Charleston (cities, United States)

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Charleston (cities, United States)

Charleston:1 City (1990 pop. 20,398), seat of Coles co., E Ill.; inc. 1835. Charleston is an industrial, rail, and trade center located in an agricultural area; shoes are also made. Eastern Illinois Univ. is there. A Lincoln-Douglas debate was held in Charleston on Sept. 8, 1858. Local attractions include an enormous statue of Lincoln and nearby Lincoln Log Cabin State Park and Fox Ridge State Park.

2 City (1990 pop. 80,414), seat of Charleston co., SE S.C.; founded 1680, inc. 1783. The oldest city in the state and one of the chief ports of entry in the SE United States, Charleston lies on a low, narrow peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper rivers at the head of the bay formed by their confluence. In the bay or bordering it are Patriots Point, with the Yorktown and other warship museums; Sullivans Island, site of Fort Moultrie; James Island; Morris Island, with a lighthouse; Fort Sumter; and Castle Pinckney, on Shutes Folly. Many transportation routes converge at Charleston, and through its almost landlocked harbor extensive coastal and foreign trade is carried on; the city also is a cruise port. Until 1996, Charleston was headquarters for the 6th U.S. naval district and for the U.S. air force defense command. The extensive facilities included a submarine base and a huge navy yard (est. 1901) in North Charleston, which still houses a large naval electronics facility and has been redeveloped for private industry. Among the city's varied manufactures are chemicals, steel, motor vehicle parts, pulp and paper, textiles, and clothing.

The city's old homes and winding streets, historic sites, and charm, together with its mild climate and nearby beaches and gardens (including Middleton Place, Magnolia Gardens, and Cypress Gardens), attract tourists. Many colonial buildings survive, among them St. Michael's Episcopal Church (begun 1752), noted for its chimes, and the Miles Brewton house (1765–69). Also here are the Powder Magazine (c.1713); the Gibbes Museum of Art; the Charleston Museum (1773) and the City Market (1804–41), each among the oldest of their kind in the country; and Fort Sumter National Monument. The waterfront, especially the Battery, and the Grace Memorial Bridge over the Cooper River, are famous Charleston landmarks; the South Carolina Aquarium is on a wharf in the harbor. Cabbage Row surrounds a court that was the "Catfish Row" of DuBose Heyward's novel Porgy. The annual azalea festival is a popular event, and the Spoleto U.S.A. music and arts festival (see Spoleto Festival) has been held in the city since 1977. Charleston is the seat of the Citadel, the Medical Univ. of South Carolina, Charleston Southern Univ., and the College of Charleston (1790), which in 1837 became the first municipal college in the United States. Noted resorts lie east and west of the city.

The English settled (1670) at Albemarle Point, on the western bank of the Ashley River, c.7 mi (11 km) from modern Charleston. They moved in 1680 to Oyster Point, where their capital, Charles Town, had been laid out. The city became the most important seaport, and the center of wealth and culture, in the southern colonies. Non-English immigrants, among whom French Huguenots were prominent, added a cosmopolitan touch. Charleston was an early theatrical center; the Dock Street Theatre (opened 1736) was one of the first established in the country. In the American Revolution, after being successfully defended (1776, 1779) by William Moultrie, Charleston was surrendered (May 12, 1780) by Benjamin Lincoln to the British under Sir Henry Clinton, who held it until Dec. 14, 1782. The capital was moved to Columbia in 1790, but Charleston remained the region's social and economic center.

The South Carolina ordinance of secession (Dec., 1860) was passed in Charleston, and the city was the scene of the act precipitating the Civil War—the firing on Fort Sumter (Apr. 12, 1861). With its harbor blockaded and the city under virtual siege by Union forces (1863–65), Charleston suffered partial destruction but did not fall until Feb., 1865, after it had been isolated by Sherman's army. A violent earthquake on Aug. 31, 1886, with an estimated magnitude of 7.3., took many lives and made thousands homeless; it was the most powerful earthquake on the E coast of the United States in historic times. Periodic storms, such as Hurricane Hugo (1989), have also caused great damage. The city's port experienced signficant growth during the late 20th cent.

See L. Sellers, Charleston Business on the Eve of the American Revolution (1934, repr. 1970); R. N. Rosen, A Short History of Charleston (1982); Q. Bell et al., Charleston (1988); S. R. Wise, Gates of Hell (1994).

3 City (1990 pop. 57,287), state capital and seat of Kanawha co., W central W.Va., on the Kanawha River where it is joined by the Elk River; inc. 1794. Charleston is an important transportation and trading center for the highly industrialized Kanawha valley and a producer of chemicals, fabricated pipe and sheet metal, machinery, food and beverages, concrete, and railroad ties. Salt, coal, natural gas, clay, sand, timber, and oil are found in the region. The city grew around the site of Fort Lee (1788). Daniel Boone lived there from 1788 to 1795. The capital was transferred there from Wheeling in 1870, then back to Wheeling in 1875, and finally to Charleston in 1885. The state capitol (completed 1932) has a dome higher than that of the U.S. capitol, and the cultural center around it contains an art gallery, museum, planetarium, and notable gardens. The city is the seat of the Univ. of Charleston, and West Virginia State College is nearby.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Charleston (cities, United States)


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.