When Joe Riley was elected mayor in Charleston in 1975, one of his big projects was the revitalization of Upper King Street. He began this process in the 1980s by allotting $50,000 to the rebuilding of the historic Bluestein's building at the corner of Mary Street and King Street, which had been gutted by fire in 1983. Riley's efforts, however, were severely restricted by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, whose direct hit on Charleston devastated the area. By 1990, forty percent of Upper King Street's buildings were vacant; the buildings that were occupied were done so largely by low income residents rather than businesses.
Today, the Upper King Street area is thriving. New establishments have found unique ways to renovate and revitalize buildings using original materials and recreating the architectural style from the 18th and 19th centuries. The majority of businesses are comprised of upscale food and beverage restaurants, home design emporiums, and art galleries.
“There is no city on Earth quite like Charleston. From the time I first came there in 1961, it’s held me in its enchanter’s power, the wordless articulation of its singularity, its withheld and magical beauty. Wandering through its streets can be dreamlike and otherworldly..."
Historic Charleston Neighborhoods
Located just South of the Crosstown expressway and North of Bee Street, you'll find historic Cannonborough & Elliotborough. A mixture of Charleston singles, multi-family homes, condominiums and historic buildings are nestled in this centrally located neighborhood.
South of Broad's quiet streets and historically significant homes are a staple of the Charleston peninsula. Many of the homes date back to the 1700's and 1800's and have been meticulously restored. The community of homeowners is continually focused on preservation.
The French Quarter is located on the Eastern side of the Charleston peninsula and is home to several historic buildings including St. Phillips Episcopal Church. It's best known for its Cobblestone streets, historic alleyways and Southern style architecture.
Located between King Street and the MUSC campus lies Radcliffeborough. Known for its close proximity to the College of Charleston campus, Radcliffeborough is also close to trendy shopping destinations, award winning restaurants and popular nightlife venues.