The New Student's Reference Work/Charleston (South Carolina)
Charleston, the chief city of South Carolina, was founded in 1670 as an English colony. It was captured by the British in 1780. The first ordinance of secession was passed here, and the reduction of Fort Sumter in its harbor was the first conflict of the Civil War. In 1861 nearly half of the city was burned to the ground, and it was in a state of siege during the last two years of the war. Then again, in 1886, a heavy earthquake visited the city and wrought $8,000,000 of damage.
Charleston is situated on a peninsula, formed by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, while a third river, the Wando, unites with the Cooper at the city. The estuary formed by these rivers makes a magnificent harbor. It is even regarded as the safest on the Atlantic coast.
Fort Moultrie, at Sullivan's Island on the eastern side of the harbor, is one of the best equipped defenses on the coast. It and the naval station at Charleston, which occupies a tract on Cooper River, have cost the government several millions.
Charleston's commerce was almost destroyed by the Civil War, but much of that which entered other channels has been recovered, and the terminal docks for two ocean-freight lines which were established in Charleston in 1901 have also increased the city's commercial prestige. Eleven manufactories are engaged in producing phosphate fertilisers, which is the leading industry; others of importance are tobacco, foundry and machine-shop products, oil and rice milling, bagging-factories, turpentine-casks and baskets for shipping vegetables and fruits.
Charleston has good public and parish school systems, and for higher education, the Charleston and Meninger High School, Academy of Our Lady of Mercy, Smith's school for young ladies, the South Carolina Military Academy, a state institution established in 1843, the state Medical College and many others.
The city has 60 churches and many charitable institutions. The buildings of note are the postoffice, built of Carolina granite, and the U. S. Custom-House erected of white marble. Population, 58,833.