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Tag: Charleston tours

Handling the Hunley – A Exploration of History in Charleston

It’s no secret that Charleston is extremely well known for its American history, but what many residents and visitors tend to forget as they cross over the Cooper River bridges is that history is still being made here every day…

Let me begin by taking you back to Charleston for the Civil War: The debate between the North and the South on slavery is heated and not looking as if it can be resolved with discussion. The North wants the South to give up their plantations, the rights to slave ownership, and build factories. The South however, refuses to release their slaves and conflict continues. So after Lincoln’s political election victory, on December 20, 1860, South Carolina becomes the first to secede from the Union. Charleston rejoices the secession with fireworks, cannon fire, and ringing bells.

A few short weeks later on January 9, 1861 Citadel cadets open fire on the Union ship Star of the West in Charleston’s harbor. Star of the West was used to bring military supplies and reinforcements to Fort Sumter. The official start of the war comes yet another couple of months later on April 12, 1861 when General Pierre G.T. Beauregard opens fire on the Union-held Fort Sumter. After 34 hours of bombardment, Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort for what would be known as the first Confederate victory in the Civil War. This victory lead President Lincoln to order Union forces to begin a blockade of all Southern ports.

Entrance of the Hunley to the Civil War: Years after the first victory for the Confederacy, the Yankee Union has moved South and has destroyed much of the land and cities, bringing despair with them. Confederate soldiers are starving and low on ammunition but refuse to give up even though they are basically surrounded by land and sea. The South attempts to win in water warfare and keep Charleston Harbor open from the North’s war ships with the Hunley.

In August 1863, after news of successful trial runs, the Hunley was moved to Charleston, SC from Mobile, AL, where it was built, for her first and only attack against a live target, the USS Housatonic. The Hunley readied itself for the attack but sadly disappeared off the end of the Fort Johnson wharf on August 29, 1863. General Beauregard ordered it to be raised immediately after the first sinking. Sadly 5 of the 9 crew members had drowned since they were not prepared for the submersion of the sub.

For the second attempt to attack the Union blockade, the Hunley was outfitted with a crew from Mobile who were familiar with her, including inventor Horace L. Hunley himself, to man the ship. Once more, the Hunley sank during a routine diving exercise, this time leaving no survivors. Several days of bad weather prevented another immediate excavation, but when divers submerged, they were shocked to discover her bow stuck in the mud with the hull at a 30 degree angle. It appeared she sank nose first very quickly.

Months of repair, refurbishing, and practice runs lay ahead of the Hunley before she was ready for her third and last attempt to stop the blockage. General Beauregard had become suspicious of the twice-fatal sub but at the urging of Lieutenant George Dixon he agreed to let it run one more time.

On the night of February 17, 1864, the Hunley made her way out to the open water of sea just outside the Charleston Harbor about four miles from Breach Inlet in between Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms. Approaching the USS Housatonic, the Hunley was kept safe since the ships cannons couldn’t aim so low. The Hunley punctured the ship with its metal spar, lodged a torpedo inside and quickly backed away. Moving far enough from the ship to rise and signal the shore of Sullivan’s Island with a blue light showing a successful mission, both the sub and ship were then rocked with destruction. Once more, the sub and her crew of 8 were lost.

The Hunley became the first ever submarine to sink an enemy war ship. Questions were immediately raised as to why the sub sank and if she could ever be recovered. 137 years after she sank, the Hunley was discovered just outside the Charleston Harbor by author and adventurer Clive Cussler in 1995 and raised in 2000. Since its recovery the Hunley had been kept in a salt-water tank at the former Charleston Navy Base in North Charleston while crews worked to preserve it and figure out the riddle of the sinking.

This past summer the Hunley was righted for the first time in over a century and a little more than two weeks ago, the outer truss that held the sub in place and protected its iron shell since its raising has been removed. Visitors to the museum can now completely see the entirety of the sub for the first time since 1864. Also new to the Hunley is the chemical bath the archeologists have exchanged for salt water as they hope to preserve the iron by slowly drawing the salt out.

Though the Hunley will never again be seen in battle, an organization named “Friends of the Hunley” plans to open Hunley Museum in a few years once preservation is complete so visitors and residents alike can view the historic sub responsible for the first enemy war ship sinking.

If you’d like to explore Charleston further, Charleston Harbor Tours is doing free tours for Tri-County residents this Sunday, January 29, 2012, onboard the Carolina Belle at 11:30, 1:30, and 3:30. Just show up 30 minutes before the tour at the Charleston Maritime Center to be instructed on where to go.

– Amanda Graham


A Place to Call Home Tour… Charleston’s Open House Weekend

This weekend the Post and Courier is sponsoring an Open House Tour featuring over 140 homes in the Lowcountry that range in price from $89,900 to $3.2 million. Every area of the Charleston Coast is represented with homes on the peninsula, the beaches, as far out as Moncks Corner and Hollywood and everywhere in between.  The Post and Courier is even offering the opportunity to win $2500 toward a down payment simply by registering for a drawing at any home on the tour.

Several Dunes Properties agents are participating in the Tour this weekend.  Kristin and Randy Walker are offering 61 Ashley Ave. (circa 1803), a beautiful 3 bedroom, 3.5 bath downtown home on one of the peninsula’s largest lots.  This property even features a separate 2 bedroom, 1 bath Carriage house added in 1853.  Significant updates have been made to this property, but many of the original, historic features remain.  It is truly one of the finest homes currently for sale in Charleston, so stop in to check it out.

Jack Hurley’s home on tour is at 4124 Egret’s Pointe in Mt. Pleasant’s Charleston National golf community. This 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath is built in the classic Charleston Single style in a secluded, but convenient neighborhood.  Jack is offering an extra incentive for folks to come out and tour this home.  If the winner of the Post and Courier’s giveaway is from his property, he’ll not only match the $2500 prize but he’ll throw in new carpeting and deduct one point from the purchase price. Way to go, Jack!

To view homes before driving out and touring, visit the newspaper’s Web site, There are videos of all the homes on the tour, and you can search by area, new, resale, condo/townhouse or luxury properties of $500,000 or higher. This is great way to see what’s out there, whether you are currently looking to buy or just thinking about it.  With the new tax credit, the lowest mortgage rates in decades, conservative prices, and bountiful selection, there really is no better time to buy.

So stop by the website to browse the options and get out there today 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. Don’t forget to drop in an entry form for the $2,500 down payment drawing. Official rules and regulations apply and will be posted at all houses. Register at any of the homes this weekend, but if you want a little something extra, register at Jack’s!

For more information on the A Place to Call Home Tour Open House Weekend check out this ARTICLE from today’s Post and Courier.

Weekly Real Estate Walking Tours

The Real Estate Studio at 214 King Street is now offering weekly Real Estate Walking Tours on Saturdays.  There are many great Downtown listings within walking distance of one another in a variety of neighborhoods, sizes, and price ranges.  Here, at Dunes Properties, we thought it would be not only informative, but also fun to group 4-5 closely-related listings (by location, price, and type) together in a short walking tour every weekend.

Over the past year and a half, we’ve learned a lot from our visitors here at the Studio.  We’ve learned that people want to live downtown but have a lot of questions about the neighborhoods and don’t have a clear idea of what they can get for a certain price-point.  We have also learned that many people don’t feel exactly comfortable getting in the car immediately for a whole day of driving and parking and one-on-one conversation with a real estate agent.  That’s why we’ve designed these tours to take the pressure off by offering a relaxed, small group environment with a fun and physical twist.   We’re considering it a nice walk, with an interesting group of folks, with the added bonus of some valuable real estate information.  So, get out there and get some fresh air!  How better to get the feel of a neighborhood than by strolling through it?  You’ll not only tour the listed properties, but you’ll get a feel for the restaurants, shops, and spots of historical interest in each neighborhood.

Some tours will start at The Real Estate Studio and some will originate at another point, more centrally located for the specific neighborhood.  Tours will vary each Saturday to cover a variety of Charleston’s most charming communities and offer the BEST listings in each, sometimes homes, sometimes condos.  Just call The Real Estate Studio at 843.722.5618 to find out about the tour schedule or to request a specific area for a future jaunt!