After the Civil War
During the Civil War, Union shelling drove most residents to the relative safety of the upstate. Once the war was over people returned to Mount Pleasant to reestablish their lives. Churches forced to close during the bombardment of Charleston Harbor began to reopen. In February 1866, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church reopened as the only church available for services. People of various faiths met there for public worship.
Mount Pleasant residents radically redefined life both economically and socially. It was an era of experimentation and new ideas. The area’s slave labor plantation system was eradicated and new African-American communities were established. Some freedmen took up farming for themselves.
Established after the Civil War, Scanlonville enjoys a rich heritage spanning over one hundred years. With the end of slavery, many former slaves began to establish their own farms and businesses. The development of Scanlonville was one such enterprise. In 1868, freedman-carpenter Robert Scanlon purchased the 614-acre Remley Plantation that was bordered by Charleston Harbor and the Wando River. Scanlon founded the Charleston Land Company and 100 African-American men paid $10 per share to purchase large tracts of land. By 1870, former slaves who desired to own land could purchase farm or town lots in Scanlonville. The Town of Mount Pleasant annexed Scanlonville on December 14, 1982.
Just west of Scanlonville was Riverside Beach, the oldest, largest, and most popular of five African-American beaches in Charleston County. By 1930, Riverside Beach had a dance pavilion, athletics field, bathhouse, playground, and a boardwalk. Riverside Pavilion was the only venue where black Charlestonians could see musical legends such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, B.B. King and Ivory Joe Hunter. Music performances at the pavilion spawned juke joints in Scanlonville and eventually a hotel called White’s Paradise – frequented by James Brown. By 1975, Charleston County assumed operation of the Riverside property and eventually sold it to a company that developed a gated community on the land.
Frank Leslie's Illus., 1866
Freedman Plowing, SC (LOC)
(Mike Stroud, National
Historical Marker Database)