The City Magazine Since 1975

Defining Moments In Charleston's History (2007-2019)

Defining Moments In Charleston's History (2007-2019)
April 2020

  • 2007: Sofa Super Store Fire Turns Deadly - Firefighters Mike Benke, William Hutchinson, Brandon Thompson, Melvin Champaign, Louis Mulkey, Mark Kelsey, Michael French, Bradford Baity, and James Drayton lose their lives while battling a fierce blaze at the Sofa Super Store in West Ashley. The loss of the “Charleston 9” draws national focus on building codes and fire-fighting practices.
  • 2009: Boeing Takes Flight - On November 20, the Seattle-based aerospace giant breaks ground on its first and only East Coast production facility, a 1.2-million-square-foot complex adjacent to the Charleston International Airport. Now, one of the state’s largest employers, Boeing has spurred numerous industry-related businesses, accounting for 100,000 jobs and a $24.8-billion impact across the state, according to Governor Henry McMaster.

(Courtesy of Wikipedia/KellyJean9)

  • 2015: Parishioners Terrorized & Murdered - On June 17, 21-year-old Dylann Roof enters the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun Street, where he is welcomed at a Bible study. Within the hour, he kills nine members of the congregation, including Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, and leaves only three survivors. While the city and nation are horrified, grieving loved ones extend grace and forgiveness to the avowed white supremacist. Roof is later convicted on 33 federal hate crime and murder charges. The Illumination Project and numerous other efforts toward healing and racial justice are launched in the tragedy’s wake. Learn about efforts at equity and healing one year after the tragedy.

(Photograph by Peter Frank Edwards)

  • 2016: An Era Ends - Joseph P. Riley leaves his post after 10 terms as mayor of Charleston. Many credit the Riley era, which he began at age 32 in 1975, with the Holy City’s transformation from a blighted small Southern city to an internationally celebrated hub for the arts, tourism, and budding tech and aeronautics industries. Everything from Waterfront Park to Charleston Place, from the Gaillard to The Joe, bears his imprint, if not his moniker. Read our November 2014 feature profile of Mayor Riley.

(Courtesy of International African American Museum)

  • 2019: International African American Museum Breaks Ground - Four hundred and fifty years after the onset of the North Atlantic slave trade, and 19 years after former Mayor Joe Riley first announced his dream of the museum, the IAAM breaks ground at Gadsden Wharf—a major point of entry for enslaved people in the United States. To date, more than $100 million to fund the museum has been raised from more than 2,000 donors. As program and exhibit planning gets underway, a group of concerned African American residents decrying “Not About Us Without Us” push for more input on the museum content.