Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Historic Preservation (MHP)


Historic Preservation

Committee Chair/Advisor

Jon Marcoux

Committee Member

Katherine Pemberton

Committee Member

Carter Hudgins


For the better part of three centuries, Charleston’s Cooper River waterfront functioned as an important commercial seaport complete with wharves, warehouses, offices, workshops, and other related buildings. These resources defined the area for nearly three centuries, yet today, most connections to the maritime past have been severed. Revitalization efforts and modern developments have redefined the area and filled voids created by the waterfront’s steady decline throughout the 20th century. With an aim to better understand the Cooper River waterfront’s developmental history, this thesis utilized historic Sanborn Fire Insurance maps to track the harbor’s physical and spatial changes from 1884 to 1990. Using geographic information software, the port’s architecture, functions, and landscape boundaries were recorded and tracked through time. The resulting maps, statistical graphs, and analysis correspond with national trends of waterfront decline and urban remaking and provide information necessary to better trace transformations along Charleston’s Cooper River waterfront to advocate for its significance as a resource worthy of preservation efforts.



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