The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon


There’s no doubt that Charleston, South Carolina is one of the must-see cities for anyone interested in American history. Full of 18th century wonders and Civil War relics, the city is teeming with history around every corner. But you don’t get to be a historic city—or a historic site, for that matter—without interesting things happening, both positive and … well, sometimes downright spooky. The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon is a perfect example. 

What to Expect at the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon

The Old Exchange Building itself isn’t spooky. If anything, it’s one of the great architectural jewels of Charleston, harkening back to the founding of America. While the Exchange played host to many historical events, the dungeon at the site also housed some infamous prisoners. Here are a few highlights of the history at the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon:

  • The Exchange Building or “Customs House” was first created on the site in 1771, with building techniques and materials preceded only by landmarks in Philadelphia and Boston. South Carolina would elect its representatives to the First Continental Congress in the Great Hall at the site.
  • While British forces during the Revolution held Charleston, they moved prisoners of war to the Exchange. In 1781, a man named Isaac Hayne was condemned to death for treason against the British crown, having spent time in prison at the site.
  • During the earliest days of American history, George Washington came to Charleston. His stay in 1788 included attendance at the Exchange. The site itself is where the South Carolina convention ratified the Constitution of the United States.
  • In the Civil War, the site was used as a post office for the Confederacy. The building also saw use in both World Wars.
  • The history on the site goes back to at least 1698. We’ve learned this thanks to a discovery of the Half-Moon Battery, a fortification, beneath the site.

With all the events that transpired at the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon, it’s safe to say that a visit to this site will give you a thorough understanding of the history of Charleston.

The Old Exchange Today

In 1913, the building was granted to the Daughters of the American Revolution, who have maintained control of the site since. It now lives as a museum in which visitors can experience some of Charleston’s most famous history for themselves up close.

Open every weekday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. local time, the site is a perfect place for anyone curious about Charleston history to whet their appetite. Planning a visit is easy, and the site is handicap-accessible, allowing everyone to enjoy the Exchange.

Charleston represents a unique opportunity to experience America in the way it once was. Not only are sites like the Exchange held open to the public, but Charleston Carriage Works ensures that you can ride through the historic district of Charleston in an authentic way without giving up the modern conveniences that make your trip to Charleston a pleasure.

Contact Charleston Carriage Works to learn more about our carriage ride routes and trips, and book a tour today.