Dutch Town

IMG_2036The central and western part of Charleston’s peninsula were inhabited after the old city wall came down in the 1730’s, and a surge of immigrants came, attracted by the wealth and opportunity derived from exports of rice, timber and animal furs.
Many of the new immigrants were from the German and states, where turmoil throughout the 18th century sent families packing for better horizons. Typically, they landed in the Mid-Atlantic colonies and worked their way South, entering old Charleston by the highway known as the Broad Path, now King Street.
They crowded into the area known as Mazyck’s Lands just west of the Broad Path, along Archdale Street, named for the South Carolina’s only Quaker governor. As with most newly-arrived foreigners, the Germans were at first very insular, retaining religious and linguistic customs with the city’s first Lutheran congregation and distinctive sounds of “Deutsche”
To the predominant English population, the German language was quite a mystery with its inverted sentence structure where the verbs come last, and
in their lack of understanding, they interpreted “Deutsche” phonetically, referring to the Germans as Dutch.
Thus Archdale Street became the center of “Dutch Town”, where the oldest graves, homes and church of the German settlers still stand.

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