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A Church in Charleston: 1900

A Church in Charleston: 1900

Charleston, South Carolina, circa 1900. "Meeting Street and St. Michael's Church." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Ripley’s Review and the Olden Arches

Robert L. Ripley, who penned the syndicated, whimsical “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!” column, noted while visiting the city in the 1930’s that the intersection in the background of this photo represents the Four Corners of Law.

The southeastern corner, occupied by St. Michael’s Episcopal, represents God’s law; the southwestern corner, directly in front of the church, represents federal law as the US Post Office and Federal Courthouse; while diagonally to the right of the church on the northwestern corner is the Charleston County Courthouse; and finally, the northeastern corner, to the church’s immediate right, hosts the Charleston City Hall.

Thus the Four Corners of Law exists by their purposes of ecclesiastical, federal, state, and local authority, making an unplanned, yet poignant statement.

As noted by tterrace, while not seen in the more recent photo, the blocks mentioned previously were to help passengers enter and exit from carriages. They are arched to allow water to flow along the gutter. Many still exist around town, typically made of either granite or marble. Those in the photo are the only ones I’ve ever seen arched.

The Same Tree ?!

Look at the tree in the right foreground of the original photo and then look at the tree in the right foreground of the photo taken 110 years later. Both trees have the same sharp bend in their trunks! It appears to be the very same tree !

"Hey boss, what do we do with these blocks?"

This is funny. I looked up the modern view of this scene. It looks like at some point in the past, the road crew lifted those cement blocks for crossing the gutter and "temporarily" placed them on the sidewalk.

[The Historic American Buildings Survey explains what they are. -tterrace]


Below is the same view from July of 2010.

Photo Taken On Meeting Street

Google maps shows this view to be on the Meeting St. side of the church. Broad is the cross street just past the pillared entrance.

Everything Is Still There

Just visited Charleston for the first time and I am in love with this city! So many of the old buildings are still there, including this church. I think any fan of Shorpy will love it too.

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