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Charleston: Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon - James Simons | by wallyg
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Charleston: Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon - James Simons

The honorable James Simons (1813-1879) of Charleston was Speaker of the House of Representatives in the South Carolina Legislature during the Civil War. This mid-nineteenth century portrait is of the American School.


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.

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Taken on May 3, 2013