Buildings and Sites
Of Charleston, South Carolina
By: McDonald “Don” Burbidge, 33º
Along with the many important Masonic events that took place in Charleston
it should also be noted where some of these important events took place.
Some of the building still exists today and some have been replaced with
modern buildings. The one
thing that can never be replaced is what important events took place at
(Site of “Brother Charles” Shepheard’s Tavern)
Site of Shepheard's Tavern, also known at various times as Swallow's
Tavern, The City Tavern and The Corner Tavern. Charleston's taverns were
more than just eating and drinking establishments, and at this location
occurred many historically important events. One was the organization of
one of the first Masonic lodges in the United States.
°, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite
of Freemasonry, was organized at the same location in 1801. The first
record of a theatrical season in Charleston, and one of the first in the
country, was announcement in the South Carolina Gazette, Jan. 11, 1735,
that on the following 24th, a tragedy called The Orphan, or the Unhappy
Marriage, by Thomas Otway, would be "'attempted'' in ''the
Courtroom.'' The ''courtroom'' was the long room of Shepheard's Tavern,
which was rented for several years prior to 1738 to the provincial
government for meetings of the court, since the Province had no suitable
building and the Governor and Council could not agree on where one should
be built. The use of the same room for court sessions and entertainment’s
was not unusual. A dancing master, Henry Holt, gave a ball in the
Courtroom a month before The Orphan was presented there. (The Orphan was
not the first theatrical production in Charleston. Tony Aston, an English
actor, in 1703, wrote and acted what was probably the first professional
dramatic performance written and acted in the American colonies.)
Shepheard's was also one of the city's post offices. In 1743, Shepheard
received and distributed mail arriving on ships and by land. In 1773, when
the establishment was Swallow's Tavern, the first Chamber of Commerce in
America was formed. Banquets were given for arriving Royal Governors at
Shepheard's Tavern (also at Dillon's and Poinsettia’s taverns). The St.
Andrew's Society, and other fraternal organizations in the city, held
their meetings and dinners at Shepheard's (and at Dillon's, Kerr's, etc.)
The Corner Tavern (and Charles Town's other taverns) also hosted meetings
of the Sons of liberty during the Revolutionary period. The City Tavern
burned in 1796 but was soon replaced. The tavern building was demolished
in 1928 for the construction, in 1928-29, of the present building. The
Classic style building faced with Indiana limestone, which cost $280,000
and was known as the Citizens and Southern Bank in 1906.
Solomon's Lodge No. 1, Free and Accepted Masons,
was organized on Oct. 29, 1736, at 'Mr. Charles Shepheard 's in Broad
Street ‘. The first Scottish Rite lodge, the Supreme Council, 33
106 Broad St.
( Brother John Lining House)
When William Harvey and his wife Sarah sold the property to Charles and
Elizabeth Hill, it was described as having a "Large Dwelling house
thereon erected." The Hills were the parents of Sarah Lining, wife of
Dr. John Lining. Charles Hill died after making his will in 1734, leaving
the property to his wife Elizabeth, whom in 1747, married the Rev. Samuel
Quincy, then of Dorchester and later of Bewly, Hampshire. She subsequently
died, bequeathing the property to her daughter Sarah Lining, and in 1757,
Jacob Motte, as her trustee, conveyed the property to the daughter. On
March 5, 1757, Quincy gave a quick claim to John and Sarah Lining. On the
same date, they conveyed the property to John Rattray. Lining's residences
and the locations at which he conducted his scientific experiments have
not been documented. In 1733, Dr. Lining advertised his address as Broad
Street "opposite Mr. Crokatt 's."
Dr. John Lining (1708-1760), a native of Scotland
came to Charles Town at the age of 22, and in 1737 began the first weather
observations made with scientific instruments and systematically reported,
on the American continent. He also conducted on himself experiments in
human metabolism (1740); believed to have been the first such experiments
made anywhere. He corresponded with Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia on
the subject of electricity and carried out Franklin's famous kite and key
experiment in a local thunderstorm. Dr. Lining also made studies on yellow
fever and wrote one of the first published accounts of that disease. The
results of Dr. Lining's experiments were published in the Transactions of
the Royal Society of London, and in Gentleman's Magazine, resulting in
correspondence between Lining and European scientists.
Lewis Timothee who was a protégé of Benjamin
Franklin operated his newspaper from this house after he replaced Thomas
Whitmarsh when he passed away in 1734. When Lewis died in 1738, his widow
Elizabeth, with the help of her half-grown son Peter, continued the paper
as the first woman editor and publisher in America. Later Peter Timothy,
aided by his wife, the former Ann Donovan, made the South Carolina Gazette
a major Patriot organ. For that reason, it was suspended during the
British occupation, 1780-83. In 1783 the widowed Ann Timothy revived the
paper as the Gazette of the State of South Carolina, which, after her
death in 1793 was continued by her son Benjamin Franklin Timothy until
1802. During the Timothy family ownership, the paper was published in this
In addition, the
apothecary of Dr. Andrew Turnbull occupied the building, some time between
his arrival in Charles Town in 1781 and his death in 1792. His was the
first of a series of drug stores in the building and when Schwettman's,
the last establishment, closed in 1960, the apothecary shop interior was
moved to the Charleston Museum. Dr. Turnbull previously had founded the
Greek colony, New Smyrna, in East Florida. He refused to renounce his
loyalty to the Crown, but remained in South Carolina after the British
evacuation in 1783. His wife Maria Garcia, a native of Smyrna is believed
to have been Charleston's first Greek resident. The Lining House was in
danger of demolition in 1961, when the Preservation Society of Charleston
bought and restored it. The Society sold it in 1972 for use as a private
(Formally the Site of the Charleston Orphan House)
From its founding in October 1790, Ill. Brother John Mitchell was one of
the Commissioners of the Orphan House at Charleston, A tablet
commemorating the first meeting of the Commissioners on October 28, 1790
lists Mitchell second after Major Charles Lining, and he is recorded as
being present at every meeting thereafter until 1794. The minutes show no
one more active than Colonel Mitchell in promoting public support for the
Orphan House and in the management of its affairs during the difficult
first years. On Saturday May 7, 1791 President George Washington, with the
City Intendment and Wardens, visited the Orphans House, and Mitchell is
listed as the senior Commissioner receiving him, afterwards entertaining
him at breakfast in the Commissioners’ Room.
The Charleston Orphan House, the oldest
municipal orphanage in the United States, was founded October 18, 1790, at
the instigation of John Robertson, a philanthropic citizen and a member of
City Council. It’s main purpose was to establish the Institution for the
“purpose of supporting and educating poor and orphan children and those
of poor and disabled parents who are unable to support and maintain them.
were fed by homegrown food, dressed in homespun clothing, and educated in
the building by former students trained by the Principal of the School.
This method of management was established in order to reduce the cost of
maintaining the children.
Commissioners of the Charleston Orphan House list
John Mitchell as one starting on October 25, 1790 and ending on November
The Charleston Orphan House stood at the corner
of Calhoun and St. Philip’s Streets. Built on the former site of the
Revolutionary War Barracks, the Institution was officially occupied
October 18, 1794.
A set of
tablets containing the names of the first commissioners- Arnoldus
Vanderhorst, Charles Lining, John Mitchell, John Robertson, Richard Cole,
Thomas Corbett, William Marshall, Thomas Jones, and Samuel Beekman, and
also, individual tablets to John Robertson, was made and put on pubic
display at the Orphan House.
At the one-hundredth anniversary of the Orphan
House a banner was made. On the front of the banner it had written; 1790
Charleston Orphan House 1890. On the back of the banner located in the
center was a drawing of a ship anchor with a chain on it. Above the anchor
is the word “Faith” and below it is written “Charity.”
The Masonic Temple in the Tudor Gothic style was built in 1871-72 of brick
and stucco. The architect, John Henry Devereux, though a Roman Catholic
took the Entered Apprentice Degree of Masonry in orders to curb possible
criticism that a non-Mason designed the building. The building has been
remodeled several times, but the beauty of the original design has not
been totally obliterated.
(Site of The Liberty Tree)
Joseph Purcell, surveyor, laid out Mazyckborough for Alexander Mazyck in
1786. Chapel, Elizabeth and Calhoun streets and the Cooper River bound it.
Before its development,
the tract was known as Mazyk’s Pasture, in the corner of, which stood a
large oak tree, which became known as The Liberty Oak because it was
"formally dedicated to Liberty" by a group of
"Mechanics" and other inhabitants of the town.
The Sons of Liberty meet the live oak tree in the
pasture of Mr. Mazyck’s property, which they named on October 1,1768,
“The Liberty Tree.” Under this tree Christopher Gadsden first
advocated colonial independence in 1766, and where 10 years later the
Declaration of Independence was first heard and applauded by South
Carolinians. Gadsden and his fellow revolutionaries, who led public
meetings protested the British Stamp Act and later the Tea Tax.
George Flagg drew up a list of people meeting
under the Liberty Tree, in 1766. Among the meetings held at the Liberty
Tree were public meetings, which continued as such during the
In the South Carolina Gazette the following was
published about a meeting held by the “Club 45” members.
5 o’clock they all removed to a most noble “LIVE OAK” tree, in Mr.
Mazyk’s pasture, which they formally dedicated to LIBERTY, where many loyal, patriotic, and constitutional
toasts were drank, beginning with the glorious “NINETY-TWO”
Anti-Rescinds of Massachusetts-Bay, and ending with, unanimity among the
members of our ensuing Assembly not to rescind from the said resolution
(to boycott England), each succeeded by three huzzahs.
evening, the tree was decorated with 45 lights, and 45 skyrockets were
About 8 o’clock, the whole company, preceded by
45 of their number, marched in regular procession to town, down
King-Street and Broad Street, to Mr. Robert Dillion’s tavern; where the
45 lights being placed upon the table, with 45 bowls of punch, 45 bottles
of wine, and 92 glasses, they spent a few hours in a new round of toasts,
among which, scarce a celebrated Patriot of Britain or America was
omitted; and preserving the same good order and regularity as had been
observed throughout the day, at 10 they retired.
When the British occupied Charles Town in 1780, they cut down the
Liberty Tree to prevent its becoming a Patriot shrine. So that the
destruction would be complete, they built a fire over the remaining stump.
Later the root was dug up and made into cane-heads, one of which was given
to President Thomas Jefferson.
Lodge No. 38
(Located on “Lodge Alley”)
The Marine Lodge of Masons,
which is the “Junior” in this Town, is the First that is possessed of
a Lodge Room, having lately purchased a very convenient one.
South Carolina Gazette
May 31, 1773
South Carolina, during the Colonial period, and after the close of the
Revolution, proved a fertile field for the various Masonic Bodies; thus,
in the early days, we find a Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, “Moderns,”
with a number of Subordinate Lodges. The Grand Lodge of South Carolina
Ancient York Masons, Lodges working under the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and
another St. Andrew’s, under a warrant from the Grand Lodge at St.
Augustine “The Grand Lodge of Perfection,” and later the Cerneau Rite
of Perfection, and others of lesser importance.
When the “Grand
Lodge of South Carolina, Ancient York Masons,” was formed by the five
“Ancient: Lodges in Charleston, January 1, 1787, in which movement
Marine Lodge, No. 38, was a prominent factor, it is a noteworthy fact,
that at least three of the principal officers were Pennsylvania Masons,
viz. Hon. William Drayton, Grand Master; Hon. Mordecai Gist, Deputy Grand
Master; Edward Weyman, Esq., Senior Grand Warden.
Lodge No. 38 appear to
have been represented by proxy upon the September 25, 1786, when the Grand
Lodge asserted its Independence. No returns or further reports from this
Lodge have been found in the Archives of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
It is known, however that Marine Lodge, No. 38, became an active body,
spreading Masonic light and charity in the town wherein it was located,
and in 1787, became one of the five “Ancient” Lodges that formed the
Grand Lodge of South Carolina Ancient York Masons.
The Hebrew Orphan House of
David Lopez who became its first president founded the Hebrew Orphan
Society in 1801 in Charleston, South Carolina. David Lopez was laid to
rest in the Jewish Coming Street Cemetery.
At the first meeting of the Hebrew Society for
the establishment of the Jewish Orphan House was attended by twenty-three
Charleston Jews which comprised of two of the founding fathers of the
Emmanuel De La Motta who was a commission
merchant and auctioneer was an active 33°
Mason who was one of the original founders of the Supreme Council of the
Scottish Rite and held the office of Treasurer-General.
Moses C. Levy a prominent merchant was also one
of the original founders of the Supreme Council with the title of
Inspector Generals of the Supreme Council 33º.
have survived prior to 1850 due to the Charleston fires and storms. Since
then the minutes of the Society are continuous except for the Civil War
Except for a brief period in the 1860s. The
Society did not maintain an orphanage, but domiciled orphans with selected
families. Said Elzas, the Jewish historian, "In this way, in addition
to the pecuniary assistance given, the misfortune of orphanage was
softened and the little ones were permitted to live in a healthful family
atmosphere." Following the great fire of 1838, which destroyed the
synagogue on Hasell Street, the congregation of Beth Elohin worshiped here
until the present synagogue, was completed in 1840.
Like the Charleston Orphan House the Hebrew
Orphan Society had one rule that determined if a child could or could not
be admitted, “No child under two years of age and none over 14 years be
received, except in special cases.”
St. Michael’s church was completed in 1761 and is the oldest church
edifice in the city of Charleston. Built on this same spot was the first
church of St. Philip’s or as the population called it, “Church of
England.” By 1727 the town had grown too large for the small church and
a more spacious one was built of brick on Church Street which was called
St. Philip’s II for a time.At and after the
installation of The Grand Lodge officers were complete, a procession was
formed and paraded to St. Michael’s church where Rev. Brother Dalcho,
Grand Chaplain delivered the Divine Service. His sermon was based on the
text John12: 36, “While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may
be the children of light.” Dalcho remarked in his sermon that;
When George Washington tour through Charleston in
1791 he attended church services here at St. Michael’s. The clock and
ring of eight bells in St. Michael's steeple were imported in 1764 from
During the year 1811-1812 Ill. Brother Frederick
Dalcho and his wife owned pew number 89. The location of this pew is in
the same location today as it was in 1811.
St. Michael’s church has a rich Masonic history
from it’s early years on. Ill. Brother Frederick Dalcho was the
Assistant Rector along with being the superintendent of the Sunday school
children. In a recently discovered letter written by Dalcho he asks the
Warden’s of the church for permission to locate a book shelf in the
balcony of the church for the Sunday School children to store their books.
Following a number of part-time associations with
St. Michael’s Church in Charleston, South Carolina, he was retained as
an assistant minister on February 23, 1819. In 1824 he established with
others, “The Charleston Gospel
Messenger and Protestant Episcopal Register”,
a monthly journal of the Church’s activities.
This paper was published monthly until 1853. His monumental work at
this period was a history of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South
Carolina, the first published history of any diocese in America. Consisting of more than 600 pages. All of Dr. Fredrick Dalcho’s
book were sold at the, ”The Theological Book Store” in Charleston,
South Carolina located at 51 Board Street.
Free-Masonry, like the Religion of the
Redeemer, is eminently calculated to dispense “peace on earth, and good
will towards men.” And if the moral and religious state of the community
in which it flourishes, be not increased and refined by its influence, it
must be charged to the perversity of the Brotherhood, and not to the
principles of the Institution. The general application of its principles
and practice to the spiritual and temporal welfare of men cannot be
doubted. It binds its members by the strongest sanctions, “to do justly,
to love mercy, to walk humbly before God;” and to “love the
Frederick Dalcho, M. D. and
his wife is buried in the graveyard of this historic churchyard.
St. Philip’s church was first erected at the corner of Broad and Meeting
Streets between the years 1681 and 1682. The structure was made of black
cypress and the foundation was made of brick. After a prosper start it was
usually referred to as the “English Church,” but the real name was St.
Philip’s.During the summer
months of 1814 our late Ill. Brother Frederick Dalcho, M.D. officiated at
the church as Rector for the summer months until a new Rector could be
found to fill the vacant spot left by the untimely death of Rev. J. D.
As Charles Town evolved into prosperous colonial
metropolis, the need for a new church was realized. As early as 1711 the
Assembly authorized “a new church built of brick with a tower or
steeple, and a ring of bells therein.” A decade later the “brick
church” was still incomplete. The Assembly passed another bill in
December 1720, which empowered the Commissioners to determine the
dimensions, materials, and finish the church. To raise the money for this,
the bill also called for “An additional duty of three pence per gallon
to be laid on rum, and five pence per gallon on brandy and other spirits.”
When the new edifice of the “Established Church”
rose at the head of one of the town’s principal through fares, the
street became known as Church Street as does the present building on the
27, 1762 and again in December 1784 Right Rev. Robert Smith presented to
the Masons of Charles-Town a Masonic sermon, which he called “Charity Sermon for the Masons No. 100.” This sermon has gone
unnoticed since it was last given to the Brethren of Charles-Town until it
was recently re-discovered. This sermon is perhaps one of the earliest if
not one of the first Masonic sermons of its kind presented in Charles-Town
to the Masons. It should also be noted that Right Rev. Smith established
the College of Charleston and the Society for the Widows and Orphans of
the Clergy, which still exists today. Rev. Frederick Dalcho, M.D., was
also a member of the Society for the Widows and Orphans of the Clergy.
On Christmas Day, 1805, Dr. Dalcho and Mary
Elizabeth Threadcraft were married in St. Philip’s Church, Charleston,
by Rev. Dr. Edward Jenkins. This was Dr. Dalcho’s second marriage and
his wife was to survive him until December 12, 1852. There were no
children, from this marriage.
Buried in the graveyard of St. Philip’s church
you will find the grave of Ill. Brother James Moultrie, Sr. who was a
founder of the Supreme Council.