Charleston City Market History
THE Place to Shop for Charleston Souvenirs
Open Daily 10AM - 4PM, 365 Days a Year
Located in Downtown Historic Charleston, Between North and South Market Streets
It all began nearly 220 years ago when a wealthy
Charleston family willed land to the town of Charleston to be used as a public market, with the
stipulation that the property revert to the family if used for any other purpose. One of Charlestons
most colorful relics has survived a tumultuous past, out lasting tornadoes, hurricanes, a major
earthquake and devastation by fires and bombardment from without and within.
Located near the waterfront in the Ansonborough area (
the first actual suburb in America, c, 1727), the property was built on low
lying marshland and a small tidal creek which were gradually filled in between
1804 and 1807 and were by then high enough to erect the market stalls.
The main building was built in 1841 and is an apparent modification of the
Grecian-Doric temple of "The Wingless Victory" at Athens. The cornice is ornamented with ram's
and bull's heads, a survival of the Greek custom of hanging in the temple skulls of animals
sacrificed to the gods, later symbolized in conventional architecture.
The rifled cannon on the upper portico of the market is said to be the
first manufactured in America. Archibald Cameron made it for the Confederate Government in
1861. Market Hall is used by the United Daughters of the Confederacy for the preservation
of articles of historic interest connected with the War Between the States.
Below Market Hall was a spacious portico which was used as a meat and fish market.
For sanitation purposes the three buildings behind Market Hall, which sold fruits and vegetables
with other produce brought direct from island plantations were set apart.
Today when visiting Charleston, the City Market is a must to see. There are a
total of four buildings spanning from Meeting Street to East Bay Street. An assortment of wares
is sold by hundreds of vendors. Contrary to popular belief and hard to overcome, is the reputation
of the City Market being a flea market. It is not! Most merchandise is first quality, some indicative
to the area and some not. Sweet grass basket weavers can be seen in every building, along with, local
artists, jewelry, tapestry, souvenirs, church dolls,afghans, rugs, rice, beans and sauces, local candies
and cookies and much more. The horse and carriages gallop by with people from all over the world,
restaurants line both North and South Market street. The atmosphere is festive and the southern
If you would like to become a vendor at the city market you may contact the General Manager, Barry Newton,
or Assistant General Manager is Lee Gilliard, with the City Market Preservation Trust, LLC. Their office is located at 188 Meeting Street, Suite 107.
The telephone number is (843) 830-5473 and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.