Departed Detail

The structure at 50 Broad Street was completed in 1798 as the Bank of South Carolina, and is the oldest building in historic #Charleston used as a bank. The concept of banks was relatively new at that time, as most currency changed hands and credit was issued in custom houses and vendors offices, and much of the money used was English and Spanish coins of gold and silver. Early American banks issued their own paper currency, and quickly became a source of credit for the booming merchant class in Charleston after the Revolution. The new building was striking in appearance, featuring brick that was “rouged” with iron oxides for a bright red color, as well as details that included splayed lintels, belt courses, recessed edicules, and a protruding bracketed cornice along the roofline. The impressive building and its cache of coins and currency quickly caught the attention of a thief named Withers, who tried tunneling his way inside by digging through drain openings on Broad Street in 1801. The “Charleston Mole” was caught, and the bank went nearly another century without a significant loss until the earthquake of 1886. The violent tremors of the quake shook the building so hard that the cornice was dislodged, and with so little money in Charleston after the Civil War, there was no attempt to replace it. Today, the building houses city offices, and still is striking with the obvious marks of the missing cornice under the eaves. <img.src=”Charleston Architecture” alt=”Bank of South Carolina”

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