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Created in 1975, Brittlebank Park was named for one of Charleston’s wealthiest and best-traveled persons, Julius Brittlebank (1859-1937), known as the “American Marco Polo” for his trips around the world. The multimillionaire started as an office boy in Indiana, eventually rising to president of the $6 million American Hominy Company. He moved to Charleston in 1889 and soon became a major figure, involved in a number of businesses and organizations.
The music-lover attended symphonies, ballets, and operas around the globe, visiting Europe some 50 times. He died in Honolulu while making his 18th trip around the world. Upon his son Frank’s death 29 years later, funds for the creation of public parks were given to Charleston as well as two Indiana cities in keeping with Julius’ will. Today, the 10-acre Brittlebank hosts events like SEWE that would surely delight the famed explorer.
Photograph courtesy of Charleston County Public Library