Preserving Charleston’s Charm: Our Collective Responsibility

Historic building in Charleston, SC

The Enchantment of Charleston

May is National Preservation Month, and as we released The Architecture Collection last fall, we wanted to share the Preservation Society of Charleston's (PSC) exciting lineup of educational and community events designed to highlight and celebrate all things preservation in Charleston.

Historic Charleston building
Julie Livingston Photography

But first, why is historical preservation important to us in 2024?

As you stroll down the cobblestone streets of Charleston, SC, it's easy to become captivated by the Lowcountry charm that permeates every corner of this historic city. The hundreds-year-old architecture, grandiose mansions, and centuries-old churches serve as living testimonies to Charleston's rich past. It's not just the physical structures but the stories they silently tell—the whispers of bygone eras that continue to resonate through the bustling modern-day Charleston.

Historic house in Charleston, SC
Julie Livingston Photography
Gate to a historic home in Charleston, SC

Threats to Charleston's Legacy

Regrettably, the charm and historical significance of Charleston face existential threats. Modernization pressures, climate change, and economic development often come at the expense of our cherished landmarks. When historical structures deteriorate or are replaced, we don't merely lose bricks and mortar; we lose fragments of our identity, a tangible connection to our collective past. This loss is irreversible and diminishes the unique essence that makes Charleston a cultural treasure trove.

Historic single house in Charleston, SC
Julie Livingston Photography

Community Involvement

However, this challenge also presents a profound opportunity for community involvement. Preservation is not solely the responsibility of government bodies or historical societies; it belongs to each one of us, the residents and admirers of Charleston. Imagine the impact if every individual committed to preserving a piece of our history. Simple acts like attending local planning meetings, donating to preservation funds, or volunteering in restoration projects can collectively create a monumental difference.

Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC
Photo by Kristen Schwiers

Local Triumphs

Charleston's history is replete with inspiring examples of successful preservation efforts. Take, for instance, the restoration of the Dock Street Theatre, America's first theater, which now stands as a vibrant cultural hub. Or consider the work of organizations like the Preservation Society of Charleston, which has tirelessly championed the cause, saving numerous historical sites from oblivion. These success stories serve as powerful testimonials to what community-driven preservation can achieve.

Addressing the Criticisms

Critics often argue that historical preservation imposes economic burdens or stifles progress. However, studies have shown that preserving historical sites can actually boost local economies by attracting tourism and fostering a sense of place that draws new residents and businesses. Moreover, modern architecture and historical preservation are not mutually exclusive; they can coexist harmoniously, enriching the cityscape with layers of historical and contemporary narratives.

Historic home in Charleston, SC
Julie Livingston Photography

Cherishing Charleston's Unique Legacy

Preserving Charleston's historical heritage is not merely about safeguarding buildings; it's about honoring our shared past and ensuring that future generations can experience the same sense of wonder and connection to history. Let's champion this cause, not as detached observers but as active participants, weaving our efforts into the broader tapestry of Charleston's enduring legacy. Together, we can maintain the unique charm that has made Charleston a beloved jewel of the South for centuries. 

"Preservation Month is a reminder of the significance of preserving our heritage and the integral role it plays in our communities. We are thrilled to present a diverse array of events this year: From a genealogy workshop to a lecture featuring Bob Vila from This Old House, and the unveiling of a historic marker in Wagener Terrace, our calendar is brimming with opportunities for everyone to learn more about preservation and our city. We firmly believe that by embracing creativity in our approach to sharing preservation initiatives, we can make a meaningful impact. That's why our collaboration with Charleston Candle Co. on The Architecture Collection is particularly exciting. Together, we're not only celebrating Charleston's architectural legacy but also offering a different avenue for individuals to connect with and learn about our city's rich heritage."

 Madison Lee, PSC Community Outreach Coordinator 

Charleston's story is still being written. Let’s ensure it remains one worth telling.

Charleston Candle Co. storefront in Charleston, SC
Julie Livingston Photography

How can we help?

Get involved. Embrace your role in preserving our beautiful Charleston by participating in local initiatives, supporting preservation efforts, or simply spreading the word. Every effort counts, and together, we can keep Charleston's charm alive for generations to come.

Check out the lineup of remaining events below or visit the PSC website to learn more and reserve your spot now! 

National Preservation Month Events

Preservation month banner

Tuesday, May 21 – Mingle with PSC Members and Staff during the Preservation Month Happy Hour at Blind Tiger

Wednesday, May 22 – Trace your roots at the Genealogy Workshop with IAAM’s Center for Family History

Wednesday, May 29 – Get an exclusive peek behind the scenes at 110 Beaufain Street’s Hard Hat Tour

The Architecture Collection by Charleston Candle Co. at Lowndes Grove
Julie Livingston Photography
Architecture Collection candle at Lowndes Grove in Charleston, SC

About The Architecture Collection

Our Architecture Collection is more than just candles. It's a celebration of the spirit of preservation that is so characteristic of our beloved city of Charleston. Our hope is that these candles not only illuminate your spaces but also ignite a passion for preserving our past and shaping our future.

As you light each candle, you will be enveloped by the distinct charm and allure of each architectural style, evoking a sense of nostalgia and a deep appreciation for the beauty of the built environment surrounding us.

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