceaneering, International, Inc. Then after the last harness had been secured, the crane from Karlissa B began hoisting the submarine from the mire of the harbor. On August 8 at 8:37 AM the sub broke the surface for the first time in over 136 years where it was greeted by a cheering crowd in hundreds of nearby watercraft. Once safely on its transporting barge, Hunley finally completed its last voyage back to Charleston, passing by hundreds of spectators on Charleston’s shores and bridges. The removal operation reached its successful conclusion when the submarine was secured inside the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in a specially designed tank of freshwater to await conservation.

All who viewed the vessel said Hunley incorporated an unexpectedly graceful and beautiful design. It is certainly a marvel both for its time period and for modern day researchers. No doubt this small submarine will be the key to unlock many mysteries of a bygone era.

Tours of the Hunley are normally open for public tours every Saturday from 10 – 5 and Sunday from 12 – 5. To order tickets, go to http://www.etix.com or call 1.877.4HUNLEY (1.877.448.6539).


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The Old Slave Mart Museum recounts the story of Charleston’s role as an urban slave-trading center during the domestic slave trade. It also tells the stories of the African-Americans who passed through its gates and their contributions to American society and culture.
Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. said, “ The Old Slave Mart Museum tells an important story in the history of this city and the region. It has been an important site for preservation and restoration and amassing the research and artifacts has been arduous.”

While many Americans are familiar with the trans-Atlantic slave trade between the 15th and early 19th centuries, many are not aware that the United States constitution, ratified in 1780, contained a provision that led to a ban on the importation of African slaves after 1808, 53 years before the Civil War. It was this vacuum in the increasing demand for labor that the domestic slave trade, in part, filled.


This interstate trade was a hugely profitable economy organized by local and regional slave traders and dealers within the United States who, between 1789 and 1861, forcibly relocated approximately one million American-born slaves from the upper South to the lower South. During that same period, more than two million African-American slaves were sold in local, interstate and state-ordered sales combined.

The Old Slave Mart Museum focuses on the history of this particular building and site and the slave sales that occurred there. The mart was once part of a complex of buildings known as Ryan’s Mart that occupied the land between Chalmers and Queen Streets.

The complex consisted of a yard enclosed by a brick wall and contained three additional buildings: a four-story brick building partially containing a “barracoon” or slave jail, a kitchen, and a “dead house” or morgue. The Slave Mart building is the only structure remaining from this complex.

Slave auctions at the Old Slave Mart ended in November 1863. The property changed hands many times after the Civil War.

Between 1938 and 1987 the building — then known locally as “The Old Slave Mart” –housed a museum featuring African-American and African arts and crafts.

The Old Slave Mart Museum’s permanent exhibition is divided into two main areas. In the orientation area, visitors will be provided with an introduction to the domestic slave trade within the greater historical context of slavery in the United States as well an overview of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The orientation area also explains the systems as well as the mechanics of domestic slave trade operations and the major social, political, and economic impact that trade had on American antebellum society.

Exhibit elements explain how the trade became a force for modernizing South Carolina; how it strengthened Charleston’s financial, social, and political networks within the state; and how it extended the city’s influence throughout the upper South, the lower South, and the emerging West.

In the main exhibit area visitors will also get a closer look at the daily process of slave sales at Ryan’s Mart from the perspectives of a number of its historically documented buyers, traders, and enslaved African Americans. This section explains this antebellum slave market’s role within Charleston’s larger, but concentrated, slave-trading district.

The Old Slave Mart Museum’s permanent exhibit also speaks to the stories, the contributions and the legacies of those who shaped the outcome of the domestic slave trade. Various narratives are presented in different media (personal letters, oral histories, documents, audio, video and artifacts) to provide visitors a sense of the “real people” who passed through Ryan’s Mart, where they lived and how visitors can find their legacies today.

15212.28079-300x169A final element in this section directs visitors to other sites in the Lowcountry where they can follow up on these stories and see the contributions of individuals whose stories are found at the Old Slave Mart Museum.

In its upstairs gallery, the Old Slave Mart Museum features a portion of Lest We Forget: The Triumph Over Slavery, an enlightening exhibition that offers an inspiring look at the cultural, political, economic and social practices enslaved Africans developed while enduring the dehumanizing conditions of slavery.

The exhibit features full-color panels that reflect the experience of slavery through topics including slave labor and slave systems in the Americas, the struggle against slavery and its abolition, and the triumph over slavery.

Both exhibitions are highlighted with artifacts from the Old Slave Mart Museum’s Rebecca R. Hollingsworth collection as well pieces from the personal collections of local sweetgrass basket artist Jeanette Gaillard-Lee and blacksmith Phillip Simmons.


THE Place to Shop for Charleston Souvenirs
Open Daily 10AM – 4PM, 365 Days a Year
Located in Downtown Historic Charleston, Between North and South Market Streets.

sub04HEADSUO-articleLarge-300x170It all began nearly 220 years ago when a wealthy Charleston family willed land to the town of Charleston to be used as a public market, with the stipulation that the property revert to the family if used for any other purpose. One of Charlestons most colorful relics has survived a tumultuous past, out lasting tornadoes, hurricanes, a major earthquake and devastation by fires and bombardment from without and within.

Located near the waterfront in the Ansonborough area ( the first actual suburb in America, c, 1727), the property was built on low lying marshland and a small tidal creek which were gradually filled in between 1804 and 1807 and were by then high enough to erect the market stalls.

The main building was built in 1841 and is an apparent modification of the Grecian-Doric temple of “The Wingless Victory” at Athens. The cornice is ornamented with ram’s and bull’s heads, a survival of the Greek custom of hanging in the temple skulls of animals sacrificed to the gods, later symbolized in conventional architecture.

charleston2-300x169 (1)The rifled cannon on the upper portico of the market is said to be the first manufactured in America. Archibald Cameron made it for the Confederate Government in 1861. Market Hall is used by the United Daughters of the Confederacy for the preservation of articles of historic interest connected with the War Between the States.

Below Market Hall was a spacious portico which was used as a meat and fish market. For sanitation purposes the three buildings behind Market Hall, which sold fruits and vegetables with other produce brought direct from island plantations were set apart.

Today when visiting Charleston, the City Market is a must to see. There are a total of four buildings spanning from Meeting Street to East Bay Street. An assortment of wares is sold by hundreds of vendors. Contrary to popular belief and hard to overcome, is the reputation of the City Market being a flea market. It is not! Most merchandise is first quality, some indicative to the area and some not. Sweet grass basket weavers can be seen in every building, along with, local artists, jewelry, tapestry, souvenirs, church dolls,afghans, rugs, rice, beans and sauces, local candies and cookies and much more. The horse and carriages gallop by with people from all over the world, restaurants line both North and South Market street. The atmosphere is festive and the southern.

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