Uptown/Downtown in Old Charleston: Sketches and Stories

Uptown/Downtown in Old Charleston: Sketches and Stories

by Louis D. Rubin Jr.
     
 

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Growing up in Charleston in the 1930s and 1940s, accomplished storyteller Louis Rubin witnessed firsthand the subtle gradations of caste and class among neighborhoods, from south of Broad Street where established families, ancestral glories, and traditional mores held sway, to the various enclaves of Uptown in which middle-class and blue-collar families went about… See more details below

Overview


Growing up in Charleston in the 1930s and 1940s, accomplished storyteller Louis Rubin witnessed firsthand the subtle gradations of caste and class among neighborhoods, from south of Broad Street where established families, ancestral glories, and traditional mores held sway, to the various enclaves of Uptown in which middle-class and blue-collar families went about their own diverse lives and routines. Changing circumstances within his own family impelled his absorption in what seemed to be two separate worlds, and granted him a remarkable perspective into Charleston's evolving identity as an historic seaport on the cusp of modernity during the Great Depression and the onset of World War II.

In Uptown/Downtown in Old Charleston, Rubin draws on equal parts autobiography and imagination in a series of briskly paced renderings of his native Charleston that capture the atmosphere of the Holy City during this era when the population had not yet swelled above sixty-five thousand, when oldtimers still spoke with awe of the 1886 earthquake, and when the coming social and economic revolutions that shaped the latter half of the twentieth century had not yet found a toehold in the old city. Rubin's wide-eyed narrator is an earnest and observant guide, who ably takes readers on excursions to and through recognizable landmarks, including Adger's Wharf, the Battery, Union Terminal, the shops of King Street, the High School of Charleston, the Majestic Theater, and the College of Charleston. With youthful glee he watches the barges and shrimp trawlers along the waterfront, rides streetcars down Rutledge Avenue and trains to Savannah and Richmond, paddles the Ashley River in a leaky homemade boat,pitches left-handed for the youngest team in the Twilight Baseball League, ponders the curious chanting coming from the Jewish Community Center, and catches magical glimpses of the Morris Island lighthouse from atop the Folly Beach Ferris wheel. His fascination with the gas-electric Boll Weevil train epitomizes his appreciation for the freedom of movement between the worlds of Uptown and Downtown that defines his youth in Charleston.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570039096
Publisher:
University of South Carolina Press
Publication date:
04/30/2010
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

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