February 14, 2022. The southern end of Sullivan’s Island is where the Atlantic ICW connects to the Charleston Harbor. Across the ICW is the Pitt Street Bridge with a history of its own. It was once the trolley causeway and bridge from Mount Pleasant, SC to Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms.
The original bridge, known as the “bridge of boats” was used in the Battle of 1776. It was built prior to the Revolutionary War and used in the Battle of 1776. The bridge had to be rebuilt and was finished on June 7, 1777, almost a year after the Battle of Fort Sullivan. That bridge was rebuilt by the time of the Civil War.
In 1897 the causeway and bridge were sold to a group of investors that included Dr. Joseph S. Lawrence. Dr. Lawrence vision was to bring visitors from Charleston to Mount Pleasant via ferry, where they would catch the trolley that would take them across Sullivan’s Island to a new resort on the Isle of Palms The beautiful new mahogany, electric trolleys with leather seats ran down Middle Street on Sullivan’s Island. Today as you drive down Middle Street, every crossing street is still numbered as a trolley station. When we lived on the island in the 1980s, our home sat at the corner of Station 22 1/2 and Ion Avenue. The trolleys may be long gone, but the island is as incredible as ever.
Today, the Pitt Street Bridge Park is favorite place for residents and visitors to walk, cycle, socialize, enjoy bird watching, capture beautiful sunrises and sunsets, or simply to watch the boat traffic on the ICW and Charleston Harbor. I especially enjoy going to the Old Bridge on fall and spring mornings. In the fall the “snowbird” yachts are traveling from the Northeast to Florida for the winter. In the spring those same yachts are traveling back north for the summer. From an economic impact perspective, the ICW is like an interstate highway to many coastal small towns. Many large cities also enjoy economic benefits from the ICW, but sadly, don’t seem to share the small towns appreciation for transient and leisure boaters.
Valentines Day brings back memories of the many engagement and wedding pictures I’ve witnessed taken at the Old Bridge Park. When you visit the park throughout the year, you have to wonder how many of the couples you see snuggling to watch a sunset, or sitting on a quilt having dinner and quietly talking, will become one of the couples later having engagement and wedding pictures taken at the park.
There’s a lot of history at Mount Pleasant, SC’s Pitt Street Park, and a lot of memories are still being made there. And yes, a LOT of photographs are still being made there!
“Oh Captain My Captain“