Envisioned as the city’s future business hub and venue for prominent social events, the Francis Marion opened with great fanfare and excitement. It was Charlestown’s first hotel construction since 1850. At the time, it was the largest hotel in the Carolinas boasting 312 guestrooms, large ballrooms and dining room suites in the penthouse. Fireproof from basement to roof, the hotel offered automatic elevators, circulating ice water on ever floor and private baths. The elegant lobby offered brokerage services, a barber shop and beauty salon. Guests enjoyed the convenient King Street facing retail shops including a coffee shop, tour, airline and railway offices. According to a very dedicated employee, James LeRoy Riggins (48 years employed when last interviewed) room rates started at $1.50