By Joshua Hatter, special to Charleston Currents | When most people think of Charleston, they think of it as one of the best “new” places to go visit (or move to!) with historical architecture, friendly people, delicious cuisine and beautiful beaches. And while tourism has become a booming industry for the city and the surrounding region, most people don’t realize that the statewide economic impact of defense spending of $19.3 billion now exceeds tourism spending in South Carolina of $19.1 billion.
That statistic may come as a surprise, but I can guarantee everyone has heard about some part of Charleston’s long and rich military history – whether it was the siege of Charleston during the American Revolutionary War, the first shot of the Civil War being fired at Fort Sumter or, more recently, the U.S. Navy’s presence at the Charleston Naval Base from 1901 until its closure in 1996. That base closure in 1996 was a very visible change in the region’s operational military footprint.