The focal point of this 1780 view of Charleston from the harbor is the handsome Exchange Building, begun in 1767 as an exchange and customs house for one of the most prosperous shipping towns in the British colonies. It was finished in 1771 just in time to become an important meeting place and symbol of revolutionary activity. It was here that tea was stored in 1774 to prevent its being sold with an English tax; after the capture of Charleston by the British in 1780, British troops were quartered here. Colonel Isaac Hayne, hanged by the British as an example to other patriots, was imprisoned in its walls. The convention to ratify the Constitution met upstairs in May of 1788. And in 1791, George Washington stood on its steps to watch the parade given in his honor as first President of the United States under the new Constitution.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress.