Your Neighborhood Guide to Historic Old Village of Mount Pleasant | My Charleston
The old village of Mount Pleasant is a place where people can wander quiet streets under tall live oak trees and make a day of wandering a historical place to another.
A round trip walk from restaurant lined Shem Creek through the mostly residential old village to Pickett Park and back is a manageable 4 miles. At both ends there are expansive views of the marshes and harbour.
Pickett Park at the end of Pitt Street stretches across the swamp between Mount Pleasant and Sullivan’s Island, over what was originally a causeway and bridge. A trolley once carried passengers over the bridge to the beach and along Sullivan’s Island, where the streets are still called “stations” for trolley stops from long ago.
Even earlier, what is now Pickett Park was the site of a pedestrian bridge to Sullivan’s Island that the crew of the ill-fated Civil War submarine Hunley is said to have crossed in 1864. With a 360 degree view, Pickett Park is a great place. to watch the sun rise or set over the marsh.
The Old Village area was once the entire town of Mount Pleasant, a small coastal village until population growth and development soared to make the town the fourth largest municipality in South Carolina. It’s full of history, like the house where captured Revolutionary General William Moultrie met British officers after the surrender of Charleston in 1780.
It’s also full of surprises, like the fact that the county seat of Berkeley once stood here. The city-owned Darby Building at 302 King St., built in 1884, briefly housed the Berkeley County government. In 1895 the city became part of Charleston County.
Visiting kids who need some time to run? In addition to Pickett Park, the city’s Shem Creek Park offers a network of marsh boardwalks, with public restrooms and parking. Entrance is at Shrimp Boat Lane on Coleman Boulevard, across from Pelzer Drive.
Pickett and Shem Creek parks are also good fishing spots with great views.
There is also the Alhambra Playground, at Middle and McCormick streets, which is across from the city’s Alhambra Hall. Behind the Alhambra Hall, which has plenty of free parking, are expansive views of Charleston Harbor and a field often populated by local residents and their dogs.
Also in the Old Village are public tennis courts on Ferry Street and Royall Avenue, and basketball courts on Royall Avenue between King and Morrison streets, just steps from the popular H&R Sweet Shop & Soul Food.
Mount Pleasant was formed in 1837 in what is now the old village. Named after the plantation of early settler Jacob Motte, the town was created by amalgamating several colonial-era villages and was laid out by James Hibben, who had purchased the property from Motte.
It was at Hibben House that Moultrie met the British officers. It is included in a 30-block area known as the Mount Pleasant Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
The Mount Pleasant Historical Commission offers a number of recommended tours in and around the old village, online at mountpleasanthistorical.orgincluding Old Village Tour, Black History Tour and others.
Historic sites and markers can reveal unexpected Mount Pleasant history, such as a marker commemorating Edmund Jenkins, a black Civil War veteran who served as a field marshal from the late 1800s through the 1920s. more than two dozen historical markers in the old village commemorating everything from a War of 1812 encampment to the “storm of the century” (Hurricane Hugo).
One way to do a planned historical walk would be to follow the Old Village Historical Marker Walking Tour created by the Moultrie Middle School Welfare Committee. A link to the tourist guide can be found on the city’s website at tompsc.com/238/Historical-Markers.
Visitors can visit the old-fashioned Pitt Street Pharmacy near Venning Street for an ice cream or a snack.
At the northern end of the Historic District is Haddrell’s Point. Naturally, there is a historical marker at Haddrell Street and Live Oak Drive, but nothing remains of the Revolutionary War battery visited by George Washington. Nearby, however, visitors can shop like a local and pick up shrimp fresh off the boat.
Or stop at one of Shem Creek’s many restaurants. The area is lively on weekends and parking can be a challenge. But dining on the creek offers scenic views, great people-watching, and an opportunity to see dolphins.