The Macabre Tourist

Seated at the head of East Bay Street in historic downtown Charleston, SC is the Old Exchange Building. On this site, during the early colonial settling of Charles Towne, was a guardhouse situated on top of the battery–a wall that fortified the early city. The original battery wall is all but gone now, except a small section of the “Half Moon Battery” that was uncovered below the Exchange. It was here, in this early guardhouse where the infamous pirates of the day were imprisoned–the most notable of which was Stede Bonnet, a comrade of Black Beard. The current building, which replaced the guardhouse and was constructed in 1767, served many functions during its history. But its primary function was a customs house as merchant ships would dock on the Cooper River and bring their wares into the city. A storage vault under the building was often utilized for these merchants until…

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