Most visitors to the Charleston Historic District explore the famous streets, either casually or by taking a guided tour. Along the way, several historic churches stand out including St. Philips Episcopal Church, the Circular Congregational Church on Meeting Street and the neighboring Unitarian Church and St. John's Lutheran Church, both located along Archdale Street.
Something most visitors and many residents do not know, however, is that there is a lovely walkway that connects these historic churches. Situated in the historic heart of Charleston and yet quite off the beaten path, Gateway Walk provides a respite from the busy main streets as it meanders through time-weathered graveyards and secluded gardens, much of the way in the quiet shade of moss draped live oaks.
The first civic project of the Garden Club of Charleston, Gateway Walk opened on April 10, 1930 in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of Charleston. The inspiration of former Garden Club president Mrs. Clelia Peronneau McGowan, following a visit to Paris where she enjoyed the quiet gardens of the city, Gateway Walk is one of Charleston's best hidden
Directions to Gateway Walk
Gateway Walk is located within three adjacent blocks Between Archdale Street at the western side, Church Street at the eastern side and Queen Street at the southern side. Street names along the northern border change from block to block. Moving west to east, they are Clifford Street, Horlbeck Alley and Cumberland Street.
There are several entry points to the walkway. If you wish to walk the full three blocks, it is best to begin on Archdale at the entrance next to St. John's Lutheran Church or on Church Street across from St. Philip's Episcopal Church. (I prefer to begin on Archdale Street because of the lovely views of the St. Philip's steeple when walking in that direction.)
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