Broad Street was intended to be the site of handsome public buildings, mercantile operations, and prestigious residences, and it has fulfilled that destiny. The street has been used for parades, public gatherings, and state funerals. It has been the scene of riots, duels, and various crimes. A custom house, banks, bars, lawyers, real estate companies, art shops, restaurants, churches, hotels, and other businesses have thrived there. Broad Street has served as the heartbeat of historic Charleston since the city’s start on the peninsula in the 1670s.
In 2012, the American Planning Association selected Broad Street as one of the 10 Great Streets in America because of its rich colonial history, stunning 18th [and 19th] century architecture, and pedestrian orientation. The factual stories in this book support its conclusions.
The original plan for the city is known as The Grand Modell of Charles Town. It laid out the streets of the peninsula with Broad Street as the major east-west connector. More than thirty original settlers received grants for town lots along the avenue. They were a motley crowd, as might be expected. The focal point of the Grand Modell was an intersection, now Broad and Meeting streets, where a public square was drawn. The Charles Town plan was unique in that this was not to be an open square in the traditional sense. Important public structures were built on each point of the square, and today it is called the Four Corners of Law.
Margaret (Peg) Middleton Rivers Eastman
A Charlestonian by birth, Peg is actively involved in the preservation of Charleston’s rich cultural heritage. She is a columnist for the Charleston Mercury and has published through McGraw Hill and The History Press. She has also published in Carologue, a publication of the South Carolina Historical Society. For many years, she was a professional guide at Winterthur Museum in Delaware and was a partner in an international consulting business that specialized in safety documentation in highly hazardous industries. In Charleston, she has lectured on various topics related to the Holy City’s architectural history. She attends the Huguenot Church and is a member of several local organizations and national hereditary societies. She has two fine sons, three grandsons, and three granddaughters of whom she is inordinately proud.
Robert P. Stockton
Born in Biloxi, Bob Stockton adopted Charleston as his home. He is the author of The Great Shock and The History of the Carolina Yacht Club, and contributed articles to scholarly journals. He wrote The News and Courier column “Do you Know Your Charleston” for many years. The column received the South Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects Press Award in 1976. He twice edited the Notes for Guides of Historic Charleston. He served on the city’s Board of Architectural Review. He is a consultant in historical and architectural research, and an adjunct history professor at the College of Charleston. He has an accomplished son, John DeVeaux Stockton, a grandson, and a step-granddaughter.
“If great men and women can have biographies, why not a great street? This fascinating account of almost 400 years of life, growth, and turmoil on Broad Street is no dry history: it is told in 60 short takes that are a joy to read.”
— Armand Derfner, Constitutional scholar, civil rights attorney,
co-author of Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court (2021)
“If you thought you knew it all, and want instead to be astonished with ‘new’ facts, details and overlooked stories, this book is for you.”
— Harlan Greene, historian, novelist, aesthete, Director of
Special Collections, Addlestone Library, College of Charleston
“Eastman and Stockton center Broad Street at the heart of their book, skillfully using it to underpin the incredible stories of this historic city and its people.”
— Katherine Saunders Pemberton, Director, the Powder Magazine Museum,
Executive Director of Programing, National Society of
Colonial Dames of America, South Carolina
“The authors demonstrate how the choices made by the power
brokers of this one street profoundly shaped Charleston’s history
and contemporary life.”
— Bernard Powers Jr., Ph.D., Director, College of Charleston,
Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston.
“Eastman and Stockton masterfully tell Broad Street’s many and multi-dimensional stories through the people and places who have shaped it for hundreds of years.”
— Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Former Mayor of Charleston, Endowed Chair of
American Government and Public Policy Professor, The Citadel