Philadelphia Alley & Other Famous Alleys in Charleston, SC

There’s a reason that cities like Charleston, South Carolina routinely make lists like The Eleven Most Historic Cities in the United States. It’s not because of any one historic site. It’s because cities like ours have deep history coming out of our ears—or in the case of Charleston, running up and down our alleys and walkways. In this article, we’ll take a look at Philadelphia Alley and other must-visit alleys in Charleston.

The History of Alleyways in the United States

The reason Charleston alleys are so historic is that Charleston was an important U.S. city well ahead of the invention of the automobile. If you didn’t own a horse in the 18th century, the best way to get around was simply on foot. That meant alleyways in the 18th and 19th century weren’t only for deliveries and emergencies—they were an integral portion of a city’s infrastructure.

By the time the automobile arrived, much of the historic landscape of Charleston was already etched in cobblestone. And despite its modern upgrades, Charleston still keeps many of its historic alleyways in authentic historic condition.

Here are a few of our favorite historical alleys and walkways in the holy city.

Philadelphia Alley

How often is an alleyway one of the top 100 things to do in a city? But that’s the case with the Philadelphia Alley. Back when duels were a popular (though just as often detested) way to settle disputes, the Philadelphia Alley played host to them. As you can imagine, some duelists won and others lost. For the more grimly fated, it is often said that their spirits remain to haunt the alley. Some people even claim that Philadelphia Alley is haunted by the ghost of Dr. Joseph Brown Ladd, who perished due to wounds taken during a duel. The site remains a popular attraction today and was even the site of a music video by Charleston native Darius Rucker.

Longitude Lane

Though it’s called “Longitude,” this alleyway actually runs east-west. The site is so historic that it may even trace its roots to the original city site of Charleston in the 1600s. Here, you’ll see the site of the Battle of Longitude Lane, which was not a Civil War engagement but rather a struggle over whether a cannon should be used as decoration along the way. The cannon was eventually moved, but that only leaves this historic site even more authentic to its pre-Civil War richness.

Lodge Alley

Lodge Alley was originally built by French merchants who wanted to store ships (and themselves) when staying in Charleston. It’s not a far walk from here to the Charleston Waterfront Park, which makes this a great destination for anyone taking a walking tour of the city.

Take a Historical Carriage Tour in Charleston, SC

Given all its rich history, Charleston plays host to even more alleyways and walkways than we can list here. Book a carriage tour with Charleston Carriage Works to see and learn about more great Charleston historic sites while enjoying a relaxing ride through the city.