Walking Tour of Historic Charleston

Walking Tour of Historic Charleston

The town of Charleston is known for its turbulent past and momentous sites, which now contribute to the rich beauty of this peninsula in the south. What better way to explore the city on foot and gain the opportunity to relive the stories behind each alley and structure. Go on your own or join a tour – it’s up to you! These are the must-see attractions that you have to include to your walking itinerary. It may last 5 to 6 hours so make sure to have a full breakfast!

The Old Jail

At 21 Magazine Street is the 1802-built Charleston District Jail, which despite of its tumultuous beginnings is now part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the White House Millennium Council. The Old Jail with a Romenesque Revival style used to be four stories high with a tower but the fourth level and the tower were destroyed during an earthquake in 1886. Infamous inmates were John and Lavinia Fisher who were part of the Charleston Neck, as well as pirates who were awaiting their execution.

William Aiken House

Now walk your way to the city’s best Adamesque structures built in 1811 at 456 King Street. The William Aiken House is now a National Historic Landmark as it is the birthplace of America’s first railroad to use a steam locomotive. Restorations have been done to the House but it still managed to retain its 1810 design, furnished with period antiques and artwork. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another century with the huge ballrooms and piazzas overlooking the garden.

Philadelphia Alley

If you would love to feel some good ol’ goosebumps even though it’s not Halloween, cruise to the circa-1766 Philadelphia Alley with its trademark cobblestone walkway lined with historic homes and the wall of St. Peter’s Church. It’s called Philadelphia to honor the city that helped rebuild the area after a massive fire that destroyed much of Charleston in 1810. The Alley is famous for long ago duels, where men fought by gunfire and risked death in order to save their reputation.

Old Exchange Building and Provost Dungeon

Constructed in the 1760s, the old prison tells the tale of Charleston’s sordid past. The dungeon was witness to slaves sold at the market and prisoners chained to its walls until their death. Stories of disappearing docents and moans and cries heard through the thick stone walls still haunt the now two-story museum. Make sure to stop by the dungeon at 122 East Bay Street, right outside Waterfront Park.

About the Author: Ann Madison was born and raised in Charleston and loves to take tourists for a walking tour around the city during her free time. As her day job, she works as an interior designer at Carolina Flooring Services in North Charleston.