South Carolina: Charleston County

Charleston County is along the Atlantic coast, east of Colleton County. It’s the largest county in South Carolina in square miles, and the third-largest in population (350,209).

The county seat is Charleston, the oldest (founded in 1670) and second largest (pop. 124,672) city in South Carolina.

It was originally Charles Towne, in honor of King Charles II

The tallest building in Charleston is St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, built in 1872.

255 feet tall

The city is on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers.

Charleston Harbor

The Civil War began in 1861 at Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor.

Now part of Fort Sumter National Monument

Stephen Colbert, host of TV’s “The Colbert Report,” grew up in Charleston.

Born in Washington, D.C., in 1964.

Charleston is the home of The Citadel (The Military College of South Carolina) and the College of Charleston.

One of six “senior military colleges” in the U.S.

The novel “Porgy” by DuBose Heyward (1925) and the opera “Porgy and Bess” (1935) were set in Charleston.

Music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and Heyward

The adjacent city of North Charleston is North Carolina’s third-largest city, with a population of 101,356. It was the home of the Charleston Naval Shipyard.

Opened in 1901, closed in 1996

Sullivan’s Island, at the entrance to Charleston Harbor, was the point of entry for approximately 40 percent of the African slaves who came to British North America.

Folly Beach, on Folly Island, is a popular spot for surfing.

Folly Beach pier


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