Posted by: Nic Butler, Ph.D. | 15 September 2008

Upcoming Program on “Butcher Town”

Charleston is an old city rich in colorful nicknames, but have you ever heard of a neighborhood called “Butcher Town“? Until the middle of the twentieth century, this phrase was often used to describe that part of the city where cattle and hogs were slaughtered for sale in the local markets. It was actually a sort of “movable feast,” if you will, the location of which changed several times over the course of more than two centuries. As you might imagine, the citizens who resided anywhere near—or downwind of—Butcher Town objected strenuously to the noise, stench, and waste emanating from the various slaughterhouses, and Charleston’s City Council struggled to find a balance between appeasing their complaints and sustaining this necessary business. After many generations of complaints about the unhealthy conditions and contamination created by the city’s urban cattle pens and slaughterhouses, however, the city finally shut down Butcher Town’s last incarnation—the City Abattoir—in 1949.

1888 advertisement for Charleston butcher Louis Seel

So where was “Butcher Town,” and how did its activities impact the health and environment of Charleston? For the answer to these and other sensational, even gruesome questions, please join me on Thursday, October 16th, at 7:00 P.M. for an illustrated program titled “Butcher Town: A Brief History of the Slaughter Houses of Early Charleston.”

To learn more details about this program, and to download a printable flyer for this program, please visit our Upcoming Events page.


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