|The Carolopolis Awards are given to outstanding historic preservation projects each year.
188 Meeting Street
Charleston City Market
|Owner: City of Charleston
Managing Group: City Market Preservation Trust
Managing Partner: Laurence Thompson
Architect: Glenn Keyes Architects
Contractor: Hightower Construction
The Charleston City Market is located on filled marshland donated to the city for public use by the Pinckney family in 1788. The first sheds, made of wood circa 1810, were replaced by Shed A constructed in 1824 with brick piers and a hipped tile roof that remains today. By 1834, Sheds B and C had been constructed, destroyed by a fire, and rebuilt on the original footprints with brick piers and truss construction. By the 1890s the Market area began to decline as refrigeration and corner markets increased in popularity.
In 1921 the city’s efforts to revive the market failed and in 1938 a section of Shed C was destroyed by a tornado and rebuilt using Works Progress Administration funds. In 1972 the Charleston City Market underwent a major restoration, inspiring further historic revitalization projects in the city's downtown business district. The Market Hall and the sheds were placed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark. The market became known as the most-visited site in Charleston, drawing millions of visitors year after year. But the once restored market once again suffered from deterioration over time, and in recent years the sheds suffered from inappropriate alterations and deferred maintenance.
An extensive program was established to revitalize this landmark. Phase I of the rehabilitation project sought to address these issues and focused on the three open sheds between Church and East bay Streets. Work included repointing the masonry and reconstructing external counters based on historic photographs. The interior of the market was completely rehabilitated, and two shops in Shed A were re-sheathed based on historic post cards. Phase II involved the total rehabilitation of the shed from Church Street to Market Hall. This work included removal of the 1970s infill and introduction of warehouse style exterior infill doors. Phase II also included the creation of a Great Hall that reflects the historic character of the market. An interior conditioned space with period detailing was also added. Period ridge skylights add light to the interior of the revived market. The tile roof protecting Shed A since 1824 has been repaired, with missing portions replaced in-kind. Shed C is now covered with a new standing seam roof.
Today we can enjoy the energy and the activity of the Charleston City Market, confident in the preservation of this iconic stretch of our downtown.