Way Back Wednesday: Charleston City Market

Charleston County News

Downtown Charleston, S.C. (WCBD) – It’s Wednesday and that means it is time to explore the history that surrounds the Lowcountry. This week, we head to the Charleston City Market in downtown Charleston.

A historical hub, The City Market is known to many as the cultural heart of Charleston. The City Market is one of Charleston’s oldest public facilities still being used today. Prior to the consolidation of markets after the American Revolution, markets in the city offered goods like fish and vegetables at different sites.

In 1788 six neighbors, including Charles Cotesworth Pickney, donated land to create a consolidated market; where the City Market stands today used to marsh extending from Meeting Street to the Cooper River, briefly designated Canal or Channel Street.

Library of Congress: Charleston City Market 1865

An inscription on a plaque at the City market explains, “By 1792, some marsh and creek had been filled and a 200 foot long brick market, stood near Meeting Street. In late 1793, the city converted that structure to house refugees from Santo Domingo, and the land reverted to its original owners because a market had not been erected within the specified time. Once the property was again donated to the city in 1804 and construction resumed.”

The “Centre Market”, opened in August 1807, and residents gathered daily to sell and buy locally raised commodities and imported delicacies.

Years later, Market Hall was built to provide space for merchants to sell their goods. According to the South Carolina Encyclopedia, “Market Hall was one of several monumental buildings that arose Meeting Street during the 1830s and early 1840s.”

The Market was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975.

Today the market serves as a hub for local vendors to sell their goods. From soaps to sweetgrass baskets, the Charleston City Market is stocked with souvenirs.

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