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Charleston's Marion Square, the Citadel, and Francis Marion

Updated: May 7, 2024

When you are visiting Charleston, you will surely pass Marion Square. Located on Meeting and Calhoun Streets, it occupies a central location in Charleston's Downtown area. The famous Food and Wine Festival, as well as the Spoleto Arts Festival take place there every year. Marion Square is not only known for people coming to get tasty bites from world renowned chefs and to sip on vintage wines, or where Christmas trees are placed in December.

In fact, Marion Square is the old parade ground of The Citadel, the Military College in SC. The Embassy Suites hotel is actually the old school building of The Citadel.  Marion Square will always be an open place for the citizens of Charleston and can never be built upon.  Learn more about The Citadel by joining our Historic Charleston Tour and our Civil War Tour.

Marion Square and The Francis Marion Hotel are both named after Francis Marion, aka the Swamp Fox. He is the man in the 1770s who is credited and known for his guerrilla warfare tactics. Did you know he actually ended up out of a window of a home on Orange Street in downtown Charleston and came to land on the sidewalk outside and broke his ankle? The question of if he was drunk or just appalled at the drinking that was going on around him surrounds the mystery. It was said that Francis Marion took part of the Temperance Movement.

For those of you who have seen the movie The Patriot, Mel Gibson’s character is loosely based on Francis Marion. In fact, some scenes of the movie were filmed right here in Charleston. Check out The Cistern at the College of Charleston - it should look familiar; it’s been used in a few movies, including The Patriot and Cold Mountain. They even covered parts of Church Street with fake ballast stones and straw for scenes from Cold Mountain (they also used The Cistern) starring Jude Law and Natalie Portman.

Another movie, The Notebook, was filmed a couple of blocks south of Marion Square. For that movie, business owners along Broad Street had to vacate their businesses for a few hours of each day so set designers could put up 1940’s facades and signs and make the love story come alive.

++Learn more about Charleston on our famous name-your-own-price walking tours. We look forward to showing you around!++

About The Author

Scott Nelson

Scott has led over 2,000 tours of Charleston and has more than 1000 5 star reviews. He started working in museums at the age of 16 (Unsinkable Molly Brown House) and hasn't looked back. He was the Executive Director of Heurich House and on the historic interpretation/ education staff at Mount Vernon, both in Washington DC, for over 6 years. Scott moved to Charleston in 2012 for a job with the Historic Charleston Foundation and began leading tours for Free Tours by Foot.
Updated: May 7th, 2024
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