Way Back Wednesday: The Battery then and now

Local 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 Battery in downtown Charleston.

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The Battery is a pair of man-made seawalls that stretch along the southern tip of the Charleston peninsula.

Library of Congress: View on Battery, Charleston harbor Charleston, S.C.

According to the South Carolina Encyclopedia, in 1670 the first Carolina colonists noticed heavy amounts of sand and bleached oyster shells where the Cooper and Ashley Rivers meet. The term “Oyster Point” was coined to describe the peninsula, “…but after Charleston was relocated to the eastern shore of the peninsula in 1680, the terms “Oyster Point” and “White Point” were used to refer specifically to its southernmost tip.”  

“The “High Battery” measures just over 1,400 feet long and was built in the early nineteenth century to facilitate the creation of what we now call East Battery Street and White Point Garden.  The so-called “Low Battery” is an adjacent seawall measuring nearly 5,000 feet in length that was built in the early twentieth century to facilitate the creation of what we now call Murray Boulevard.”

Charleston County Public Library
Library of Congress: South Battery, Charleston, S.C.

First used as a public park in 1837, the area now known as White Point Garden became a place for artillery during the Civil War. Today, White Point Gardens features historical markings like cannons, memorial plaques, and statues that pay tribute to Charleston’s rich history.

Currently, the City of Charleston is working on a plan to restore the Battery. The new seawall will be engineered to ensure the city is ready to deal with rising sea levels and regular flooding near the historic site. Leaders say the project is expected to cost $64 million. You can learn more about the project by clicking here!

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