South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

Old Slave Mart, Charleston County (6 Chalmers St., Charleston)
S1081771009001 S1081771009002 S1081771009003
Facade Right Oblique Left Oblique

(Ryan’s Mart) The Old Slave Mart was originally a commercial building used for slave trading and other transactions from 1853 until the Civil War. The stuccoed building with its rounded arch entrance is a visual reminder of commercial activities of antebellum South Carolina. The building is probably the only extant building used as a slave auction gallery in antebellum South Carolina. The building, built in 1853, has elements of Gothic and Romanesque Revival architecture with its massive octagonal pillars and arched entrance. Built for former Charleston sheriff and alderman Thomas Ryan, the Mart was also used by other principal brokers (auctioneers) of the time. Alterations include extension of the rear of the building about 22 feet in 1922. In 1937 a wooden fašade was inserted within the arch, a second floor added below the original roof, and the tile roof replaced with a tin roof. Following the Civil War, the building was used as a tenement house and about 1922 was converted into an automobile salesroom. Old Slave Mart Museum was established in 1937. The Mart originally included two additional lots and three additional buildings, a jail or “Barracoon” to house slaves prior to sale, a kitchen, and a morgue. The back two lots were cut off in 1875 and the jail, kitchen, and morgue were demolished in the 20th century. Listed in the National Register May 2, 1975.

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