188 Meeting Street
City Directories and History: HALL AND MARKET SHEDS
Constructed t840-41; Edward Brickell White, architect; Andrew Cunningham and John White, contractors
Also see: Market Hall – Too
“Market Hall and the public market sheds that stretch for several blocks behind the hall are located in the heart of Charleston’s nineteenth-century commercial district. The land was conveyed to the city in 1788 by the Revolutionary War general Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and other citizens “to lay out a street from the channel of the Cooper River to Meeting Street 100 feet broad, and in said street to establish a public market or markets for the purpose of vending all sorts of butcher meats, poultry, game, fish, vegetables and provisions.”
From 1790 to 1806 markets were erected, and in 1837 the cornerstone was laid for a combination masons’ hall and market on the site of the present Market Hall. The following year a fire destroyed several blocks of the city including the newly constructed masons’ hall. The fire prompted the city to enact legislation that discouraged the erection of wooden buildings, and it also inspired the city to contemplate a more permanent market complex. The local architect Edward Brickell White was chosen as the architect for the project.
Set on the narrow lot between North and South Market Streets, facing onto busy Meeting Street, Market Hall is located on one of the most conspicuous sites in Charleston. Its temple form rise is two stories in height with a double flight of brownstone steps ascending to a pedimented
portico supported by four Roman Doric columns. The intended appearance is that of a stone structure, when, in fact, the building is constructed primarily of brick covered with a brownstone stucco. The ground level is heavily rusticated, and the upper story is scored in an ashlar pattern. The cornice, portico, and Doric capitals are red sandstone, while the triglyphs and moldings are cast cement. The bucrania and ram’s heads, signifying the presence of a meat market, are made of cast-iron.
According to local tradition, the upper meeting room served as a recruitment center as well as a ballroom for benefits of “the cause” during the War Between the States. The Palmetto Guard, a distinguished military unit of volunteers, was honored with a farewell reception here before leaving for battle, and its members returned annually to toast their fallen comrades. The last two survivors met in 1917. Since 1899 the United Daughters of the Confederacy have held their functions in the meeting room. Their Confederate Museum has occupied the upper floor for most of the twentieth century; however, the upper story was closed after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, and the entire building is awaiting extensive interior and exterior restoration.”
Information from: The Buildings of Charleston – J.H. Poston for the Historic Charleston Foundation, 1997
(The Market) The Market Hall is considered one of Charleston’s best examples of the Greek Revival style. The Market Hall is of Roman Temple form with one high story over a rusticated lower open arcade. Building materials are stucco on brick with sandstone trim. The tetrastyle Roman Doric columns of the portico help support the elaborate entablature and pediment. Bucrania and ram’s heads are located in the metopes. Cast iron rails are located on the double flight of steps that lead to the main floor of the building. Although small, the Hall is imposing as it stands above and at the head of a long arcade of market stalls. The hall was designed by Edward B. White in 1841, who practiced in Charleston from 1842-1879. Listed in the National Register June 4, 1973; Designated a National Historic Landmark November 7, 1973. (Courtesy of the SC Dept. of Archives and History)
And see additional images and information at Market Hall – Too
Explore history, houses, and stories across S.C. Your membership provides you with updates on regional topics, information on historic research, preservation, and monthly feature articles. But remember R&R wants to hear from you and assist in preserving your own family genealogy and memorabilia.
Visit the Southern Queries – Forum to receive assistance in answering questions, discuss genealogy, and enjoy exploring preservation topics with other members. Also listed are several history and genealogical researchers for hire.
User comments welcome — post at the bottom of this page.
Please enjoy this structure and all those listed in Roots and Recall. But remember each is private property. So view them from a distance or from a public area such as the sidewalk or public road.
Do you have information to share and preserve? Family, school, church, or other older photos and stories are welcome. Send them digitally through the “Share Your Story” link, so they too might be posted on Roots and Recall.
User comments always welcome - please post at the bottom of this page.