Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site
1500 Old Towne RD | Charleston, SC 29407 | Phone: 843-852-4200 | Fax: 843-852-4205 | charlestowne@scprt.com

History & Interpretation

HISTORY AND INTERPRETATION

  • Programs and Guided Tours : The park has interpretive programming year round that includes the Animal Forest, the Adventure, cannon firings and other aspects of the park. Please view our programs and events listings by clicking on the left-hand programs and events tab.

  • Museum : The exhibit hall located within the Visitor Center is a 12-room interactive experience for visitors to discover the first 10 years of the Charles Towne colony.

  • Zoo : The Animal Forest at Charles Towne Landing, a 22-acre natural habitat zoo, is home to a variety of species that inhabited Carolina at the time when this site was a newly settled English colony. Through informational signs along the paved trail, you are reminded of challenges faced by those pioneers, of daily life in a wild world, of predators and prey.

  • Archaeology : Visitors may view digs that are done seasonally in the spring and fall. Witness these excavations as we uncover pieces of the past.

  • Burial Sites and Cemeteries : There is an African-American cemetery and a Native American Ceremonial Center located on the park.

  • Historic Home : Yes
  • Historic Garden : Completely unfamiliar with the area, settlers of the original Charles Towne colony in 1670 planted an experimental crop garden to produce food for the colony and crops that could be sold for cash. Archaeological investigations at the site today reveal evidence of sugar cane, while historic documents provide evidence of other crops that the settlers tried to grow in their new Carolina home.

    The garden features cash crops like sugar cane, cotton and indigo. Other crops include flax (for making linen), onions, turnips, carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkins, sunflowers, corn, potatoes and beans, as well as herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, lavender, mint and wormwood. Ornamental plants include marigolds, roses and a merlot grape vine. A special feature of the crop garden is the replica thatched garden shed and hand-made wooden fence.

    The garden is open for viewing throughout the year during normal park operating hours.

  • Native American History : Native Americans, English, Africans and Barbadians came together at this site to create the first successful English colony in Carolina in 1670.

    A Native American Ceremonial Center is located on the park.

  • African American History : Early records from the first English colony in South Carolina tell us that Africans were among the first settlers at Charles Towne. The majority of them arrived with colonists from the English West Indian island of Barbados, where, decades before, planters had turned to the system of race-based slavery to power the immensely profitable sugar industry. The increasing presence of Africans as slave laborers at early Charles Towne strengthened the economic viability of the colony, contributed materially to its defense against attackers, broadened the culture of the settlement, and eventually led to an entrenched system of slave labor that would remain in existence until the end of the Civil War. The arrival of enslaved Africans in 1670 began an unbroken transmission of African and Creole cultural contributions to South Carolina.

  • Historical Significance : Charles Towne Landing is the site of the first permanent European settlement in South Carolina. The site dates back to 1670.

  • National Register of Historic Places : Yes
  • Designation : Listed on the National Register
  • When & How PRT Acquired : Received in 1971 from the Tricentennial Commission