This impressive Palladian building is probably the most historically important building in all of Charleston, and perhaps one of the most important colonial-era buildings in all of the US. This is one of only three surviving buildings from which the Declaration of Independence was read. The Exchange has been used as the customs house, as a public meeting house, as a post office, and currently serves as the headquarters of the Charleston branch of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Following the defeat of the British in the American Revolution, George Washington was entertained here at a grand gala held in the third floor dance hall. Tea was stored in the Dungeon in protest of taxes during colonial times, in what can only be referred to as Charleston's own version of the Boston Tea Party. Both pirates and Revolutionary criminals were held in the dungeon. American forces stored gun powder in the dungeon as well during the Revolution, securing it from being stolen and used to supply the invading British forces with ammunition.
Old City Wall, visible from Dungeon.
At $7, the Old Exchange is well worth the entrance price. We have previously seen the dungeon once during a Ghost and Dungeon Walking Tour, but I really wanted to see the dungeon again. The old Charleston city wall is visible here. I believe we were told this is the only place the wall is visible to the public. The third floor was amazing, because it was used by Georgia Washington during his tour of the South.
I encourage you to look though the third floor windows down Broad Street.
I really enjoyed our tour of the Old Exchange. We had already seen the dungeon, as it was a part of the Bulldog Ghosts and Dungeons Walking Tour. However, there are exhibits of Colonial-era artifacts discovered from excavation of the dungeon on display that we did not get to see when we visited during the walking tour at night. There is also a lot of history about the dungeon that you will hear from the docent if you visit during the day when the Exchange is open. The two upper floors are the Old Exchange, which served as the customs house during the colonial shipping era. I am sure this was a very busy place, as Charleston was one of America's most important and busiest colonial ports. It is amazing to think that this building once sat right on the harborside...