North Charleston may be a young city, but we have our fair share of noteworthy history for you to explore. Over the past 100 years, the military and industry have played a key role in shaping North Charleston. Looking back even further than that, the focus lies in the rich history of rice plantations, botanical gardens, and indigo fields scattered throughout the area.
Ancient Inland Rice Fields produced large portions of the major agricultural cash crop from the State of South Carolina. It’s importance’s an exported commodity is denoted in its eventual nickname, Carolina Gold. Inland rice plantations used individualized systems to cultivate rice. Plantations such as Windsor Hill and Woodlands utilized swamp lands and labor to alter the terrain to house man-made irrigation systems. Remnants of these systems can still be seen today, over 300 years later.
Established in 1871, Liberty Hill is the oldest surviving neighborhood within North Charleston. Paul and Harriet Rescot sold land to Ishmael Grant, Aaron Middleton, and Plenty & William Lecque to establish a settlement for freedman. These men donated an acre of the southeast corner for construction of St. Peter’s African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E) Church, the oldest church in the area.
The Charleston Naval Base provided berthing, logistics, training, and repair services to U.S Navy ships and submarines from its formation in 1901 to its closure in 1996. Originally designated as the Navy Yard, and later as the Naval Base, it covered 1,575 acres on the west bank of the Cooper River flow into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Charleston Air Force Base’s beginnings were in civil aviation.
The City of North Charleston purchased land north of the city for an airport in 1919. Over the next few decades, the airport received federal funding, including a runway extension grant from the Workers Progress Administration during the height of the Great Depression.
Along with the Charleston Naval Base, the Airfield supported the World War II war effort. During the way, the Airfield was host to P-39 Airacobra fighters, P-40 Warhawk fighters, B-34 Lexington bombers, and B-24 Liberator bombers.
Today, the 437th Airlight Wine (active) and the 315th Airlift Wing (reserve) operate the formidable C-17 Globemaster III, traversing the globe to support warfighters, render humanitarian aid to other countries, and serve as the workhorse for the United States Air Force.
Spend a day in North Charleston and you’re sure to spot several C-17s, with their signature roar, gracing our skies.