Founded in the early days of April 1670, the first settlement was on the west bank of the Ashley River in an area called Albemarle Point, today a state park known as Charles Towne Landing. Named after King Charles II, the spelling appeared as Charles Town, or Charles Towne, and even Charlestown throughout the colonial period.  The spelling Charleston, prevalent today, first appeared after the Revolution.   In 1680 the city moved to its present location on Oyster Point.  Spurred by rice and indigo, the area prospered, becoming the 4th largest city in the colonies and the wealthiest city in colonial America by the Revolution.  It remained among the ten largest cities in the United States through the 1840 census, but the Civil War and its aftermath devastated the area.

Through it all, Charleston remains connected to its history. Evidence abounds as one walks the streets, strolls the Battery, meanders down a hidden alley.  Listen closely as you travel the city, for the echos of the past can be heard, helping you to understand the present, and allowing you to take a more solid and directed step toward the future.