Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Historic Preservation

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Jon Marcoux

Committee Member

Dr. Barry Stiefel

Committee Member

Dr. James Ward

Committee Member

Ralph Muldrow


This study investigates the location and density of industrial sites in Charleston, South Carolina across the years 1884, 1902, 1944, and 1955. The purpose of this study is to draw attention to the industrial past of Charleston in order to better understand the city’s historic spatial organization and identify sites for future preservation. To do this, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps were used to find, map, and categorize industrial sites in downtown Charleston, south of Line Street. These maps were then analyzed for locational patterns and patterns of various attributes such as industry type, size, and building material. This research found that over time there was a decrease in industrial sites. There was the greatest density of industrial sites in the Market area, the east-central portion of the peninsula, and along the Cooper River wharves. By the end of the study period, however, sites are found all over Downtown. The majority of sites found were warehousing and storage sites, with transportation sites the second-highest number. Since Charleston has always been a port city, this is not unexpected. There was a decrease in the number of industrial sites across the time periods, although the sites tended to increase in average area over time. Most buildings were primarily brick or frame construction. This study is important because a lack of attention to industrial sites leads to a incomplete understanding of Charleston’s urban history. Charleston’s industrial past influences the city’s present-day architectural character, population demographics, and spatial development. By uncovering and preserving the industrial heritage of Charleston, the city can preserve its architectural diversity and expand its historic understanding of the city. Doing so is key to providing the city with a more diverse and sustainable future.



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