The Isle of Palms Trolley

Today, we complain about the traffic we encounter on the bridges while getting to Charleston’s beaches. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries there were few bridges, and visitors to Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms had to take a trolley across Cove Inlet in Mount Pleasant to reach what was then called, “Atlantic City of the South.”

A plank bridge, built on barrels across Cove Inlet, from Mount Pleasant to Sullivan’s Island, was built during the Revolutionary War. In 1864, the crew of the H.L. Hunley crossed this footbridge on the way to Breach Inlet to test dive the submarine. A trolley bridge was built in the 1890s to accommodate the growing number of visitors to the area.

After travelling to Charleston, visitors boarded the Mount Pleasant Ferry, docked at Cumberland Street. From Mount Pleasant, beach-goers boarded the trolley to cross the Inlet and reach Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms.

In 1926, the Cove Inlet Bridge opened and cars were able to travel between Mount Pleasant and the beaches. The trolley was no longer convenient and was soon only an interesting part of our area’s history.