Charleston and it's barrier islands are steeped in history and beauty – a living museum that grows and changes with the times. From our pristine beaches, to our historical sites, to our world class golf courses, you will never grow tired of getting out and exploring Charleston and it's surrounding barrier island communities. Our islands go back to the time of native Indians who inhabited the islands for fishing, hunting and limited crops. Sullivan's Island is a small 3 mile long island shaped more like a bow or a crescent moon. Later, Charleston grew as a major port and Sullivan's Island became a small island getaway with access by ferry and ox-driven wagons.
And of course the war between the states, slavery and state's rights all made Charleston a leader in the resistance. Sullivan's Island was the epicenter of the Civil War with shots going back and forth to the island fortress, Fort Sumter. The first military sub to ever sink a ship was launched from Breach Inlet (a waterway between Sullivan's island and Isle of Palms), while successful in sinking the Housatonic killing it's 8 crewmen.
Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island was built to protect American shipping from the CSS, Confederate State Ship, which ended up gong back and forth. The islands of our home town are truly a history buff's dream. Added to this, Edgar Allen Poe was stationed at the fort and hence, many of his books have references to the island. "The Goldbug Tree", being one of the most popular of his works, has people still trying to find the tree. Many streets are named after Poe, officers of the fort, and those close to the island. A famous Seminole Indian, Chief Osceola, was captured and held at the fort for a period, during which he died. During his captivity, he was actually looked upon as an important person who had special rights and privileges. Homes were later constructed by the military on the island which withstood years of storms, the elements of mother nature, and man himself. Many of the lots and buildings on the island were leased from the government which were eventually purchased later.
The Isle of Palms, which is about 7 miles long, is a much newer island. The bulk of the development occured after the 1900's and it was not military-oriented, but more amusement-oriented. A large hotel with a tall ferris wheel and boardwalk were the attractions for those from downtown Charleston to come enjoy and spend the day. Racing cars on the beach were just one of the many sporting events to watch. The early Indians were the Seewee Indians and the island was originally called Hunting Island. Later the island was named Long Island, not for it's later owner, J.C. Long, but because it was in fact a long island. J.S. Lawrence, one of the earliest owners, renamed the island the Isle of Palms for his amusement park in about 1899. Later, James Sottile brought in more amusements around 1912 to create the island as a place for those to come and enjoy.
The major reason for the original Cooper River Bridge to be built was to bring those out to enjoy the Isle of Palms. In 1946, J.C. Long bought the remaining undeveloped land for about $150,000. J.C. Long married Alberta Sottile, thereby creating one of the most powerful families in South Carolina. J.C. Long developed affordable low cost homes for the veterans coming home from WWII. It was during this time that Jimmy Carroll's father and mother discovered the Isle of Palms and moved here with a grand total of 300 year-round residents. As the island grew, so did other amenities, including motor courts. One long motor court was across from the Isle of Palms shopping center - two long buildings running from the road to the beach with a pool in-between. Down where the latest post office is, there were about 35 duplexes for larger families to rent. Tourism has always been a major source of income for the island. At the far end of the island, there was a campground on the ocean around 57th Ave called The Sand Dollar. J.C. Long even had an airport along the back of the island - a grass runway from about 30th Ave to about the end of Intracoastal Court.
Yes, the island has changed. In 1975, Sea Pines, headed by Charles Frazier of Hilton Head fame, bought the north end of the island and called it the Isle of Palms Beach and Racquet Club. Of course, this has changed hands many times with new names attached each time. One thing has always remained true, people who live here are unique. They appreciate the outdoors, the water surrounding the islands, and love raising a family here in their own little paradise.
Carroll Realty Inc.
103 Palm Blvd
Isle of Palms, SC 29451