About Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, is a vibrant, thriving community that is proud of its past and looking toward a bright future.
Located across the Cooper River from historic Charleston, Mount Pleasant has played an important role in South Carolina and U.S. history for more than three centuries. The many Colonial and antebellum homes in Mount Pleasant’s Old Village draw tourists in large numbers, inviting them to wander the narrow, oak-lined streets and take a peek back into the town’s proud past. The most well-known of the homes and buildings in this historic district is Alhambra Hall, a former ferry station that overlooks Charleston Harbor.
Originally the home of the Sewee Indians, Mount Pleasant’s first white settlers, led by Capt. Florentia O’Sullivan, arrived from England in 1680. The town’s name was forever etched in history on Sept. 24, 1860, when a public meeting held there produced South Carolina’s first resolution of secession. Shortly thereafter, representatives of seven Southern states met in Charleston to form the Confederate States of America.
Mount Pleasant remained a small town until well into the 20th century, populated in part by Charlestonians wealthy enough to afford summer homes across the Cooper River.
As proud as Mount Pleasant is of its past, it’s the city’s ability to look to the future that speaks loudest. The state-of-the-art Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge linked Mount Pleasant with Charleston in 2005, replacing the Grace Memorial Bridge, built in 1929, and the Pearman Bridge, which opened for business in 1966.
While Mount Pleasant has experienced tremendous growth in the past decade, it also has preserved its heritage and small-town sense of community. Many people choose to live in Mount Pleasant because of the town’s proximity to the area’s beaches and excellent golf courses, its mild climate and nearby state-of-the-art medical facilities. Mount Pleasant also is home to some of the finest shopping in the region. Towne Centre, on busy Highway 17, offers a wide selection of goods from national and local merchants.
Picturesque Shem Creek, which bisects the city, hosts several popular restaurants and one of the last fleets of local fishing boats in the area. Residents take advantage of the fresh off-the-boat seafood sold on the docks.
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Mount Pleasant's Past On A Corner Sign Post
For the earliest settlers of Mount Pleasant, major routes of transportation included a multitude of harbors, channels, rivers, inlets and creeks surrounding the area. Many of the names that described these waterways originated with the Sewee and Wando Indians. For example: “Shemee” Creek, the “Wando” River and “Sewee” Bay. Other names of water passages spring from European origins such as the Ashley and Cooper rivers.
The first European settlement in Mount Pleasant, in 1680, was on a neck of land surrounded by Charleston Harbor, Shem Creek and Cove Inlet. The Indians called it“Oldwanus” Point, which was later anglicized to “Old Woman’s Point” and finally transformed into North Point—where Old Mount Pleasant is located today. This indian heritage is reflected in some of our current street names, such as Oldwanus Drive, Sewee Circle, Shem Street and Drive, Mataoka Street and Wakendaw Boulevard, to name a few.
As the population of settlers grew, so did their transportation needs. Some of the first roads were built as part of a long distance transportation system that included stagecoaches and ferries. Old Georgetown Road, still in existence, was an early travelers’ route between Georgetown and Mount Pleasant. This route led directly to the ferry-boat landing and from there folks traveled to Charlestowne across the Cooper River. It was the main passage for mail and travel to and from the north. (It cost passengers 33 cents, horned cattle 21 cents, four-wheeled carriages $1.75). This ferry-line route was used by George Washington when he came to Charlestowne in 1791. Andrew Hibben began the original ferry service in 1770.
The Revolutionary War and later the Civil War also increased the need for transportation of men and supplies. Rifle Range Road was probably the site of a Revolutionary War barracks shown as “barracks in ruins” on a plat dated 1793. This road later led to the U.S. Navy Rifle Range in 1917and was also used by Citadel cadets. The Coast Guard and U.S. regulars from Fort Moultrie traveled down the military sounding Rifle Range Road, as do regular in-town commuters today.
The names on many of Mount Pleasant’s streets came down to us today as a legacy from the town’s early inhabitants, especially in the Old Village area. There is a tradition of honoring those residents who have contributed to the town’s growth and prosperity, a tradition that continues even today. The original settlements or villages dating back to the late 1600’s, were all eventually incorporated to create the town of Mount Pleasant and Greenwich Village. Following is a listing of the original villages and names and origins of the streets that remain part of Mount Pleasant today.