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"C" is for Charleston Poorhouse and Hospital

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Charleston Poorhouse and Hospital. In 1768 the Commons House of Assembly authorized the building of a Poorhouse and Hospital to care for Charleston’s growing population of paupers. Envisioned as an advance in the humane treatment of the sick and uplift of the deserving poor, it was intended to serve as an infirmary for the physically and mentally ill and to provide shelter, food and reform for the needy. By the middle of the antebellum period it had devolved into a wretched dumping ground and haven of last resort for the city’s victims of poverty, alcoholism, and disease. In 1856, dismayed by the dreadful reputation of the Charleston Poorhouse and Hospital, city commissioners moved the facility into an abandoned factory on Columbus Street, renaming it the Alms House.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.