Mount Pleasant Magazine May/June 2018
59 www.MountPleasantMagazine.com | www.ILoveMountPleasant.com | www.BestOfMP.com feature crew often crossed onto Sullivan’s Island at night to run test dives. TROLLEY SERVICE As Charleston was slowly rebuilding after the Civil War, “Long Island” was sold in 1897 to a group of investors that included Dr. Joseph S. Lawrence. “Through Lawrence’s energy and brilliance, the former wilderness island was transformed and renamed Isle of Palms,” Miles wrote. His vision to bring visitors to a new resort on the Isle of Palms included a ferry that would transport people from Charleston to Ferry Street in Mount Pleasant – near today’s Alhambra Hall. They then would take a trolley over the Pitt Street Bridge, across Sullivan’s Island and onto Isle of Palms. This meant building the first bridge over Breach Inlet, no small feat considering the inlet’s strong currents. Miles remarked that, amazingly, everything was built in less than one year and opened in 1898. “From the grand opening onward, literally thousands of people flocked to Isle of Palms each day, so much so that within a week after the resort’s grand opening, the ferry and trolley lines had to increase the number of trips on their schedules,” Miles wrote. The electric trolleys were luxurious, made with mahogany and leather seats. Today, the streets along Sullivan’s Island are named for the trolley stations. The trolley bridge spanned Cove Inlet from 1898 until 1927. In 1923, the wooden bridge was widened to allow enough room for cars. In 1927, the trolley was replaced by a vehicle bridge known as Pitt Street Bridge. When the Ben Sawyer Bridge opened in 1945, the Pitt Street Bridge closed. In 1950, Charleston County deeded the bridge to the town of Mount Pleasant, and it was converted into a fishing pier. Although most of the old bridge burned in a fire, a section remains intact, and visitors who walk to the end of the promenade can still see the pilings lined up across the water. PICKETT SIGNS Today, a marker officially designates the spot as Pickett Bridge Recreation Area. The sign reads: “Dedicated in honor of Dr. Otis M. Pickett and Mrs. Ruth Pickett in recognition of their lifetime of service to the citizens of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.” Dr. Otis Pickett and his wife, Ruth, had been childhood sweethearts since 1936 when they got married in 1944. The doctor walked from his home on Sullivan’s Island, over the Pitt Street Bridge, to his office located next door to the Pitt Street Pharmacy. Ruth worked alongside her husband at the doctor’s office for 40 years. In the book “Mount Pleasant: The Friendly Town,” Mary-Julia C. Royall wrote: “Here Dr. Otis Pickett Jr. treated old and young, black and white, rich and poor.” With historical significance that spans more than 200 years, hopefully its role as a public park will ensure that this spot can be enjoyed for generations to come.
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