The History of Charleston's Cobblestone Streets
Charleston South Carolina is an amazing place with a fascinating history. The city is beautifully preserved and one of the features that stand out for many is the cobblestone streets. With a growing demand for authentic cobblestone in South Carolina by architects, designers, homeowners and contractors for their driveway or walkway paving material, it seemed only fair that we explore whether or not cobblestone is readily found in the area or better yet, the history of Charleston cobblestone streets.
The word cobblestone is derived from the blending of cob and stone. The stones were originally referred to as rounded river rocks and were used to pave the streets a very long time ago. The rounded cobbles were however not good for feet or wheels. This prompted the evolution from using rounded river rock to pave the streets to using hand trimmed flatter shaped squares and rectangles. These were used as early as the Roman times and still remain popular today. The word cobblestone has also remained popular to date and is used to describe rectangular and square shaped stones that are used to pave streets and driveways.
The irregularly shaped stones found on some of Charleston’s streets aren’t what one would describe as true cobblestone. Some people believe that these old stones were used as ballast on ships arriving from England and were discarded upon arrival to make space for cargo for the return voyage to England. These stones were later repurposed on the roads for smoother rides. These stones can however be referred to as cobblestone as they were hand pitched to rectangle shapes in the first place. There are plenty of streets in the United States that are paved with these ballast stones though.
Charleston is known for more than just its cobblestone streets. While these stones do add character to the history of the city, there’s so much more that it has to offer. It’s also known for its great food, historical churches and attractions, as well as iron works. Charleston is also famous for its horse drawn carriages throughout the year, the historic district, Patriot’s Point, Fort Sumter, beaches and more. The city has been given thumbs severally by numerous news and media outlets including Fox News. It’s also received numerous awards for being a top holiday destination. Charleston is definitely an amazing to explore at any time of the year. It’s even more exhilarating if you explore the city walking on its authentic cobblestone streets. See some of the famous Chalerston cobblestone streets and get even more background on the history with one of our Charleston Tours.