Film of Charleston in 1934

Tradd Street in Charleston, circa 1910. (shorpy.com)

Tradd Street in Charleston, circa 1910. (shorpy.com)

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

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. 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. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and 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 invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s