“Gyal, Ah tulk to de dead all de time!” one of my informants impa-
tiently exclaimed when I recounted my experience of nearly faint-
ing in Charleston’s City Market during a middle- school fi eld trip.
In preparation for the trip, we received information about the
numerous historic homes and museums that make up a part of
Charleston’s rich heritage. Upon arrival, we went to the Battery on
Charleston Harbor, the place where Charleston residents witnessed
the fi rst shots of the Civil War at nearby Fort Sumter. It was not my
fi rst time visiting downtown Charleston, but I was fascinated by the
cobblestone streets and captivated by the feeling that I had stepped
back in time. That sense of being a part of history remained with me
for the duration of the excursion.
The experience of recognizing my own place in historical time
became an especially distinct reality, however, when we visited the
City Market. Built between 1804 and the 1830s, the City Market
had always been utilized as a space for the public selling and trad-
ing of goods. Comprising three buildings located between four
cross- streets, the City Market continues to be a tourist hotspot in
the downtown area today, and is open 365 days a year. Each corner
within the City Market contains more than one hundred open- air
sheds fi lled with clothing, jewelry, antiques, toys, souvenirs, food
items, paintings, and crafts of all kinds for sale. For those without a
vendor’s permit for space inside the City Market proper, stands also
take up considerable space between the A, B, and C Buildings. In
addition to being close to historic hotels like the Andrew Pinckney
Inn and the Planters Inn, as well as such contemporary lodging as
prologue
Talking to the Dead
Previous Page Next Page