Bridge Beginnings

The William Gibbes House on South Battery Street in historic #Charleston, is today a fashionable residence two rows removed from the Ashley River. When it was built just prior to the American Revolution, however, the lot overlooked the water in what was then called South Bay. The namesake William Gibbes was a very successful Charleston entrepreneur who bought the lot as a ship landing for various enterprises that included the export of timber. Because the muddy, shallow bay afforded no natural slip for ocean-sailing ships, Gibbes built a “bridge”, as the early wharves were called.  This was done by floating stones and debris on palmetto log rafts to deeper water, sinking them at  low tide, and building or bridging wth more fill in between to create a   protruding wharf, and the Gibbes built on South Bay was called “Gibbes Bridge”. The old wharf washed away  long before the Civil War, and in the early 20th century, the South Bay area was filled by dredging up river bottom and creating what is now Murray Boulevard. But the bridge connection did not die with Gibbes, as a later owner of the house was Cornelia Farrow Roebling, widow of Washington Roebling, chief engineer and designer of the Brooklyn Bridge. <img.src=”Charleston Landmarks” alt=”William Gibbes House

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