Murray Boulevard Memories

Tristram Hyde House
The avenue along Murray Boulevard is graced with grand houses that seem historic, but actually are not very old at all. The entire area was nothing more than a mudflat called South Bay until 1909, when construction began on a grand boulevard that would link the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. The project initially involved draining and filling acres of land by building a retaining wall and dredging mud to create a 47-acre area 8.5 feet above mean low tide. The land fill was completed in 1911, but it took an ensuing series of projects that lasted until 1925 to finish the 4000-foot paved drive that was named after one of the chief financiers of the effort, Andrew Buist Murray, as Murray Boulevard. During the First World War, several of the houses that grace the area were completed in NeoClassical styles, including the new home of Charleston mayor Tristram Hyde in 1915. Hyde was the epitome of the Charleston mayor in the early 1900’s, desperately trying to drag the city into the 20th century by whatever means necessary. It was Hyde who pushed for the building of the monstrous Francis Marion hotel in the 1920’s, when he allegedly helped finance the project with payoffs from local bootleggers who ran some very profitable speak easies in town during Prohibition. Whether by hook or by crook, the South Battery-Murray Boulevard area is a vast improvement over old. muddy South Bay.

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