Feb 29, 2012

Fun Facts About Charleston

To celebrate the release of What Happens in Charleston..., I thought I'd share some fun facts about the city of Charleston. Since I've never been there, I did a heap of research before writing this book and now I'm desperate to visit!

Did you know:

* Charleston was originally named Charles Towne (in 1670) after King Charles II of England.

* It has been called the "best-mannered city in the US".

* Lots of movies have been filmed there including, The Notebook, Dear John and Cold Mountain.

* It's home town to Stephen Colbert (from The Colbert Report, which we used to get in Australia).

* In October 2011, Charleston was voted Top US City by a travel magazine.

* The dance we associate with 1920's flappers, The Charleston, originated in the city Charleston.

* It was a focal point in the American Revolution, and was attacked twice by the British.

* Charleston is the second biggest city in South Carolina.

* South Carolina has a state butterfly: the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

* South Carolina's state dance is the "shag". 

* The first opera performed in the Americas was in Charleston in 1735.

* Charleston was the first city in America to have a public library, a museum, a chamber of commerce, and a theater.
And my favourite random fact:

*South Carolina is a sister state to my own home - Queensland, Australia. Very cool.

Tell me, do you know any fun facts about a city? Perhaps your own home town or somewhere you've visited?

Charleston photos from Wikipedia; attributions: AudeVivere and Khanrak.


  1. Hi Rachel,

    Who knew one place could be so fascinating? Had to laugh at the combination of the best mannered city in the US and the local dance 'the shag' (given the latter's Aussie connotations). Heee!

    I'm sure I know fun facts about a city but right now my brain's on holiday. Might have to come back later on that one!

  2. We're sister states! Very cool indeed =)
    Here's one about Washington DC...

    The White House was originally called the “President’s Palace” or the “President’s House.” A Baltimore reporter once called it the “white house” in a newspaper article and the name caught on. Theodore Roosevelt made this the official name in 1901.
    (Source: http://washington.org)

    Amazing how names stick!

  3. Annie, I didn't even make that connection, but you're right, it's a great combination of facts. :)

  4. Robbie, that's a very cool fact! Speaking of the White House, I think I'm about to watch West Wing again from season 1. Such a good show!

  5. Oooo, I have a tiny connection with Charleston, Rachel - a friend showed me how to do one of the steps in the Charleston dance... A loooong time ago. I wonder if I can still do it without breaking an ankle!

    Mmmm, don't know about the "shag"... LOL

    I'm like Annie and a bit stumped for a fun fact about somewhere... but I'll ponder...

  6. Sharon, very cool that you know one of the steps from the Charleston! That's one more than me. :)

    Yes, I wonder how one dances the shag...

  7. I remember doing the Charleston when I was in a dance team that led the Farmer's christmas parade down Queen street in Auckland eons ago. That's about the limit of my knowledge about your sister city.

  8. Sue, how fabulous! Don't suppose you have any photos for enquiring minds...? :)

  9. Oh, Rach, how I would love to do the "shag" while a host of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails flitted about me.

    Loved your fun facts about Charleston. A fun fact about my home town of Newcastle -- it has produced more dancers for the Australian ballet company than any other city in the country.

  10. Michelle, that's a really interesting fact about Newcastle! There must be lots of nurturing of little ballerinas there.

    Re: The Shag, after extensive research (which consisted of chatting with Desire authors Andrea Laurence and Sarah Anderson on Twitter) I can now show you how The Shag is done:

  11. You know, the shag doesn't really look like the kind of thing to take the world by storm...but I'm sure the eastern tiger swallowtails would pretty it up. :-)

  12. I was impressed with the shag - looked beyond my abilities. Very loose limbed, which I guess is appropriate.

    So now I had to go and do some extensive research on the eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies (ie, check wikipedia). It has yellow wings and black tiger stripes and is also the state butterfly of Alabama, Delaware and Georgia, and the state insect of Virginia. It's a butterfly that gets around.

    While I'm here, the State Craft for South Carolina is: Sweetgrass basket weaving and the State Snack is: boiled peanuts.

  13. Ah,, but your forgetting that I come from the country's ballet capital, so my standards are high. ;-)

    And, no way -- you are not going to get me basket weaving, and I prefer my peanuts roasted!

    Off now to google pics of pretty butterflies.

  14. This is true, your standards are high.

    But I am quite partial to a boiled peanut - maybe it's a Qld thing...? We have lots of peanut growers up here, and we're sister states with South Carolina, so naturally we like similar snack foods.

    I have early childhood memories of my nana boiling peanuts, and us desperately waiting for them to cool down enough to eat. Good times.