South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

Charles Towne Landing — Charleston, South Carolina

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Charles Towne Landing

This wooden statue of a Native American chief is a familiar sight for long-time visitors to Charles Towne Landing State Park in the West Ashley area of Charleston. Nestled on the Ashley River, Charles Towne Landing honors the site of the first European settlement in the Carolinas, dating back to 1670. The settlement lasted only a brief time before being moved to Oyster Point in 1680, now known as White Point Garden.


E. Karl Braun, 2012 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The location was initially chosen as the settlement for European explorers after the Cassique of Kiawah, leader of the Native American tribe which inhabited this area, met with English explorers Captain Robert Sanford and Dr. Henry Woodward. The Cassique persuaded the men to make this land their new home with the promise of cooperation and trade. The statue below, created by Charleston sculptor Willard Hirsch, was unveiled in 1971 and commemorates the Kiawah chief.

Cassique Statue

Susan Buckley of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Charles Towne Landing offers many opportunities to learn about the cultural and natural history of the Charleston area. For example, a replica of a seventeenth-century ship called Adventure (shown below) invites visitors aboard to see how settlers shipped trade goods – specifically raw materials such as timber. Also, the Animal Forest is home to many of the same species that greeted settlers upon their arrival, including native bears, pumas, otters, and bison. Interpretive trails allow for spectacular bird watching, and bicycles are available for rent.

Charles Towne Landing Ship Replica, Old Town Creek

Pete Lawrence of Sumter, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The park underwent a full renovation and reopened to the public in August 2006. One of its highlights is beautiful Founders Hall, a large, LEED-certified event venue. Charles Towne Landing is also home to a former plantation home, the Legare Waring House, which today serves as an event venue as well.


SCIWAY, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Enslaved Barbadians and indentured servants were among those who first landed here. The building shown below is a replica of what would be known as a common house. This common house provided shelter for the indentured and the enslaved after their long days of labor.

Common House

Ed Erhart of Greenville, NC, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

A museum located inside the Visitor Center preserves artifacts discovered in local archaeological digs, and within the grounds are an historical garden, an African-American cemetery, and a Native American ceremonial site. Dogs on leashes are permitted in the park with the exception of the Animal Forest.

Charles Towne Landing Natural Area

JK Sommerfeldt of North Charleston, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Charles Towne Landing is listed in the National Register as the Site of Old Charles Towne:

(Charles Towne Landing State Park) The settlement of Carolina was planned as a planting and trading province by the Lords Proprietor, and the success of the venture came about through the efforts of Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, after a 1664 settlement on the Cape Fear had failed. After a stormy voyage during which the vessels Albemarle and Port Royal were lost, the Carolina anchored off the Carolina coast and the settlers decided to plant at Kayawah. They arrived early in April 1670. This group was joined on May 23 by a sloop, The Three Brothers, that had come by way of Virginia. The settlement was located on the Ashley River in a country known by the Indians as Kayawah, and that is was on a point of land having a river on one side and marsh on the other, known as Albemarle Point. In November 1670, the colonists were informed that the town in which they were settled was to be known as Charles Towne. Threats of a Spanish invasion made the settlers quick to build fortifications. Both a broad trench and a palisade may likely have been used.

More Pictures of Charles Towne Landing

One fun feature of the park is a replica of a 17th-century trading ship floating in the Ashley River. Named The Adventure, the ship was created to showcase a full-sized model of what would have been used to sail the Atlantic Ocean for the purpose of trading goods between the early colonies and the Caribbean.

The Adventure Interior

William Thursby of Ware Shoals, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The cabins of the ships were typically small, allowing only enough room for a captain and first mate to share a space. There would have also been a bunk room where other crew members could sleep.

Reflections on Charles Towne Landing

Peter Wolf Toth’s iconic wooden statue, seen below and at the top of the page, stands at 24 feet and is part of the Trail of Whispering Giants series, a collection of 74 wooden statues by Toth honoring Native Americans throughout the United States as well as in Canada. One such statue even stands in Hungary, where Toth was born. The carving was placed here in 1977 and is made from a 500-year-old Darlington oak (Quercus hemisphaerica).

Indian Statue

Janelle Dawsey, 2007 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Janelle Dawsey, who took the above photo, adds this reflection, “I visited the newly renovated Charles Towne Landing State Park and snapped this picture of an Indian Chief statue located near the entrance to the animal forest. As a kid, this statue was one of my favorite things at the park. I couldn’t help but notice how time had weathered its appearance – it has aged just as I have. I thought I could get a dramatic effect by snapping the picture from the ground at an upward angle. The sky was also beautiful that day and made the perfect backdrop for the photo.”

Add your own reflections here

Charles Towne Landing Info

Address: 1500 Old Towne Road, Charleston, SC 29407
GPS Coordinates: 32.809997,-79.995344

Charles Towne Landing Map

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5 Comments about Charles Towne Landing

Rose ONeal Charleston Walk for Autism says:
March 3rd, 2017 at 7:40 pm

I am a volunteer for Walk for Autism-Charleston 2017. We are having our 14th annual walk on April 22nd, 2017 at Historic Hampton Park starting at 9:00am. Walk for autism is a private, non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to meeting the needs of families with children facing life-long disabilities. This walk is organized through the efforts of parents of children with autism. The money raised helps families in the Charleston area to receive educational scholarships that provide intense one on one therapy in the home.

A donation of any dollar amount, product or gift certificate for our annual silent auction / fund raising event would be greatly appreciated. Make checks payable to:
Walk for Autism-Charleston or mail product or gift certificate to:

Rose O’Neal
2551 Midland Pk. Rd. Box 84
North Charleston, S.C. 29406

If products are donated please include the value so that we can determine the sponsorship level. For more information please feel free to contact me at 843-553-1316 or email: also visit our web site Thank you for your support.


Rose O’Neal

Walk for Autism-Charleston
Tax ID: 56-2465175

SCIWAY says:
March 19th, 2014 at 10:13 am

Hi, Carolyn. Thank you for commenting. The link to the Charles Towne Landing website can be found above the map on this page. Hopefully, your questions can be answered there.

carolyn says:
March 18th, 2014 at 5:48 pm

What are the hours Charleston Landing is open? What is the yearly membership dues?

Mike Stroud says:
October 19th, 2013 at 11:04 am

Landing Brave, Peter Wolf Toth Statue # 23. Toth completed his goal of a statue in each of the fifty states in May 1988. Peter Wolf Toth. Statues are listed alphabetically by state.

Samantha Hayes says:
May 23rd, 2012 at 11:49 am

i really like it 🙂


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