Best Friend of Charleston Returns Home

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Oct 292013

The Best Friend pulled up by the tracks in Summerville on Monday, to the carnival atmosphere of a big crowd, a steel band and vendors selling popcorn and peanuts. People oohed and cheered, their phones snapping photos and shooting videos. Unfortunately the train pulled up on trucks instead of via the rails themselves, but still.  The replica has been in Atlanta for the past few years as an exhibit in the office of Norfolk Southern, but now it is returning home. See the full story at the Post & Courier.

Best Friend of Charleston Arrives in Summerville

Charleston Trolley Cars Going to Charlotte

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Mar 182013

According to the Charleston Post & Courier, two landmark but neglected Charleston trolley cars that had been attacked by vandals and the elements are getting a new life in Charlotte. The owners of the cars, former Magnolia Development, have given the pair to a group in the Queen City which plans to restore them for possible active use or historical display.

Decaying Charleston TrolleysWhile it is unfortunate that nothing could be done to keep and restore the cars here in Charleston, at least they are going to be saved. For a city that prides itself so much on history and historic preservation, it really shames me how little we do in some areas.

Read the full article at The Post & Courier.

Dec 092011

Charleston TrolleysAn interesting article in the Charleston Post and Courier today on the doomed Magnolia development that is (was?) situated between the Ashley River and I-26 in the neck area of Charleston.  What I worry about most is that the two trolleys on the property, which we have talked about here before, will be swept away like just so much worthless or hazardous trash on the property.

The two streetcars on the Magnolia property are classic pieces of Charleston history and need to be saved, preserved and restored. It would be far about a crying shame to let these rolling (or once rolling) landmarks fade away from us forever. Just as the old trolley barn on Meeting Street needs to be saved, so do these trolleys. We need to form a plan to save all of these landmarks in a single project, preserve our heritage, and create some jobs.

Video of Amtrak Terminal Visioning Session

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Sep 052011

CARTA has plans to build a new Intermodal Center that will house Amtrak, Greyhound, and CARTA operations near West Montague Avenue and Dorchester Road in North Charleston. When that new station comes into place, the old Amtrak station that was built in 1956 will ceased to be used. So, the question is, what should be done with that old station? It is the property of CSX, and the adjoining tracks will continue to be used, but should the building be re-purposed as a museum? A community center? A business incubator?

Those questions and more were addressed at a recent community forum held at the old terminal itself. From a bit of history to a view of the future, you can get a glimpse of it all in the video below.

Visioning Session

Amtrak Station Visioning Session - North Charleston

Amtrak North Charleston Passenger Terminal Visioning Session from Michael Carnell on Vimeo.

Bring The Best Friend home

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Sep 032011

Replica of The Best Friend of CharlestonA great editorial in the Charleston Post & Courier today….

The Best Friend of Charleston is coming home, but the timetable is still uncertain.

Nor is it certain that the artifacts belonging to the independent Best Friend of Charleston Museum will be included in the exhibit.

Now that the city is pushing forward on its plans to prepare a permanent home on John Street for the steam locomotive, it also should ensure that the appropriate artifacts are displayed with it.

The Best Friend — actually a replica of the first steam locomotive in the country to establish regularly scheduled passenger service — is in Atlanta on display at Norfolk Southern Railroad, which paid the city $250,000 in return for permission to restore it and keep it for five years. That time is up in 2012.

The agreement requires the city to use that money for a permanent home for the train. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said it will be supplemented with money from a tax increment finance district.
Continue reading »

Video of Charleston in 1934

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Jul 142011

This short ten minute film recently posted to YouTube by BullDog Tours is entitled “City of Proud Memories”. Be prepared that it shows its age in some of the story telling and terminology used, but it is a fantastic glimpse into the city over 75 years ago. Of course what I am really partial to is the first scene which shows a trolley in motion on Broad Street. Later on there are further glimpses of the overhead wires for the trolleys, but that first scene is the only actual depiction of them.

And, if you are into this kind of picture into the past, as I hope you are, check out The Great Depression & World War II on the StudySC site. An amazing source of information in all formats.

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