Film of Charleston in 1934

Tradd Street in Charleston, circa 1910. (

Tradd Street in Charleston, circa 1910. (

Here is a film of Charleston, S.C., taken three years after the city passed its landmark preservation law, first of its kind in the world. Its streets today are much more as they were then than in the recently posted film of Chicago in the 1940s (not in 1940 as I’d falsely stated). Both films feature quaintnesses of the era that are, to say the least, cringeworthy today. Threads of comment about the Chicago film have enlivened my inbox in recent days. For the Charleston film I feel obliged to insert a warning of the sort common these days in American university curricula to alert the more palpitatious of hearts to upcoming potential offenses to delicacy. Early on, the film pictures a musical troupe of – if history’s hardnesses and calumnies render you faint, do not read the next word! – “nigras” singing in a Charleston garden. The next sentence will surprise you! (I refer to the next sentence in the film, not the next sentence in this post, which is innocuous.) I doff my topper and genuflect slightly from my waist to Charleston architect Christopher Liberatos, who posted the film to TradArch.


About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Architecture History, Old Video, Preservation, Urbanism and planning and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Film of Charleston in 1934

  1. pat cullinan says:

    Thank you for posting this most interesting film of old Charleston. Very informative and moving.


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