Charleston: Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon - Half-Moon Battery Seawall
The provost dungeon stands at Charles Town's original wall of 1680-1718. By 1701, Charles Town was surrounded by fortified walls for protection against pirates, hostile Native Americans, Spanish invaders, and wild animals. It was the only British walled city in North America. Archaeological excavations under the dungeon floor have exposed the Half-Moon Battery, a semicircular fortification projecting from the seawall. Behind this wall stood the Court of Guard, holding a Council Chamber and jail. In 1767, the top of the seawall was lowered and the Court of Guard demolished, allowing for the construction of the Exchange upon this site.
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.