28 October 2014

Across the U.S., Day 22 - Charleston (SC)

The day started with thick fog, but quickly cleared up and turned into another nice, unusually warm day in the mid 80s F (~ 30 C).

The very first thing I hear people say about Charleston (SC) is "Oh, it's really beautiful." And beautiful it is. It felt like stepping back in time, into a long-forgotten era. The city has the ordinance that nothing older than 75 years may be torn down and this definitely pays off!

East Battery Street

Church Street at the corner of Water Street

Calhoun Mansion (24,000 square feet, 35 rooms, ...)

Originally founded as Charles Town (named for King Charles II of England) in 1670, the city settled a few miles north of its current site. It was moved to its present location in 1680 "where the Copper and Ashley Rivers come together to form the Atlantic Ocean" as the locals say, and adopted its present name in 1783. Charleston sits on the Woodstock Fault and in 1886 a devastating earthquake destroyed most of the brick houses. To save those with large cracks, "earthquake bolts" were inserted through the floorboards to hold the brickwork back together.

Earthquake bolts, now as historic markers
in buildings constructed before 1886

On Church Street

Local folks strolling through Stolls Alley

At East Battery along the Charleston Harbor, I stopped for a chat with this young gentleman. He was making roses out of palm tree leafs. He hopes to raise enough money for a trip out of town this Thursday, so that he and his team could attend a basketball game. The others in his group were selling cookies and such. He was born and raised in Charleston but finds the city "awkward". Currently, he does not have a permanent job. If he gets the chance, he would like to leave for Florida or some other place.

Out of curiosity, I looked up some numbers on www.city-data.com, year 2012: estimated median household income in Charleston, SC was $49,266; estimated median house value: $251,600. Sunnyvale in comparison for the same year: $101,611 median household income, median house value $702,700.

He told me that as far as he knows, annual taxes for those large houses on East Battery are around $5,000. Wow. When I mentioned what we pay for our 1,100 square-foot home in Sunnyvale, he simply looked puzzled. I guess that might have taken California off his mental list of place to move. ...

He actually was very successful in selling his roses and I bought one, too:

What did I read about the Rainbow Market along Market Street: They sell anything and everything? Indeed!

Some Lowcountry cuisine before I continued my stroll:

Crab melt sandwich with southern potato salad

There is a high risk of beauty-fatigue in Charleston.

East Battery Street

Corner of Tradd & Meeting Street

Sweetgrass baskets, usually sold by "basket ladies"

Sneak peak onto someone's patio
More to come.


  1. Indeed a beautiful city. Is there a thing such as beauty fatigue?

  2. The grass baskets were really pretty cool but all the ones we saw were really expensive.

    1. Yes, they are. The medium-sized ones are around $400. Well, they are all handmade, and a nice souvenir. But I will stay with my rose.

  3. Photos, photos, photos. I would like to see all of them. My today's favorite: Stolls Alley - what a wonderful shot!

    What an interesting story about the boy who wants to leave Charleston. You took this picture of him after you disillusioned him, right ;-) ?