July 13, 1967 was an exciting day in Charleston. Located in the “barrel-vaulted” basement of a C&S Bank facility on Broad Street, the new Hunley Museum was to be dedicated that afternoon. A branch of The Charleston Museum (CM), its central feature would be a full-scale model of the historic H.L. Hunley submarine.
Growth of the U.S. nuclear submarine fleet at Charleston in the 1960s had enhanced local appreciation of the original H.L. Hunley’s role in the history of underwater warfare. C&S Board Chairman Hugh C. Lane, Admiral Neil Dietrich, and CM Director Milby Burton helped generate interest in building a model of H.L. Hunley based on the most reliable information known at the time. This was accomplished at the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Technical Education Center (now, Trident Technical College).
Now, at last, it was finished! Carried on a large flatbed truck, the model left the Center around mid-morning, stopped at the Naval Base “to salute her modern counterparts,” and arrived at its destination around noon. Hoisted from the flatbed by a crane, it was carefully lowered, then slid inside its new home under the careful watch of numerous local citizens. Following a grand 1:00 p.m. luncheon at the Francis Marion Hotel, more than 200 notables and dignitaries joined observers who had already gathered at the new museum to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Offering this wonderful model, complemented by paintings, a button-operated sound unit and small displays, the Hunley Museum attracted 3,078 visitors during its first three weeks of operation.
Note from the Archivist: We need your help identifying individuals in these photos! Please contact Jennifer Scheetz if you have information. Thank you!