Charleston, SC Time Machine – Photographs From the Past

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Hampton Park Zoo - 1950's

Once again, we have dug into the archives of Charleston, South Carolina’s history and uncovered a photographic time capsule.? Some of these memories are subtle family moments, some of the historic significance and some will just have you smiling remembering a different time in Charleston.? Kick back and take in each photograph.? See what memory it brings back to you.

Welcome to the Charleston, SC Time Machine.? Get comfortable.

Charleston Archive Photos

Morris Island Lighthouse before the erosion

Charleston, SC Firefighters taken between 1855 – 1865

Sullivan’s Island, S.C. Lieutenant Comdr. Edward Barrett and Lieutenant Cornelius N. Schoonmaker

Folly Beach – 1946

Confederate Currency

Morris Island Beach 1863

Gullah Geechee Civil Rights Leader Septima P. Clark Founder Citizenship Schools on historic Johns Island

Group of African Americans in Charleston, SC – 1860


The Battery – Post Civil War

Charleston RiverDogs Playing Card


1960’s Charleston families waving goodbye

Ashley Plaza Advertisement

Bus in Charleston, SC – 1960’s

North Charleston Burger King – 1960’s

Children Fishing at Colonial Lake

The Citadel – 1950’s

You have to admit, that was a fun ride.

Back to the time machine to the present day.? We hope you continue to remember the past fondly in our Charleston, SC home.

7 Incredible Hidden Charleston Dining Experiences

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The CODfather

By Mark A. Leon

There are world renowned restaurants in Charleston.? There are even world renowned dive bars and eateries in Charleston who have made a name for themselves.? What about the real deep dive establishments.? The ones you don’t read about in the papers.? The ones that can’t afford the marketing and promotion, so they get left out of the fanfare.? Here is the catch, they offer a great product and an incredible customer experience.? They aren’t on the top of anyone’s list, but for those that know the secret places, they are worth the excursion.

Today, we are going to ride through the urban jungles of Charleston to unleash some of the great spots, you may never have heard about.

Huriyali Gardens: Juices, Smoothies and Snacks – 401 Huger Street, Charleston, SC

Start with the Green Dream – Kale, Cucumber, Apple, Kiwi, Berries, Herbs and Ginger, come together in a harmonious mix that will please your body as well as your palate. This juice has more that 100% of your daily intake of vitamins A, C and K.

If you are feeling nutty, Nuts Over You will inspire:? Cashew, Vanilla Bean, Ceylon Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Himalayan Salt, Raw Local Honey, Raw Cacao Powder combine to make our Fall inspired spiced cashew milk.

If that doesn’t do it, AC’s OG will fuel up your day:? Kale, Celery, Cucumber, Cilantro, Lemon – designed specially for our multi marathon running customer.

Charlie’s Grocery – 1 Jasper Street, Charleston, SC – Without a doubt the Falafel sandwich is nothing short of addictive.? This family recipe has been carried down and has warmed the taste buds of locals for years.? Get a sandwich, add some homemade potato salad and go to a small park on the campus of MUSC to enjoy great food and nice weather.

Dukes Bar-B-Que – 4428B Spruill Avenue, North Charleston, SC – Do not let the location scare you.? The limited hours may be a challenge though.? Dukes has been a foundation for over 55 years and now this small one room restaurant is open Friday and Saturday only from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM for dine in and take out.? This buffet will run you less than $10.00 each and the ambiance is just fascinating.? When you walk in you will see long picnic tables with rolls of paper towels, loaves of bread still in the bad and plastic condiments containers.? The staff is warm and friendly and reminds you of a cool day on the ranch.? The buffet is simple, but amazingly delicious.? Pulled pork, hash, two types of pickles, slaw, unsweetened tea and sweetened tea.? That’s it.? Of course a variety of BBQ sauces.? The only advice, come early, they tend to sell out.

Blackbird Market – 1808 Bohicket Road, John’s Island, SC – To the naked eyes, this appears to be a small organic local grocer, but once you step inside, you experience one of the most satisfying experiences in the Lowcountry.? From Asheville made cheeses, to bacon wrapped filet to scallops that appear to be on steroids, this market is a dream.? Their local partnerships allow for the freshest vegetables, pastas, seafood and meats.? You will also be enticed by their fresh baked goods including amazing oreo balls and brownies.? If you have an immediate appetite, they offer a full service kitchen with seating outside under the water fans and shade.? Note:? The menu changes daily and seasonally.? This is a must try.? We do warn you, once you go, you may just keep coming back, even if it is just for the fresh she-crab soup.



Dellz Uptown – 511 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston, SC – Just north of the Crosstown is Dellz Uptown.? This baby blue building has been the home of a number of eateries, but this one looks like it could stay for a while.? This Caribbean-themed vegan/vegetarian restaurant offers artistic walls, healthy menu options and mouth watering food that will not leave you hungry.? A few recommended options to help guide you along are:

Jazzy Pizza
Workout Wrap
My Thai Bowl
Uptown Elvis Smoothie

Luke’s Craft Pizza – 271 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC – When you are driving through the Crosstown, you may see the sign and think, “wow and ode to Gilmore Girls”.? At least I did, but Luke’s is the brain child of EVO alum Chef Luke Davis.? He has converted this little corner take out place to a home for artistic pizza design and comfort.? Don’t let the tiny exterior or cozy setting distract you from absolutely great and imaginative pizza.? Be sure to check their Instagram.? They often sell out, but they keep their customers informed.

The CODfather –?4254 Spruill Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405 – The reputation from repeat customers has made this a popular spot for many including couples, families, workers and bikers.? Its location has still kept it a little under the radar.? This restaurant perhaps has one of the smallest menus in the Lowcountry (Fish, Fish and Chips, Chips, Meat Pie, a few sides).? That is all.? But the deep fried heavenly taste will knock your socks off and remind you how good real authentic Fish and Chips can be.? The owner brings his love of his home country cooking to the Charleston area and we cannot be more thrilled.? A little tip:? BYOB.? Also, the double order truly is a double order.? Unless you have a massive appetite, go for the single or share.

There you have it, a small list of some of the really out of the way places to indulge your appetite.? Behind the hidden corners and the glamor of the big name restaurants, Charleston has a little hidden world of great food made with love.? In a city build on dreams, family and intimate relationships, these are the places that define who we are.

Thank you to all these businesses for giving us the fruits of their passion.

Falafel Pita Sandwich - Charlie's Grocery
Falafel Pita Sandwich – Charlie’s Grocery


Luke’s Craft Pizza

Charleston, S.C. History in Pictures – A Look Back

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Folly Beach, SC

It is often said, a picture tells a thousand words.? Some of these images really paint a vivid picture of the trials, tribulations and celebrations of our past.? Some will bring you to levels of emotion both good and bad.? Sit back and remember to never forget our past.

From Civil Rights to military; academics to activism; or just a day at the beach.

Enjoy this wild journey into Charleston’s past.

Tree Spirit Project 2011 - Preserve Angel Oak
Tree Spirit Project 2011 – Preserve Angel Oak


73 Church Street (with rounded top door behind tree) – 1958


Early Mobile Free Library
Early Mobile Free Library


Bishop England Varsity High School Basketball Team – Charleston, SC


!950’s South Carolina Map

Post Earthquake Charleston 1886
Post Earthquake Charleston 1886


Early South Carolina Currency
Early South Carolina Currency


Folly Beach Barracks – 1946


Broad and Meeting Streets Traffic
Broad and Meeting Streets Traffic


Folly Beach Postcard
Folly Beach Postcard


Charleston March 1969
Charleston March 1969


Charleston Hospital Strike Article
Charleston Hospital Strike Article


Folly Beach Pier – 1937


!976 Charleston
1976 Charleston


Roadside Sweetgrass Basket Sales
Roadside Sweetgrass Basket Sales


1961 at Albemarle Elementary School
1961 at Albemarle Elementary School


Fort Sumter Stamp 1961
Fort Sumter Stamp 1961


The C-141 Starlifter
The C-141 Starlifter


1961 Civil Rights Bus in Charleston assaulted
1961 Civil Rights Bus in Charleston assaulted


Charleston Submarine Base 1960
Charleston Submarine Base 1960


Easter 1960's Charleston, SC
Easter 1960’s Charleston, SC


Broad Street, 1911. Notice the signs for Follin Bros. tobacconists (with the famous wooden Indian) and Henry Plenge’s (the P has fallen from the sign) Pharmacy at 8 Broad


“Folly Beach July 4, 1921.”
three unidentified beach goers in front of their car on the beach at Folly. They are all wearing bathing suits and the women are wearing stockings and hats. The date and location listed above are hand written on the back.
Source: The Charleston Museum


Corner of Fishburne St and St Philips intersection in 1944.


W.A. Jessen’s liquor store, corner of Congress and Rutledge in 1940’s. This location is now a lawyer’s office.


This is circa early 1940s postcard published by Martschink Sales Co.



Hasell Street, Charleston SC, ca. 1900 – 1910


Charleston, SC 1910

Smile, You Are on Instagram: Great Charleston Instagram Accounts to Follow

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Are you taken away every day by the incredible beauty and artistic canvas of Charleston, South Carolina.? From the sunsets to the architectural decor, this is a city with a foundation that would make any artist blush.? Some amazing photographers and observers have been helping to document this for all the world to see.

We would like to invite you to follow some of the finest Charleston based Instagram accounts and become part of Charleston.? Come with me as we Feel Charleston together.

You may already follow some of these visual historians.? If not, show you love and support and add them to your daily slideshow.

Explore Charleston – explorecharleston

Charleston Lowcountry – charleston_lowcountry

Charleston Daily – charleston_daily

Around Charleston – AroundCharleston

Charleston Baker Gal – charlestonbakergal

Historic Charleston Foundation – historiccharlestonfoundation

Official Account Charleston SC – charlestonsc

Charleston Pictures – charlestonpictures

Mark Swick – mnswick

Daily Charleston – dailycharleston

Charleston Magazine – charlestonmag

Charleston SC Tour – charlestonsctour

College of Charleston – collegeofcharleston

Sailing Charleston – sailingcharleston1

Ellis Creek Photograpy – Ellis_Creek_Photography

Walt Baker Photography – WaltBakerPhotography

Margaret J – mfoard01

Em Thompson Photography – emthomp_photography

Justin Falk – justinfalkphotography

Taylor Franta Photography – TaylorFrantaPhoto

Wendy Mogul Photography – wendymogulphotography

Nicholas Skylar – nicholas_skylar

Kevin Holliday Photo – KevinHollidayPhoto

Billy Ellison – billy_ellison

Featured Photos from @ellis_creek_photography (Edisto Island) and @g_heaton (Pineapple Fountain Sunrise)

Charleston Day Trip: Escape to Autumn in Columbia, SC by the Congaree River

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By Mark A. Leon

Just about two hours from Charleston between West Columbia and Columbia, South Carolina is the Congaree River and the Congaree River Bridge System.? On both sides of the river are scenic walking paths that combine beauty, history, fitness and the illuminating views of Autumn and the changing of the colors of the leaves.

These remarkable paths are a haven for runners, walkers, lovers and artists.? Or if you are more the adventurer type, you can find yourself kayaking on the river.

Start your day at Cafe Strudel and try their famous “Hangover Hashbrowns” featured in Southern Living Magazine and then walk down the steps of the amphitheater on the river and begin your journey.? For locals, the amphitheater offers free concerts on Friday nights in the Spring and Summer.

While you are out, here are a few I Spy items:

  • Frog Garbage Can
  • HIstoric Round Brick Houses
  • Kayakers
  • Weeping Willow Trees
  • Autumn Colors
  • Herons
  • Bridge Art

Wear some comfortable shoes and enjoy this beautiful fall getaway.

Here are a few images to entice you.


















Watch this 18 year old Charleston Filmmaker Show You What Summer in Charleston is Really Like

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James Turner – 18 Year Old Charleston Filmmaker with a Vision

What’s up, my name is James Turner and I’m an 18 year-old filmmaker from Charleston SC.

Every summer my friends and I make it our goal to do as many crazy things we can think of, rather it be jumping off bridges, sending it off rope swings, going surfing, fishing offshore, or any other crazy ideas, we’ll do it all.? By far this has been the wildest summer yet and I’m super stoked on how the video turned out. Hope y’all enjoy!

Endless Summer in Charleston
Summer in Charleston – The Video by James Turner

Sunset at IOP

Photo and video credit:? James Turner

GALLERY: Gone but not forgotten – Stono Baptist Church and Cemetery – Ravenel, SC (175 Years Old)

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By Mark A. Leon

Life happens in a heartbeat.? Generations come and go and often times, we preserve the legacy of those that shaped the world we live in.? Some foundations lose their value and become relics seen only by passing cars on the highway.? Yet history has a way of maintaining the ruins and reminding us of the families, communities and pioneers that struggled to give us the joys we have today.? Through their faith, they found meaning and salvation.

The Stono Baptist Church in Ravenel, South Carolina was founded in 1842.? Today, the church sits in ruins, but the names of those that graced the halls of this small church remain forever resting.? Surrounded by mating bugs, dragonflies, bees, broken glass and corroding wood remain something beautiful, a 175 year old church that continues to stand proud.? There may not be services or congregants now, but its memory lives on.

Take a photographic walk with us as we explore the Stono Baptist Church and Cemetery, celebrating 175 years of faith and bond.
















Summerville, SC Loses an Honored Korean War Veteran, Pilot and Friend

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By Mark A. Leon

On June 6, 2017, at the age of 87, Summerville, SC lost a gentle giant, Thomas Francis St. Denis Sr.? In his storied military career that started with attendance in the the United States Coast Guard Academy at New London, CT; and Colorado A&M University, and ended with a military career that spanned 17 years.? At the outbreak of the conflict on the Korean Peninsula in 1951, Tom joined the United States Marine Corps as a Naval Aviation Cadet. He entered combat in 1952 as a Marine Corps second Lieutenant. He left active duty in 1954 but served in the Marine Corps Reserves until 1968.? With over 100 flights to his credit, Tom was a hero in so many eyes.

Yet, his story was only beginning and the life his created with his wife Patricia (Pat) and his family is the legacy Tom leaves behind.? It was his love for Pat, family and the circle of friends that was a testimony to his life.? Back in 2014, we were fortunate to be part of his 85th birthday party.? As we were surrounded by his friends and family and a guest to many wonderful stories, it was clear that he had made an impact on so many lives.

He once said, “I want to live to 100, then I will be satisfied”.

Tom loved life.? He loved everything about it.? Each day was a celebration.? Through his passion for poetry, he absorbed the emotional side of his surroundings and saw the complete spirit of life.? As his health deteriorated, his will never did.? A fighter in the war and in life.

Tom was a kindred spirit and for those that knew him, he was a gift.

Original Article from 2014 in Celebration of Tom’s 85th Birthday

On a quiet Thursday evening in a tranquil retirement community in Summerville, SC, Tom would soon be surprised to walk in on a neighborhood of friends to share in the festivities of his 85th birthday.? As his wife Patricia welcomed all the guests waiting eagerly to express their love for Tom, champagne was poured and laughter echoed off the walls. Tom is not your typical Charleston area retiree.? Draped in his Tommy Bahama attire, which he ordains on a daily basis, he smiled and sipped his beverage as one by one friends came over to give hugs and share stories.

Tom is a decorated Korean War Veteran with over 100 flights to his credit, a lover of poetry, an affinity for cars and a devotion to his Patricia. As I stayed slightly in the distance, I witnessed Tom and one of his friends thumb through a book of historic military planes.? Tom would point at those that he flew and share specifics on the logistics and design of each plane.? Though his experiences date back 63 years, his recollection was as vivid as if the events transpired yesterday.

Fascinated, I got close enough to hear but stayed just far enough away to not interfere with two buddies sharing old war stories.? Standing next to a war hero, whose talents, bravery and unconditional courage shaped the freedoms I possess, was a gift.? Later on in the evening, I looked to the table and saw what appeared to be 20 plus birthday cards, some of them filled with love and some adult humor.? With a rainbow of colors covering these envelopes, it was a testimony to the love that surrounds this man.

Tom and I got to talking about Alaska as it was one of my reference points of my latest book.? This transpired into a laundry list of homes for Tom from Alaska to Seattle to Florida along with his many international travels in the military.? Tom is a true journeyman who would inspire the likes of Dylan or Kerouac to pen stories of their adventures.? Before that night I wouldn’t have thought a hard nosed military veteran who has stuffed foxes, a love of cars and a rugged demeanor would be a poetry reading, cuddly world traveler with so much life ahead of him.? He left me with much food for thought that night.

One voice from the crowd shouted, “I hope we can do this again next year.”? Tom replied, “I hope we can do this for another ten to twelve years.”? That zest for life was so refreshing to hear.? I try to impart on others that life is about being a part of each and every moment you can with each day being a new set of adventures and a new beginning.? The minute you feel it is too late to experience a rebirth, it is mentally over.?tom2

After a group rendition of “Happy Birthday” and some great cake, the festivities began to find a climax.? As the evening wound down, I volunteered to walk the two dogs who had been patiently waiting for their chance to walk and poop.? Nikki and Gertie were a treat.? Gertie is a rescue dog and a small symbol of the generous nature of Patricia and Tom.? Caring for and raising dogs who are abused or without homes has been a passion for Patricia for many years.? She volunteers and takes in dogs that have been harmed or neglected. ?Also both have and continue to host medical students and offer a home away from home during the holidays to Citadel Cadets.

This was such a remarkable compliment to the passion Patricia and Tom still share after 36 enlightened years together.? As I returned from the neighborhood walk, I saw the first of the guests heading back for their one or two block journey home.? Hugs were shared, as if we were friends for years and smiled. Charleston is filled with so many stories and people whose unique backgrounds inspire this tapestry of community.? Tom and Patricia are two examples of the amazing people that make this an amazing and wonderful place to live, grow, inspire and retire.

9 Facts You Should Know About the Total Solar Eclipse Coming to Charleston, SC

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By Mark A. Leon

If you haven’t heard, you should lift the rock you are living under, because August 21st will be a once in a century event culminating with a completion point of Charleston, SC.? Clearly, the area is buzzing.? Here are a few facts and information points you should know for this big event coming to Charleston.

Facts and Information about the Total Solar Eclipse in Charleston

  • Many Lowcountry area libraries are offering viewing glasses free of charge.? The Charleston Visitors Bureau are proving hotels with viewing glasses to present to all incoming visitors staying at area hotels.? Remember to wear your protective lenses.? We cannot emphasis that enough.
  • Charleston, South Carolina is expecting an estimated 1.2 million visitors for this event.
  • The event will last 2 Minutes and 40 Seconds and will end in Charleston at 2:48 PM EST.
  • The next total solar eclipse visible from the continental U.S. will be on April 8, 2024
  • The path of the totality will pass through 5 state capitals:? Salem, OR.; Lincoln, NE.; Jefferson City, MO.; Nashville, TN and Columbia, SC
  • Totality:? Day will turn to night only in what’s called “the path of totality.” That path will be approximately 70 miles wide and stretch from Oregon to South Carolina.
  • This is the first time since 1979 that a total eclipse has crossed the United States and the first time since 1918 that one will travel from coast to coast.
  • List of the best cities to see the totality of the eclipse – Source ABC News
  • The longest total solar eclipse on record lasted for 7 minutes and 30 seconds.

Note:? You can look at the sun during the eclipse, but ONLY when the moon has fully blocked its light, according to NASA. More from NASA: “When the bright photosphere of the sun is completely covered, only the faint light from the corona is visible, and this radiation is too weak to have any harmful effects on the human retina.”



A Dark Cloud Over Charleston: Cultural Ideology of a City I Once Loved

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By Mark A. Leon

We live and breathe under a cultural ideology and it is this ecosystem that surrounds us all that shapes who we are and how we live.? Shortly after completion of my graduate studies on the East Coast, where I was born and raised, I begin my formal employment career in Minnesota.? Battling the elements of culture shock was my biggest challenge.? After an awkward Hoedown on my first day of employment, I found myself questioning my ability to “fit in”.? Then it happened on a Tuesday afternoon on a warm Summer day.

Just outside my office I saw our Communications Director, Affirmative Action Manager and Health and Safety Manager gazing outside the front window of the facility.? This was my opportunity to bond with my new Midwest co-workers.? As I quietly joined in on their conversation, I walked over and listened closely.? The conversation was centered around a beautiful deer in the parking lot.? I looked and found no deer.? They raved and referred to it with intimate detail.? Still, no deer.

Finally, I resisted my fear of being embarrassed, and finally spoke up asking, ‘what deer?”.? All three looked to their left at me and pointed straight ahead.? Still, no sign of a deer, but within seconds I came to the realization, that beautiful fawn was none other than a large green John Deere tracker.

I was a stranger in a strange land.

Having moved often within the states and abroad, I found a home in Charleston and once again had to adjust to a new culture.? Now nine years in and I am still learning the culture.? Most often enlightened, but still very concerned.

After only spending one weekend in Charleston, escaping the crowds of my temporary Myrtle Beach home, I fell in love.? First, with the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.? Then as I penetrated deeper, the Colonial architecture and cobble stone roads of historic downtown, embracing the kindness of strangers, the seamless transition of city and residential living and the embrace of local business.? Finally, I absorbed the celebratory nature of the festival and events and the selfless support of human interest efforts on land and water.? This was truly a place I could call home.

It was a place where I could walk the streets in jeans, t-shirt and flip flops, go into my local bar on King Street and be greeted by my favorite bar tender as live trivia roared the crowds all around.? On a cool winter evening, I could put on a light jacket and head to a local theatre where some of the most talented actors in the South resided.

Charleston was a place where Jimmy Buffett or Warren Buffett could feel at home.? Celebrities were just like you and I and the taste of Southern cuisine made you want to come back over and over.

Elegant, yet unassuming, warm and inviting, but still personal in its connection to nature.? This was Charleston.

There was something so truly magical that all the Instagram’s in the world could not capture the cinematic beauty of a Charleston sunset over the harbor.? Every morning was a gift and every evening a blessing.

Church bells rang reminding us that faith is as strong as blood.

Going to a high-end steakhouse for a burger and a glass of Pinot Noir was just as acceptable as dressing to the nines.

Charleston’s idea of Tinder, was sitting outside a downtown restaurant, exchanging a smile with passing stranger and then spending the next few hours learning about each other’s dreams.

Charleston “was” a magical place.? A place historians, dreamers and visionaries could co-exist as one.?

Times have changed.? A cloud has stricken this city paralyzed.? Instead of a wheelchair or crutches, we are restricted by cranes, bulldozers and detours.

Our enemies are not the northerners as so many claim, but expansion and the greed hungry mongers in government and institutional investment.

Housing/apartment/condo prices and dining and hospitality costs all have hit record highs, but at what cost?

What is the new Charleston Experience?

  • Potholes and broken up uneven sidewalks
  • Constant construction that shows no signs of ending with the approval of two new hotels and continued development throughout the city
  • Traffic clusters throughout the metro and beyond
  • A rotating door of store and restaurant closures
  • Growth of common chain brands and reduction of local business owners
  • Rise of the homeless on the streets once again
  • Infrastructure on the East Side and West Side ignored
  • Rise in highway fatalities, home fires and violent crime
  • More restrictive parking laws and increased cost of parking
  • Urban and residential flooding still without resolution
  • Rumors of political greed and corruption
  • A separatist movement between the left and right, north and south
  • Disrespecting the beaches

This is not the Charleston I fell in love with nine years ago.?? The look, the attitude, the culture and the warmth are hiding somewhere, hoping this dark cloud moves offshore.