10. Explosion of Powder Magazine, May 1780: A powder magazine that sat between Archdale and Mazyck (now Logan) Streets accidently exploded. More 200 people were killed, sixty that were burned beyond recognition. An eyewitness reported human limbs handing from trees and torsos writhing on the street. Also, a brothel was destroyed, certainly a disaster!
9. Jan. 15, 1778 Fire: Fire started in a kitchen house at the corner of Union (State) and Queen Streets (currently Smith-Killian Gallery). It burned down Queen Street toward Meeting Street. It spread down Union Street east toward Broad, and burned Elliott Street, Bedon's Alley and all of Tradd Street east of Church Street. Losses: $3 million, and 250 homes.
8. City Drainage System. It has been raining in Charleston since 1670. And by the way, in 2006, when it rains, it STILL floods the streets. Thank you Charleston City Council, where the motto is: "If it's broken, let's TALK about fixin' it. If it ain't broke, let's see how we can raise taxes and attempt to make it better."
7. Charleston County School Board: South Carolina ranks 46th in public education, because the school board is a political playground, not an educational system. CCSB is the worse. Just look at the candidates running for office on Tuesday. And look who is in charge: the supertintendent of Charleston County sets a great example: She is consistently late for meetings, had an affair with a married man when she arrived, became pregnant with his child, has made several questionable financial descisions with taxpayer's money and is STILL serving in her position. Welcome to Charleston! See above motto for Charleston City Council.
6. South Carolina Aquarium: Paid for by taxpayer's money, the overpriced ($70 million) vanity project opened to the public in 2000 and is still operating at a loss. $2.4 million in 2005. And by the way . . . the streets are still flooding every time it rains. (See # 8.)
5. April 1838 fire: Started in a fruit vendor store at the corner of King Street and Beresford Alley (now Fulton Street). It burned eastward and destroyed most Ansonborough, 1200 bulidings and more than $5 million in damage. Most of the fire crews were black slaves who, according to white officials, had little "interest in saving the property of white citizens.” Hmmm, imagine that.
4. Dec. 11, 1861 fire: Destroyed 540 acres and over 500 private homes. Property losses totalled $8 million. Because the fire happened eight months into the War Between the States, one third of the city remained a burned out district for over a decade.
3. 1886 Quake: Occuring 21 years after the conclusion of the War Between the States, the timing of this disaster was devastating. And, it was preceded by major hurricane in 1885. Charleston was already shabby and shaking off the dust of a 20 year depression. $6-8 million in damage.
2. Hurricane Hugo: Class 4 storm. Around midnight of Sept. 21, 1989, a 14 foot storm surge of water swept past Ft. Sumter into the Charleston harbor. 80% of the homes on Folly Beach, Sullivan's Island and the Isle of Palms. 50,000 Charlestonians were homeless after the storm. There was a total of more than $3 billion damage in Charleston alone.
1. Ft. Sumter, April 12, 1861: The men of Charleston were the aggressors. They pushed the issue of seccession , and fired the first shot against Federal troops. The result of their actions: Over the next four years more than 650,000 soldiers were killed. That was followed by a 20 year depressison for the Southern states. Charleston can take credit (blame) for starting the worse war in American history, and plunging half of the country into a economic and cultural abyss from which, according to some people, it has never recovered. However, most of us have gotten over it . . . . Most of us.