(A Brief History of The Pineapple Fountain)
Charleston's history and charm are both very real on a stroll through its streets and alleyways. Its sights and sounds remind us of the “then and now.” The living history of Charleston is a large part of its charm—horses’ hooves clip-clopping on cobblestone streets, carriages used for sightseeing and the lapping of waves against the city shoreline. The smells of the salt air and the pluff mud of our marshes adds to that charm. The draw of all that pulls us to the waterfront where the current remnants of the maritime industry can be seen from many points along the battery and the side streets of East Bay.
At the Vendue Range end of Waterfront Park is the iconic Pineapple Fountain which represents -- for native and visitors alike -- the warm welcome and obvious hospitality of many a Charlestonian.
The Pineapple Fountain has stood tall on the waterfront since it was open to the public in May of 1990. It took a lot of planning, preparation, and prodding to launch and complete this elegant sign of Charleston’s hospitality.
Union Pier all the way down to the fancy house used to be just a bunch of burned out pilings of warehouse remains from the 1950’s. In the late 80's, Mayor Joe Riley created a rejuvenation plan. The Pineapple Fountain was part of this shoreline revamp for the areas of Charleston that would be on display and prominently seen by all.
But this wasn’t executed until almost a decade later.
The biggest question: Why a pineapple? Accepted legend has it that many of the captains of maritime day gone by would announce their return by the placement of a pineapple upon the front fence post. This signified not only their return but also their intent to share the stories of their adventures during the voyage. The use of such curious cargo was a reflection of where they had been and much of what they had experienced.
One of the most desired viewing spots is Charleston’s Waterfront Park. It allows our friends and visitors the opportunity to take leisurely strolls with their families through the quarter-mile length of the park. One can enjoy a quiet space on the greenway amidst the trees or a calming repose on the large sets of swings under the canopy next to the river. You might also wave to your friends taking one of the many river tours or out testing their skills in a sailboat.
Pineapples are a global sign of peace and hospitality and this is Charleston’s way of welcoming all!
~ David Joyner
(Photo Cred: Kristen Granet)