Charleston Poorhouse and Hospital | South Carolina 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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