We all like to hear about one of the most historic cities in America and, for a privileged few, we get the chance to live here too. Daily we pass the home of 'this founder' or 'that prominent citizen,' becoming familiar with sights and sounds that in part would have been recognized in their earlier days also.
So what if we were able to play with the timeline between their world and ours? What if we could overlay early Charleston, SC on a modern city map and step though time? Or, see how the old city walls were routed, see how the homes grew and expanded from within the walls of the original fortress to areas outside. What if we could clearly see how over time, the walls came down to be replaced by roads and byways - or how creek became swamp, then became building land, though sadly it never was raised to the height of the original and continues to flood to this day.
Surely this is the realm of fancy and such a step is not practical. Well that is where we just may be wrong. Go on to the internet and type in “www.thecharlestonmap.com”. There you'll find an interactive map, started as a student project sponsored by a local real estate and construction firm. 18-months later, with the help of many local historic institutions, the framework is complete and now available for the public to use, view, and explore. There is much layered map data now readily available and, although still for the most part in its infancy, the first historic datasets are now loaded.
Spend some time on the "How to Use" page and discover some useful tools for navigating around the map. You control how you want the map to display. You can step through time revealing when local landmarks and buildings came into existence, overlay this on to existing historic maps rendered for a modern street grid and then fade them in and out to compare yesterday with today. It’s great fun for those with an interest in the history of this much loved city.
There is a place to leave your feedback on the map and a way for you to influence the content you'd like to see there. Comments are both encouraged and welcome!
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