If you live here or visited Charleston, you have probably biked or driven past this strange looking brick facade in ruins, right behind the Harris Teeter grocery store. What is it? you mutter to yourself…why is it still standing there all by itself?Photo by Robert Behre
That beautiful facade is the remnants of one of Charleston’s many former rice mills. This one in particular is Bennett’s Rice Mill and it stands in the middle of State Ports Authority property. I have always loved this ruin – it is the gateway to another time in Charleston’s history, a reminder of its rich and vibrant past when Carolina Gold rice ruled the world.
It stands there still because preservation covenants in the City of Charleston require that historic facades remain unchanged – in houses too.
Unfortunately, it has fallen into such a state of disrepair that unless something is done to salvage it soon – we might lose a piece of our history. Rumor has it that if everyone can get their act together, it might become the gateway to a new waterfront park in Downtown Charleston. Now wouldn’t that be spectacular?
If you want to find out more about how you can help preserve it, a good starting point is Robert Behre’s article in the Post and Courier.