Three hundred years ago it was an Indian trade route known as Broad Path. Today, it is an upscale shopping and tourist destination – and the focus of a class at the College of Charleston. Dale Rosengarten, a curator of Special Collections in Addlestone Library, is teaching “King Street as a Classroom,” and as part of the course, the students will host a panel discussion on Thursday, January 24, 2013, that explores the social and economic history of King Street. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Jewish Studies Center (Arnold Hall, 96 Wentworth Street). Refreshments will be served.

Panelists include 11 long-time King Street merchants: Elza Alterman, Henry Berlin, Nicky Bluestein, Joe Chase, Charles Goldberg, Sam Kirshtein, Maurice Krawcheck, Bernard Mendelson, Burnet Mendelsohn, Andy Slotin, and Joe Sokol.

King Street in 1872

King Street in 1872

“King Street serves as an axis on which to reconstruct Charleston’s economic and ethnic history,” says Rosengarten. The course focuses on the years between 1880 and 1940, when upper King Street experienced an influx of immigrants, notably East European Jews, Italians, Greeks, Chinese, Lebanese, Germans, and Irish. “My students will produce term papers and multi-media projects documenting a particular building, business, or family, and the January 24th panel will introduce them to several prospective interviewees all at once.”

In “King Street as a Classroom,” students study King Street from its rise and decline as a commercial artery, to its modern incarnation complete with trendy restaurants, galleries, and boutiques. Students will research their chosen subject  through tax and property records, city directories and archival collections. Then, they will create new documentation by taking photos and recording interviews with store owners, residents, or their descendants.

Rosengarten says, “Several merchants or former merchants are also auditing the class, so we have experts in residence at every session.”

For more information, contact Dale Rosengarten at or 843.953.8028.