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Charleston Horse Power

Equine Culture in the Palmetto City

Christina Rae Butler

Published: Aug 22 2023




Published: Aug 22 2023

OA Ebook
Published: Aug 22 2023


The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

Discover the fascinating history and legacy of working equines in Charleston, South Carolina.

Featuring thorough research, absorbing storytelling, and captivating photographs, Charleston Horse Power takes readers back to an equine-dominated city of the past, in which horses and mules pervaded all aspects of urban life. Author, scholar, and preservationist Christina Rae Butler describes carriage types and equines roles (both privately owned animals and those in the city's streets, fire, and police department herds), animal power in industrial settings, regulations for animals and their drivers, horse-racing culture, and Charleston's equine lifestyles and architecture. Butler profiles the people who made their living with horses and mules—from drivers, grooms, and carriage makers, to farriers, veterinarians, and trainers.

Charleston Horse Power is a richly illustrated and comprehensive examination of the social and cultural history and legacy of Charleston's equine economy. Urban historians, historic preservationists, general readers, and Charleston visitors interested in discovering a vital aspect of the city's past and present will enjoy and appreciate this impressive work.

Listen to Christina Rae Butler on South Carolina Radio's Walter Edgar's Journal

Christina Rae Butler is professor of Historic Preservation at the American College of Building Arts in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston in the Historic Preservation and Community Planning Program. She is the owner/operator of Butler Preservation LLC, a private preservation firm engaged in cultural resource management in Charleston. Butler also works as a barn shift manager for Palmetto Carriage Works in Charleston where she cares for horses and mules, drives carriages, and trains new staff. She lives in Charleston.

"Christina Rae Butler's detailed study of horse culture and horse power in Charleston is a valuable addition to the growing literature on the changing role of horses in the city. It is especially significant because of Charleston's character as a southern regional hub. Butler's discussion of the role of African Americans in the Charleston horse world and their relation to white owners and competing immigrants is especially perceptive. I recommend it highly."—Joel A. Tarr, Carnegie Mellon University

"Christina Rae Butler has, once again, taken an otherwise unrecognized and certainly underappreciated element of Charleston's history and made it fascinating. Charleston Horse Power is an impeccably researched and terrifically informed work that exemplifies how central—and critical—equine activity really was within Charleston's urban economy."—J. Grahame Long, director of museums, Historic Charleston Foundation

"Christina Rae Butler has perfectly melded historical facts with her knowledge and love of horses. Covering all forms of horse power, Charleston Horse Power is a must read for anyone interested in learning how equines, along with their human counterparts, were, and in many ways still are, an integral part of the city of Charleston."—Jennifer McCormick, chief of collections and archivist, Charleston Museum

"Christina Rae Butler has written a wonderful book on a subject that is so unique yet common in our history. Her scholarship includes facts and statistics that are amazing in their scope. Butler includes rich stories of human and equine relationships that are very much a part of our modern life. As the City of Charleston moves to even more heightened levels of progress, carriage companies with their equine staff will adapt and continue to offer something incredibly special to the fabric of the city."—Tony Youmans, director of the Old Exchange Building

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