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Photograph Survey of the “Charleston Center” Site

Photograph Survey of the “Charleston Center” Site

“The proposal to build a hotel and convention center complex in the heart of Charleston ignited a fierce debate in Charleston in the late 1970s and early 1980s that divided public opinion locally and attracted considerable attention nationally.” While Historic Charleston Foundation expressed neither support nor opposition for the development of the block, it played a significant role in advocating for appropriate height, scale, and mass, and in voicing concern for the anticipated dramatic increase in tourists. After years of controversy, legal wrangling, negotiations, and design reviews and revisions, the ground-breaking for the hotel occurred in early 1985. Charleston Place opened in the fall of 1986.1

As it did with several other rehabilitation and revitalization projects over the years, Historic Charleston Foundation photographed the site of the proposed development and its environs, comprising the entire block bounded by Meeting, Market, King, and Hasell Streets. This photographic survey consists of 110 black-and-white photographs of buildings, streets, and sites that would be impacted by the construction project that was initially called the Charleston Center, now known as Charleston Place.

1Historic Preservation for a Living City by Robert Weyeneth (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 2000).

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Scenes in Charleston, Georgetown, and Flat Rock, Late 19th Century

Scenes in Charleston, Georgetown, and Flat Rock, Late 19th Century

Thirty-five late-19th century photographs of scenes in Charleston, South Carolina; Georgetown, South Carolina; and (likely) Flat Rock, North Carolina, affixed to pages removed from a photograph album, five to six photos on each side. Many depict leisure activities and rice cultivation at what is likely a Georgetown County plantation. The collection also includes river and beach scenes.

Note: It is possible that these photographs document some of the travels of designer, artist, Newcomb potter, and Charleston native Sabina Elliott Wells, as there are two photographs in which she may be featured. Her travels to Georgetown and western North Carolina in the late 1890s are documented in journals at the South Carolina Historical Society. This likelihood is the basis for the location descriptions and date of the collection.

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1920s Charleston Scenes

1920s Charleston Scenes

Sixteen ca. 1920s photographs of scenes in Charleston, South Carolina, affixed to pages removed from a photograph album, four photos on each side. Includes views of the Charleston waterfront, the Ashley River Bridge, Hampton Park, and aerial views across the Charleston peninsula.

Note: Zoom in on the photographs to see the landscapes! The landmark buildings seen in both the waterfront and aerial views were identified this way and are provided in the descriptions to better convey the location of the views. Boundaries, where noted, are approximate.

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Walter Pantovic Slavery and African American History Collection

Slave Bill of Sale

The Walter Pantovic Slavery and African American History Collection contains documents and images that reflect African American history primarily in the United States. Walter Pantovic was a Yugoslavian immigrant with an interest in Black history, in particular the history of Slavery and the Civil War. Highlights from this collection include slave bills of sale, glass slides, abolitionist memorabilia, and printed materials from the 18th century to the 20th century.

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Avery Normal Institute

Avery Normal Institute Class of 1911

Founded in 1865, the Avery Normal Institute provided education and advocacy for the growing Charleston African American community and trained blacks for professional careers and leadership roles. Although the Institute closed its doors in 1954, it graduates preserved the legacy of their alma mater by establishing the Avery Institute of Afro-American History and Culture.  This collection includes photographs of classes, extra-curricular activities, and reunions.  Also, included are documents regarding activities presented and sponsored by the Avery Normal Institute.

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Ansonborough Rehabilitation Project Photograph Survey

Ansonborough Rehabilitation Project Photograph Survey

Since its founding, Historic Charleston Foundation had been nursing its interest in the rehabilitation of an entire neighborhood.  However, a formal plan had not been devised until the late 1950s, a time when the historic Ansonborough neighborhood was in a state of decline, with many formerly grand houses in a state of severe disrepair and vacant.  By 1958, HCF initiated a plan to rehabilitate several blocks in Ansonborough by developing the nation’s first revolving fund as a preservation strategy.  Thus began the Ansonborough Rehabilitation Project, an extraordinary effort to save the neighborhood within an area bordered by Calhoun, East Bay, Market, and Meeting Streets.  Through the Revolving Fund, HCF purchased, stabilized, and then resold historic properties to preservation-minded buyers with protective covenants attached to the deeds.  Almost sixty structures were rehabilitated over a twelve-year period.  The accomplishments of the Ansonborough Rehabilitation Project were hailed nationwide, and other preservation programs across the United States modeled local initiatives on the Charleston program.  

This collection is photographic survey of Ansonborough properties, consisting of 228 black-and-white photographs of houses and buildings on Anson, East Bay, George, Hasell, Laurens, Meeting, Society, and Wentworth Streets.  The survey documents the neighborhood prior to the Ansonborough Rehabilitation Project, and shows the condition of each structure before rehabilitation, before demolition, and, in some cases, before relocation.

Related collections also include: Ansonborough Rehabilitation Project

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Rice Harvest at Mulberry Plantation (Berkeley County, SC)

Rice Harvest at Mulberry Plantation

Mulberry Plantation is believed to have received its name because of an early interest in raising silk, as worms that spin silk generally feed on Mulberry leaves. However, the plantation was more successful as a rice plantation. Rice was cultivated at Mulberry Plantation from colonial days until 1918. Rice cultivation was difficult and dangerous work completed by slave labor. Slaves would clear the land, chopping down all trees and stumps. They would then excavate canals to bring tidal waters into the field. Trunks, or dams, were constructed to drain the water from the field for sowing and flood it for cultivation. Rice seeds would be coated with clay before they were planted so they would not float away when the fields were flooded. After the rice was harvested, the grain was beaten from the stalk with flailing sticks. The rice was then milled and winnowed to separate the grain from the chaff.

This collection consists of thirty-four photographs of Mulberry Plantation field workers performing various rice cultivation activities including preparing the field, planting, and winnowing. They are dated 1916-1918, and document the final rice harvest done at Mulberry.

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Images from the Records of the Charleston County Public Library

Images from the Records of the Charleston County Public Library

This collection consists of photographs and slides from the institutional records of the Charleston County Public Library. These images span the first four decades of the history of the institution, from its founding in 1931 as the Charleston Free Library, through 1969. The collection contains images from various library branches and service points, including the Main Library and Dart Hall Branch Library in downtown Charleston, the Bookmobile, Mt. Pleasant (Village Branch), Cooper River Memorial Library, and other locations throughout the county. Several images also include notable library staff members, such as Emily C. Sanders, Susan Dart Butler, Mae Holloway Purcell, and Janie M. Smith, as well as prominent community members, such as Mary V. McBee and John Bennett. Many of the black and white images are the work of local photographer Louis Schwartz. The 35mm color slides were taken in 1943 by Dorothy Dingley, a photographer in United States Navy who was stationed in Charleston during World War II.

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White Pines Series of Architectural Monographs Collection

White Pines Series of Architectural Monographs

The White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs was created under the auspices of the White Pine Bureau to encourage the use of white pine as a building material. The by-monthly series was edited by Russell F. Whitehead, former editor of The Architectural Record and The Brickbuilder, with advertising support from Weyerhaeuser Forest Products, a Minnesota-based company. Even though intended to be promotional, each issue provided visual documentation of classical and unique applications of White Pine, illustrated with photography of the time and drawings (including measured drawings), along with detailed essays by well-respected American architects and builders. The Monographs became an industry favorite, gaining loyal readership across the country and becoming popular as a resource for architecture researchers of architecture. (Sources: Russell F. Whitehead Finding Aid, Minnesota Historical Society; “The White Pine Monographs,” Northeastern Lumber Manufacturing Association website)

The Margaretta Childs Archives collection consists of the five issues of the White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs that highlighted Charleston architecture, each published in 1928: “The Charm of Charleston: A New World City of Old World Memories”; “A Town House of Charleston, South Carolina: The William Gibbes Residence “; “Some Charleston Mansions”; “Charleston Doorways: Entrance Motives from a South Carolina City”; and “The Edwards-Smyth House.” Each issue contains an introductory essay; photographs by Kenneth Clark of buildings, street scenes, views, and architectural details; and measured drawings (measured and drawn by Kenneth Clark) from the George F. Lindsay Collection of Early American Documents. The issues also contain wood construction details (by Weyerhaeuser) pertaining to a featured house and company information about Weyerhaeuser Forest Products.

The collection also includes thirty-three original gelatin silver photographs by Kenneth Clark, most of which were reproduced in three of the five issues Charleston-related issues. 

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