Saturday, January 30, 2016

Then & Now: Old Market Hall in Charleston, S.C.

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In December 1861, many buildings in Charleston, S.C., were destroyed in a fire and beginning in late 1863, the historic city suffered periodic shelling from Union artillery, causing further destruction. Among the buildings to survive were City Hall and Market Hall at 188 Meeting Street, both subjects in April 1865 of Connecticut-born photographer George Barnard.

Beginning in the 1790s, this four-block area in Charleston was known for its markets -- area farmers would sell their crops and other goods here. Using stone from as far away as Italy, New York and Connecticut, the Greek Revival-style Market Hall was completed in 1841 to replace another building that had been destroyed by fire. The one-story sheds, which can be seen at the extreme right of the Then & Now images, stretched to near the harbor water front and were rented out for a dollar or two a day to meat, vegetable and fish vendors. Scraps of food tossed into the street were snatched up by buzzards, which became known as Charleston Eagles.

During the war, local men and boys joined the Confederate army at Market Hall, and in 1899, a Confederate museum that includes artifacts from area soldiers was established here. Today, many of those artifacts may be seen on the second floor, which houses the United Daughters of the Confederacy Museum. The Market Hall area remains popular for shopping and more..

Taken during the Civil War, the "Then" image is available in jpg and TIFF formats on the Library of Congress web site. The "Now" image, a cropped version of a Google Street View shot, nearly duplicates Barnard's view. (For all Then & Now images on my blog, go here.)

I was curious if an enlargement of the original image would reveal cool details, For grins, here's what I found:

Two people, blurred in Barnard's image, a horse and the ornate iron railing in front of Market Hall.


  1. Anonymous8:02 AM

    I pass by this place every year my family and I take a trip to the beach. They have lots of nice restaurants in the area, and I can’t forget about visiting the market on my trip.

  2. Anonymous7:33 PM

    I visited there about ten years ago and I loved it. For a small building there is much to take in. I saw the rifled cannon and pictures of the men that carried stonewall Jackson’s when he was mortally wounded. They have lots of flag staffs that once held the colors. The ladies inside were vey nice to this yankee tourist visitor. I still have my brochure from my visit and it is well worth seeing.

  3. Anonymous2:42 PM

    A beautiful, classic building which I’ve seen several times on my visits there. The architecture of the Old South is without equal.