Roundhouse Relic

Visitors come to Charleston these days mostly by airline, car and ship, but in the 19th century, it was through the railroads. The old South Carolina Railroad Line first built in the 1840’s only came into the Charleston as far as John Street, out of fear that sparks from the locomotives might burn down older parts of the city, an you can still find segments of the old track line between King and Meeting streets. Shortly after the Civil War, a huge “roundhouse” was built along side the tracks between Columbus and Spring streets, to service the busy locomotives. By entering what essentially was a covered Lazy Susan, the locomotives could be uncoupled and pulled on auxiliary lines to a nearby foundry or a series of workshops, then a newly-repaired locomotive was maneuvered into position, and the train continued. The old wooden building was closed and obsolete by 1958, when it burned to the ground, and the property eventually was used to build the first Meeting Street Piggly Wiggly.

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