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Today In Charleston History: November 14


Report of the Board of Fire Masters from the Charleston Courier, pg 4:  

There are thirty one (31) large Fire Wells, which are designated by a white post [illegible] feet out of ground, with red ball on the top, lettered Fire Well, and the nearest Gas Lamp to each well has a red star painted on the upper glass. Located [on street corners] as follows: Beaufain and Archdale, Liberty and St. Philip, Clifford and King, Queen and Friend, King and Tradd, [etc.]

1860 – Fire

Sparks from the rice polishing machine ignited a fire at the West Point Rice Mill. “Brilliantly illuminating” the west side of Charleston, flames destroyed the mill machinery, ancillary buildings, and 23,306 bushels of rice. The company was insured, and immediately began rebuilding new mill. Although hampered by the Union blockade, the mill was capable of full operation in late 1863. When Charleston was occupied by the Union Army in 1865, the mill was used as a food distribution center.

After the Civil War, the mill resumed operations and its production increased. In 1886, it suffered damage from the 1886 Charleston earthquake. Brickwork was damaged and the gables were brought down. At some point before the 1920s, the entire roof was replaced except for the kingposts and trusses.


In 1890, three Charleston mills produced over 97,000 barrels of rice. Competition from western rice growers and a number of hurricanes caused rice production in South Carolina to fall. West Point Mill was closed in 1920, and the company began to sell its assets. Around 1925, the mill’s steam engine was sold to the Henry Ford Museum. The mill’s property was sold to the City of Charleston in 1926.

In the late 1930’s, the old mill ponds were dredged for a municipal yacht basin. Through the years the building has been used for Chamber of Commerce headquarters, a restaurant and city marina offices. It was listed on the National Register in 1995. 

west point


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