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Old 08-19-2014, 10:55 AM   #1
Lowcountry25 OP
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Ghosts of the past

I live in Charleston, South Carolina. The city and the countryside here are beautiful. We have plenty of beaches, bars, restaurants and pretty women. We are also blessed with more history than just about any other American city., as Charleston was founded all the way back in 1670. What we do not have, unfortunately, is any good motorcycle riding WHATSOEVER. The roads are all flat and straight. I have to ride 45 minutes to get to any dirt, and then guess what. That dirt is all flat and straight.
So lately, I have been talking myself into making the best of it by getting out on my bike, photographing and posting some local things that are of historical significance. Here goes.

Everyone knows that the Civil War began here in Charleston, and that this city and State had much to do with bringing our nation to the precipice of war. The threat of war had been looming in South Carolina since as early as 1828. Three decades later, a sequence of events in my city would plunge the country into all-out war.
The moneyed elite in SC got rich through the system of slavery. Lincoln was viewed as a threat to that system. I won't bother with too much detail here because we all know the history. Southern States had said that if Lincoln were elected, they would secede from the Union. On November 6, 1860, Lincoln won the Presidential election. South Carolina immediately moved towards secession. On December 20, 1860, members of the SC Secession Convention met at St. Andrew's Hall on Broad St. in Charleston. They heard the Ordinance of Secession read to them, and then they voted on whether or not to secede. The vote was 169 to 0 in favor of Secession.

Here is a contemporary drawing of St. Andrew's Hall:


Here is a photo of the building taken during the Civil War. The hall had been destroyed in the great fire of December 1861, which was unrelated to the War.


All that remains of the building today is the fence that once stood in front of it. Here is that fence behind my bike:


Later that evening, the delegates reconvened and actually signed the Ordinance of Secession. This was done around the corner on Meeting St. at SC Institute Hall. Contemporary pic:


This building was also destroyed in the great fire of '61. It would have stood just below the Circular Church, seen here in a picture taken from the roof of the Mills House Hotel in 1865:


The building that sits on the site today is architecturally similar, but not the same.




From this point, the die had been cast. Other southern states followed suit and seceded as well. In Charleston, militias began mobilizing. There was a small Federal garrison of less than 100 men stationed in Charleston at Ft. Moultrie on Sullivan's Island. The fort was in disrepair. Sand from the beach had covered some walls, and cows were walking from the beach up and onto the ramparts of the fort. The force's commander, Major Robert Anderson, knew that he could not defend Moultrie. So under the cover of darkness on Dec 26, 1860, he moved his garrison into Ft. Sumter, which sat on a sand bar at the mouth of Charleston Harbor. Construction of Sumter had begun in 1828, but it had never been completed, and most of her cannon had not been mounted. Still, the South Carolinians viewed this as a hostile act. They knew that if Sumter could be reinforced and properly armed, it could dominate the mouth of the harbor, and completely close it down to all shipping. Within days, SC militia seized the two remaining Federal installations in Charleston.
First was the Federal Arsenal, located on Ashley Avenue. Here is a wartime photo of the arsenal:



The only two buildings remaining from the old arsenal are both seen in this photo. The building on the left is Colcock Hall. Here is how it looks today:



The other remaining building is the artillery shed, seen just to the right of Colcock Hall in the wartime photo. It is now a chapel. Here it is today:


In addition to taking the Federal Arsenal, SC troops also captured Castle Pinckney, a small masonry fort located in the interior of Charleston Harbor.


Wartime Castle Pinckney:


And here is Castle Pinckney today:


Closer:


From late December of '60 until the war began in April of '61, there was a lot going on here. Mainly mobilization of troops and assets with the end design being the capture of Ft. Sumter. On April 12th, the war began when SC forces shelled the Federal troops stationed there.

The first shot came from a mortar battery at Ft. Johnson, on James Island. I live about 4 miles from this marker.





Due to the trees in the background, you cannot see Ft. Sumter in this picture. So I walked over to the trees and took these pics from there:




That's all I've got from this ride. I'm not sure what I want to talk about next, so give me a few days and I will find and photograph some more history for you. I hope you enjoyed it.
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Old 08-19-2014, 12:55 PM   #2
The_Scottsman
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Thanks for the lesson! Looking forward to more!
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Old Yesterday, 11:30 AM   #3
CharlestonRider
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Thanks for the reminder of why I am so grateful to call Charleston my home. The magazine in your photo is right next to Grice Marine Lab, which I visit periodically (for work). I have stood at that spot many times and looked upon Charleston harbor with awe.

Cheers.
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Old Yesterday, 03:12 PM   #4
HPTuner
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Have you got anything on the Hunley? And I forgot to say that I really enjoyed this report!

HPTuner screwed with this post Today at 03:30 AM
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Old Yesterday, 06:28 PM   #5
Lowcountry25 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlestonRider View Post
Thanks for the reminder of why I am so grateful to call Charleston my home. The magazine in your photo is right next to Grice Marine Lab, which I visit periodically (for work). I have stood at that spot many times and looked upon Charleston harbor with awe.

Cheers.
CharlestonRider
Yep, this place is thick with history. I ride out to that point a couple of times a week just to have a look at the harbor, too. Whatdo you ride? I'll keep an eye out for you.
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Old Yesterday, 06:29 PM   #6
Lowcountry25 OP
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Originally Posted by HPTuner View Post
Have you got anything on the Hunley?
Sure, I can do one on the Hunley. Give me a few days to put it together.
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Old Today, 07:08 AM   #7
CharlestonRider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lowcountry25 View Post
Yep, this place is thick with history. I ride out to that point a couple of times a week just to have a look at the harbor, too. Whatdo you ride? I'll keep an eye out for you.
I currently am riding a 1990 BMW K75C (which I love). I am also in the process of rebuilding a 2005 YZ250F (the purchase of which is a clear sign of my mid-life crisis ).

John
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Old Today, 08:32 AM   #8
Mustang28027
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You have LOTS to view in Charleston... The Market, Rainbow Row, Fort Moultrie, Shem Creek, etc. Used to live at IOP. Still miss it.
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Old Today, 12:01 PM   #9
Pantah
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Thanks for the lesson and tour - I like those parts too. As a youngster from California I did my Army flight training at Hunter AAF in Savannah. After my war, I returned to Hunter as a flight instructor. With 3 years of flight pay saved up, I showed up with a brand new Honda 450 Scrambler and a Porsche 914. The first week back I met a hot girl on the beach and we were something special for five months. Love those Southern girls. Very different from California girls (but I like them too). In fact, I saw that Southern beach girl again just last January after 43 years... She still looks good and sounds exactly the same.

I read Prince of Tides, once. The story was pretty dark, but I was mostly fascinated with how the countryside and waterways were discribed. I could smell again the sweet aroma of low tide.

I live in Boston now and have for 25 years. We have a lot of history too. In fact I live a few steps from the Boston Tea Party site. A few steps the other way to Faneuil Hall and the site of the Boston Massacre at the foot of the Old State House. The Old North Church (one if by sea...) is a ten minute walk. You stroll right past Paul's house.

Also, we have a lot of great riding in New England. Lots of twisty dirt roads even.

I like the old South, though. Savannah in particular.
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