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MUSC Bulletin | Introduction

Charleston, South Carolina

The Charleston metropolitan area, with a rapidly growing port area and a population of approximately one-half million people, continues to retain the historic charm which has made it world famous. Horse-and-carriage rides along the city’s old cobblestone streets reveal houses of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, beautiful private gardens, the historic Battery overlooking Charleston harbor, and the open market place.

Charleston has successfully preserved numerous buildings and landmarks. The Charleston Museum, founded in 1773 and considered the oldest in the country, exhibits samples of worldwide cultural and natural history. Fort Sumter, located in the Charleston harbor, is the site of the start of the Civil War and has been preserved as a national monument which may be visited by private or tour boats. Fort Moultrie, located ten miles east of the city, is where the first decisive American victory of the Revolutionary War took place. As a reminder of a much later war, the World War II aircraft carrier Yorktown is moored in the Cooper River at Patriots Point.

Located on a peninsula formed by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers, the city is an active resort area. It has an average annual temperature of 65 degrees, perfect for year-round outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, swimming, and boating. Resort beaches, tennis courts, and golf courses are located throughout the Charleston area.

The city is dedicated to the arts. Each year, Charleston hosts the internationally acclaimed Spoleto Festival USA, an extraordinary array of artistic events attracting artists and visitors from many parts of the nation. The Gibbes Museum of Art holds annual exhibitions of local, regional, national, and international art. The Charleston Civic Ballet gives special performances, and the Footlight Players offer a September to May season of six or more full-stage plays. The historic Dock Street Theatre, owned by the city, accommodates stage plays, concerts, and other performances of both local amateur and outside professional talent. The city also hosts the Moja Arts Festival in October.

Three world-famous gardens are located near Charleston: Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation, and Cypress Gardens. All three feature beautiful live oak trees, camellias blooming in the winter and early spring, and azaleas blooming during March and April. Middleton Place is America’s oldest landscaped garden and remains open year-round.

Magnolia Plantation, which has been owned by the same family for over two centuries, features a rustic-type garden and is also open year-round. Cypress Gardens is part of a former rice plantation and is best seen while paddling small boats through the gardens. It, too, can be enjoyed throughout the year.

The South Carolina Aquarium offers aquatic specimens from across the state and the coastal waters. The featured attraction is the 330,000-gallon “Great Ocean Tank” with a 28-foot tall window.

Charleston is a diverse area. It houses military installations, various industries, and large farming enterprises. In addition to the Medical University of South Carolina, the area is the home of the College and the University of Charleston, the nation’s oldest municipal college and now a state institution; Charleston Southern University; The Citadel; and Trident Technical College. These institutions of higher education contribute heavily to the community’s activities and create a stimulating environment for people of all ages.

Last Published with Edits:November 21, 2013 3:45 PM
Last Comprehensive Review: Fall 2013

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