on August 6, 2000
I would recommend spending time visiting two schools in Charleston (the Citadel and the College of Charleston)which are historic, interesting, and beautiful in their very different styles of architecture. The Citadel is the Military College of S.C., known fondly as 'the West Point of the South.' Citadel cadets fired on the Star of the West in 1861 when it was trying to supply Ft. Sumter in Charleston harbor. In 1864 there were 296 men who attended, and today there are approximately 1,900 cadets. Women were admitted in 1996. The 'old' Citadel was located on Marion Square. A lovely Embassy Suites is located inside the old building and provides excellent accommodations. Whether you're staying there or not, go there and look at the building and the area around Marion Square. The Citadel of my lifetime is located on Moultrie St. beside the Ashley River on one side and beside Hampton Park on the other. The day I returned to take a look at the campus, I drove from Broad Street all the way down Ashley Ave., which itself has many interesting buildings, until I saw the park straight ahead in the middle of the street. Drive around the circle that surrounds Hampton Park. This old park has changed but still has its charm. It once was a very popular place for children to visit, look at the animals in their cages, and wander countless paths. The animals were moved years ago to a more natural setting when Charlestown Landing was opened. (I would highly recommend an excursion to that park across the Ashley.} The geese once roamed the grounds at Hampton Park and chased and snipped at children. There was a bandstand, and I can remember sitting on the grass listening to music. There are still a few ducks and a little bridge and water fountain, but the park, while still nice, seemed very different. Across the circle from the park is the Citadel with its Sword Gates, quadrangle, and beautiful chapel which proclaims, 'Remember thy creator now in the days of thy youth.' The parade grounds were the scene of children playing flag football for summer camp the day I visited, but I can recall many wonderful parades on those grounds. This side trip requires little time, but it is worth the effort. Be aware that the area to the north of Hampton Park has experienced some deterioration. The farther north of the park one rides in the city, the worse the deterioration, and one would be advised not to wander around there or around Hampton Park itself without some caution. However, I felt comfortable walking through the middle of the park where there were adults walking and children playing, and the city has obviously made an effort to preserve the area. Of course, the Citadel grounds inside their fence do not give any uneasy feelings.
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