Apr 02 2019

Street Cars On Sullivan’s Island

By Susan Middaugh for The Island Eye News

Street car on King St in the early 1900s.

Do you know why the cross-streets on Sullivan’s Island are numbered “Stations”? Have you noticed that our Station numbers start with Station 9? What happened to Stations 1-8? Come hear historian Nic Butler, PhD explain it all, and more, on Thursday, April 18, 6–7 p.m., at the Fort Moultrie Visitor Center Auditorium, 1214 Middle St.

The arrival of mule-drawn street cars on Sullivan’s Island in the 1870s marked the beginning of a transportation revolution for local residents, and coincided with the expansion of regular ferry service to and from Charleston and Mount Pleasant. Electric trolleys replaced the mules in 1898 and rolled along an improved track stretching from the mainland to the new attractions on the Isle of Palms. The rise of the automobile in the early decades of the twentieth century threatened the survival of the island’s railways, however, and the construction of modern bridges signaled the end of the road for the coastal trolleys. Join Dr. Nic Butler, historian for the Charleston County Public Library, for a fascinating overview of Sullivan’s Island’s passenger railway and ferry services and their lasting legacy on our community.

Nic Butler, Ph.D. is an interdisciplinary historian with an infectious enthusiasm for Charleston’s colorful past and a gift for making history come alive. He is the historian for the Charleston County Public Library and writes the Charleston Time Machine website and blog (

This event is free and open to the public. Cosponsored by the National Park Service and Battery Gadsden Cultural Center, preserving the culture of art and history on Sullivan’s Island. Visit for information or call 843.901.0091.

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