Zig Zag Alley

Historic Zig Zag Alley has caused quite a bit of confusion in old Charleston over the years, as historians differ on the origin of its name. The name first appears in city directories in the early 1800's, and presumably came from the winding direction of the little lane off Atlantic Street. At the time, however, there were a number of seamstress businesses located on the alley, and by the early 1800's they were using a very popular means of hemming called the Zig Zag stitch. Adding to the confusion today is the fact that the city of Charleston has removed the old Zig Zag Alley sign, and a sidewalk plate lists the alley as Lightwood Street. Lightwood's Alley was actually prependicular to Zig Zag Alley, and down in the next block, so the current plate is wrong in name and location. Such is the nature of Charleston, where local families have answered inquiries for directories over the years by saying, "you can't get there from here".

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