8Great: Charleston “Firsts”

8Great: Charleston “Firsts”

Charleston is one of the oldest towns in America and South Carolina’s pride and joy. This strategic trading city on the Atlantic coast was a hub of innovation, a place steeped in US history, as well as the town of “firsts” for one of America’s original 13 states.

Here is a list of our top picks of Charleston’s firsts:

  1. The first shots of the Civil War fired at a Federal ship entering Charleston Harbor, kicked off a battle between the north and south on April 12, 1861.
  2. A first for the entire world, when in 1864, a successful submarine attack in Charleston harbor sank the Union warship, Housatonic.
  3. 1851, John Gorrie made the first commercial artificial ice, today we know it as ice cream.
  4. Henrietta Johnson was the first acknowledged woman artist in the early 1700’s.
  5. The first prescription drug store opened in Charleston in 1780.
  6. The “Friendly Society for Mutual Insurance of Houses Against Fire” was the first fire insurance company in America. Launched in Charleston in 1736, it bankrupted by 1740’s great fire, which destroyed over 300 of the town’s buildings.
  7. In 1851, John Gorrie made the first commercial artificial ice, today we know it as ice cream.
  8. The city of Charleston built the first gold course in the US, called Harleston Green.
  9. Joel R. Poinsett was a local who first introduced the poinsettia plant to the US in 1820, now a popular part of Christmas décor around the world.
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