History

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A History of Charleston’s Hampton Park

by Kevin R. Eberle

Most visitors to Charleston never venture far enough north to discover what residents claim as the most appealing public open space on the peninsula. Hampton Park is completely unexpected in this city famous for highly manicured gardens with clipped lawns, sculpted shrubs and precise designs hidden behind massive walls and iron gates. Hampton Park’s naturalistic character was created as an antidote to the cramped conditions of the lower peninsula, and it still offers open fields of grass, walking trails, shade trees and overflowing flower beds.

But the story is not that simple–it began more than three hundred years ago with Native Americans and involves early plantation life, Revolutionary War battles, horse racing, the Civil War, industrial development, civic spectacle, professional baseball, a zoo and disco.

About the Author

Kevin Eberle is a professor at Charleston Law School, and he is the former president of the Hampton Park Terrace neighborhood association, as well a past member of the board of directors of the Preservation Society of Charleston.