Tuesday, February 14, 2023


We’ve been traveling a bit.

Just for fun . . .

Heavy load! 

  The sign says, “Every taco is hand rolled with exotic Mexican spices by genuine Mayan virgins. Or Carlos, depending on who’s available.”

   Wallpaper in one of the restrooms. Don’t worry — it did have modern plumbing!

  An old house decorated with oyster and clam shells being updated. 
The pillars on the porch were replaced and awaiting their new shells. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Charleston Naval Base Memorial

Charleston Naval Base 

  We took advantage of a sunny 80 degree F day last week to visit a memorial to the thousands of military and civilians who worked over the years at the Naval Base in Charleston. Before I tell you about the memorial, a little history . . . 


In 1899, a 1600-acre public park with beautiful gardens was created along the Cooper River on the grounds of an old plantation. Charlestonians could escape the big hot city for day trips by special trolley and enjoy a day on strolling lovely walking paths and picnicking in the landscaped gardens along the river. 

  But soon, a short two years later in 1901, the United States Navy took possession of Chicora Park to build the Charleston Naval Base for defense of the East Coast of the United States. 


 The base also served to repair military ships and resupply them before they returned to sea. As it grew, shipbuilding was added, providing employment for 1,700 people. Over the years the Charleston Naval Shipyard turned out dredges, patrol cutters for the Coast Guard, paddle wheel steam boats for the Army Corps of Engineers, gunboats, submarine chasers, tugboats, barges, and even a ferry boat.  

  In April of 1917, when the US entered World War I, five German freighters were in transit through Charleston. The ships were seized and interned in nearby Charleston Harbor.  Then they were brought to the Naval Base where they were refitted and sent to war as part of the US Naval Fleet. 

  During the WWI years, a Naval Training Center was added for basic training. One of the 5,000 recruits who trained there was Norman Rockwell, a young man destined to become one of the United States’ most loved artists. During his stay, Rockwell painted officer’s portraits and did cartoons for the base newsletter.

 Also during this time, a naval clothing factory employing 1,000 Charleston women was put into production. When influenza became rampant, a naval hospital was added.  

  During World War II, thousands more soldiers, sailors, and airmen passed through the base on their way to war.  Three shifts of military and civilian workers were employed to berth ships in port, build, repair, and resupply ships and troops for the Navy, keeping the war effort going around the clock. Vessels built during this war and in the years after were destroyers, landing crafts, and submarines. 

 Charleston Naval Base remained the largest employer of civilians in the state of South Carolina into the 1990s. In 1993, with the Cold War over, defense budgets were cut, the decision was made to close the base and it closed in 1996. 

The Memorial

  The memorial to the hundreds of thousands of military and civilians who worked at the Charleston Naval Base from 1901-1993 is an open pavilion shaped like the bow of a ship. One side borders the river while the other side is a low wall that curves like the side of a ship. A concrete ground map shows the Earth’s continents and a man made stream for children to play in meanders through.  Five flags fly on flagpoles that slant out from the shore, pointing the way out of the safe harbor of home into the oceans and seas of the world. 

The story of the base is told in a timeline of collages printed on metal, on a background of gray concrete, reflecting the look of the big ships built here.


  A statue of the “Lone Sailor” with his duffel bag beside him stands looking out to sea, as if waiting to board his ship. The sculpture honors the men and women who served and still serve in the US Navy.



Nearby is “Homecoming”, depicting the joy of a family reunion, honoring the sacrifices made by families and members in all sea services during their long separations. 

  Both sculptures are bronze copies of 

originals that stand at the United States Navy Memorial in Washington. 


  Many of the old buildings, including the shipyards, have found new life since the base closed. The docks and dry docks are now privately owned and still actively servicing the giant cargo ships that come in and out of Charleston. 

  One of the old officer’s homes on the base has been turned into a restaurant. We enjoyed lunch on the terrace, looking out at river and listening to the banging and pounding and hissing of ships being worked on next door. 


And check out the view from our table!