Charleston comes to Chester

Why is Charleston, S.C., called the “Holy City”? What was the “Mosquito Fleet”? Why is that dance called the “Charleston”? What connects Charleston and Minneapolis?

Henry C. Fogle has the answers for you. He is passionate about Charleston, his hometown. Born and raised in a home on Water Street in the historic district, he has now been a resident of Chester for 35 years. He still returns to Charleston often and will be sharing his experiences and extensive knowledge of the area in a new    Adventures in Learning class presented by the Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield, beginning March 16 at the Chester Baptist Church.  Over the years, Fogle has collected over 1,000 postcards of Charleston sights and will be using some of these in his class.

His intent in these Wednesday morning sessions is to enlighten people about Charleston, not just Ft. Sumter and the gardens but about the early walled city, the colonists’ interaction with the local Kiawah Indians, and the importance of this port city throughout American history.   For instance, you may not know that Charleston was a port of embarkation for our troops in WWI and, to a greater degree, in WWII. Our troops traveled by ship to the European war zone, while 15 hospital ships constantly ferried injured troops from Europe to Stark General Hospital, a new hospital built jointly by the city and federal government.

Fogle recounts some unique memories. “I used to lie in bed in the morning and listen to the hucksters ‘sing’ their wares (fresh fish and shrimp) through the streets,” he says. “It was a sing-song sound.” His eyes sparkle as he goes on to talk about how these “street criers” participated in the annual Azalea Parade, decorating their carts and competing for a prize with their “songs”. He learned his way around town by delivering morning and afternoon newspapers, sampling Japanese plums from various yards as he went. “People didn’t mind as long as you didn’t break any branches,” he says.

Fogle left Charleston at 20 to attend LeTourneau College in Longview, Texas.  Graduating with a degree in Chemistry and newly married, he completed graduate work in Oklahoma and joined Allied Chemical, working for them in Baton Rouge, La., Raleigh, N.C., and then Chester. He and his wife, Doris, raised 3 daughters while he worked toward a Masters Degree in Industrial Toxicology from the University of San Francisco, commuting cross-county to do so.

Now retired, he plays tennis regularly and continues collecting postcards. He wants to find postcards of all the hospital ships which traveled in and out of the Charleston port during WWII.

For details about this and other classes in the Adventures in Learning Spring Session, go to www.shepctrchesterfield.org or call 706-6689.

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