Charleston: Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon - Charles I
Charles I (1600-1649) ascended the English throne in 1625 after the death of his Scottish father, James I. After dissolving three Parliaments, Charles I governed England without one for eleven years. Though he held the support of of the nobility, henry, clergy, the Puritans and the citizens of important trading towns supported Parliament. The struggle produced Oliver Cromwell and brought an end to Charles I's cause and his reign. In 1649, he was tried and condemned to die. When he was beheaded on January 30, 1649, he met his death with courage and bravery.
The Exchange and Provost, located at 122 East Bay, was built in 1767 as a mercantile exchange and Custom House. The Georgian-style building, designed by William Rigby Naylor, was badly damaged by Union artillery fire during the Civil War, and again after the great earthquake of 1886, but repaired on both occasions.
In 1774, South Carolina elected delegates to the First Continental Congress in the Exchange’s Great Hall. Seized by the British, it was used as a military prison during the Revolutionary War, where Isaac Hayne, an American executed for treason by the British, spent his last night. In 1788, the State Legislature met here to ratify the new State Constitution. In 1791, President George Washington addressed the citizens of Charlestown from the building’s west elevation, and attended a ball and concert inside. In 1815, the Post Office moved into the Exchange Building. In 1873, the building became City Hall and was bought by the Rebecca Motte Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1912.