The Hunley is one of the most unique pieces of living history in existence: the first submarine to successfully sink an enemy warship, and she did it more than fifty years before the event was successfully replicated! The sub currently resides at a research lab in North Charleston, SC, on what was previously the Naval Station. The sub is only open to visitors on weekends as it is an active lab during the week. Admission is currently $12. A few caveats: due to the tank the sub is immersed in, it is difficult to photograph. The tank is also surrounded by clear partitions that cause reflections that make photography even more difficult. And the sub is currently soaking in a chemical bath intended to loosen the concretion around the hull, making visibility even more daunting. And North Charleston is not the best part of town to viist.
However, the tour guides are energetic and informative, the exhibits outside the tank include replicas built for the TV movie about the sub, which allow you to see just how cramped and dark it really was for the crews. The Hunley continues to slowly give up her secrets, and perhaps one day her complete story will be known. Until then go see this piece of living history up close, and marvel not just that they were able to use this tiny submersible to sink an enemy warship, but that they even had the courage to try.
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