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charleston history

This forbidding-looking structure at 21 Magazine Street holds a darker, more haunting side of Charleston history. Surrounded by a high brick wall, with windows grated with double rows of bars, the Charleston District Jail first opened in 1802 and remained operational until 1939. During those years, it housed some of the city’s most nefarious characters, from murderers to 19th-century pirates, along with thousands of unfortunates who were simply debtors, enslaved, or falsely accused. Many died during their incarceration—some from disease or suicide, others put to death for their crimes on the jail’s gallows. Do their ghosts still lurk in the building’s dark halls? Many believe they do



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