The Colonial Common: Two Important Documents

In response to a number of recent questions about Charleston’s “Colonial Common,” I’ve transcribed the two documents that define the parameters of this topic: the 1768 statute that created the public “common” space at the west end of Broad Street, and the 1881 ordinance that created a board of commissioners to protect and manage the remnants of the colonial-era common.

Click to download a PDF file: 1768 STATUTE

Click to download a PDF file: 1881 ORDINANCE

These two laws represent the foundation of any conversation about the history and use of the lands bounded by the Ashley River and Rutledge, Tradd, and Beaufain Streets. The full texts of these important documents are not easily accessible, however, so I hope my transcriptions prove helpful to the curious public.

The image below, excerpted from C. N. Drie’s 1872 “Bird’s Eye View” of Charleston, depicts the area of Charleston in question. At that time, most of the common was dominated by steam-powered sawmills that processed rafts of timber floated down the Ashley River from inland forests.


Don’t forget about this Thursday’s program:

“A Citizens’ Guide to the History of Charleston’s Colonial Common”

Thursday, June 11th 2015 at 6 p.m.

Charleston County Public Library Auditorium, 68 Calhoun Street, 29401

For more information, please contact Dr. Butler at butlern[at] or 843–805–6968.

One thought on “The Colonial Common: Two Important Documents

  1. Pingback: Voice Your “Common” Interest | Charleston Time Machine

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