The Half Moon Battery
One of the great things about having school aged children in Charleston County is getting to chaperon field trips! This week I was able to visit the Old Exchange Building and Provost Dungeon with my son’s fourth grade class from Orange Grove Elementary Charter School. At the beginning of Broad Street at East Bay Street this National Historic Landmark is a must see for children and adults. This one building houses exhibits that mark Charleston’s history from its fortified beginnings as a permanent English settlement in the 1680’s through today.
The Royal Exchange and Customs House was built directly above the Half Moon Battery in 1768, incorporating parts of the previous structure into its foundation. The curve of the original English-bond brick sea wall of the battery was unearthed during a 1965 excavation and is still visible in the Provost Dungeon today. I was always fascinated by this as I walked along the curved brick drop off in grade school, and still find it hard to imagine how the harbor once lapped the edge of what would eventually become Rainbow Row.
The staff members of the Old Exchange have developed a fun and educational program to “transport” the children back to the year 1781, during the British occupation of Charleston. We were met by patrolling Redcoat sentries along the streets and were trained in how to load a musket by patriots at the Powder Magazine. We then visited the home of Thomas Heyward, Jr., one of South Carolina’s four signers of the Declaration of Independence, where we were met by his wife Elizabeth Heyward, who led our tour in character.
Please call me for ideas on things to do in Charleston the next time your in-laws are visiting, I would love to help…