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All about Charleston
Charleston is the largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County, and the principal city in the Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina’s coastline on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley, Cooper, and Wando rivers. Charleston had a population of 150,277 as of the 2020 U.S. Census. The 2020 population of the Charleston metropolitan area, comprising Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, was 799,636 residents, the third-largest in the state and the 74th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.
Charleston was founded in 1670 as Charles Town, honoring King Charles II, at Albemarle Point on the west bank of the Ashley River (now Charles Towne Landing) but relocated in 1680 to its present site, which became the fifth-largest city in North America within ten years. It remained unincorporated throughout the colonial period; its government was handled directly by a colonial legislature and a governor sent by Parliament. Election districts were organized according to Anglican parishes, and some social services were managed by Anglican wardens and vestries. Charleston adopted its present spelling with its incorporation as a city in 1783. Population growth in the interior of South Carolina influenced the removal of the state government to Columbia in 1788, but Charleston remained among the ten largest cities in the United States through the 1840 census.
The city proper consists of six distinct districts.
- Downtown, or sometimes referred to as “The Peninsula”, is Charleston’s center city separated by the Ashley River to the west and the Cooper River to the east.
- West Ashley, residential area to the west of Downtown bordered by the Ashley River to the east and the Stono River to the west.
- Johns Island, far western limits of Charleston home to the Angel Oak, bordered by the Stono River to the east, Kiawah River to the south and Wadmalaw Island to the west.
- James Island, popular residential area between Downtown and the town of Folly Beach where the McLeod Plantation is located. A portion of James Island incorporated into its own town in 2012 on its fourth attempt.
- Cainhoy Peninsula, far eastern limits of Charleston bordered by the Wando River to the west and Nowell Creek to the east.
- Daniel Island, residential area to the north of downtown, east of the Cooper River and west of the Wando River.
Climate in Charleston
Charleston has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), with mild winters, hot humid summers, and significant rainfall all year long. Summer is the wettest season; almost half of the annual rainfall occurs from June to September in the form of thundershowers. Fall remains relatively warm through the middle of November. Winter is short and mild, and is characterized by occasional rain. Measurable snow (≥0.1 in or 0.25 cm) occurs only several times per decade at the most, however freezing rain is more common; a snowfall/freezing rain event on January 3, 2018, was the first such event in Charleston since December 26, 2010. However, 6.0 in (15 cm) fell at the airport on December 23, 1989 during the December 1989 United States cold wave, the largest single-day fall on record, contributing to a single-storm and seasonal record of 8.0 in (20 cm) snowfall.
The highest temperature recorded within city limits was 104 °F (40 °C) on June 2, 1985, and June 24, 1944; the lowest was 7 °F (−14 °C) on February 14, 1899. At the airport, where official records are kept, the historical range is 105 °F (41 °C) on August 1, 1999, down to 6 °F (−14 °C) on January 21, 1985. Hurricanes are a major threat to the area during the summer and early fall, with several severe hurricanes hitting the area—most notably Hurricane Hugo on September 21, 1989 (a category 4 storm). The dewpoint from June to August ranges from 67.8 to 71.4 °F (19.9 to 21.9 °C).
Culture in Charleston
Charleston’s culture blends traditional Southern U.S., English, French, and West African elements. The downtown peninsula has a number of art, music, local cuisine, and fashion venues. Spoleto Festival USA, held annually in late spring, was founded in 1977 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who sought to establish a counterpart to the Festival dei Due Mondi (the Festival of Two Worlds) in Spoleto, Italy.
Charleston’s oldest community theater group, the Footlight Players, has provided theatrical productions since 1931. A variety of performing arts venues includes the historic Dock Street Theatre. The annual Charleston Fashion Week held each spring in Marion Square brings in designers, journalists, and clients from across the nation. Charleston is known for its local seafood, which plays a key role in the city’s renowned cuisine, comprising staple dishes such as gumbo, she-crab soup, fried oysters, Lowcountry boil, deviled crab cakes, red rice, and shrimp and grits. Rice is the staple in many dishes, reflecting the rice culture of the Low Country. The cuisine in Charleston is also strongly influenced by British and French elements.
Charleston is a popular tourist destination and a notable art destination, named a top-25 arts destination by AmericanStyle magazine. It has been named “America’s Most Friendly [City]” by Travel + Leisure in 2011, 2013, and 2014 by Condé Nast Traveler, and also “the most polite and hospitable city in America” by Southern Living magazine. In 2016, Charleston was ranked the “World’s Best City” by Travel + Leisure.
Commercial shipping is important to the economy. The city has two shipping terminals, of a total of five terminals owned and operated by the South Carolina Ports Authority in the Charleston metropolitan area, which are part of the fourth-largest container seaport on the East Coast and the seventh-largest container seaport in the United States. The port is also used to transfer cars and car parts for Charleston’s auto manufacturing business, such as Mercedes and Volvo.
Charleston is becoming a popular location for information technology jobs and corporations, and this sector has had the highest rate of growth between 2011 and 2012, due in large part to the Charleston Digital Corridor. In 2013, the Milken Institute ranked the Charleston region as the ninth-best performing economy in the US because of its growing IT sector. Notable companies include Blackbaud, Greystar Real Estate Partners, Evening Post Industries, Le Creuset, SPARC a Booz Allen Hamilton subsidiary, BoomTown, CSS, and Benefitfocus.
In June 2017, the mean sales price for a home in Charleston was $351,186 and the median price was $260,000.
Division Regional Manager // NMLS #270262
Hi, My name is Kim. I am a Division Regional Manager with the Mortgage Banking Firm, LeaderOne Financial Corporation. We specialize in residential home loans for real estate purchase and refinances, including VA loans. Our vision is honest and integrity, our customer service is phenomenal, I go above and beyond to help you with your financing needs. I carry licenses in OH, FL, IL, MA, CT, VT, SC, NC, GA, AL, WI, MI, PA and AZ.