West Ashley is one of the six distinct areas of the city proper of Charleston, South Carolina, with an estimated population of 70,000. Its name is derived from the fact that the land is west of the Ashley River. A few skirmishes took place there in the American Revolution and some military activity took place here during the Civil War. There were several earthworks here in the Civil War, including those at
Fort Bull near present day Bees Ferry Road, and those at Rantowles Creek, also home to a Revolutionary War Skirmish. At a nearby neighborhood known as Red Top, there was a Civil War railroad and phosphate mines.
West Ashley is noted as the birthplace of Charleston as English colonists established the first permanent
settlement in the Carolinas there in 1670. The 663-acre area where the settlers first stepped ashore along the banks of the Ashley River has been preserved as a state historic site known as Charles Towne Landing which features Charleston’s only zoo, beautiful gardens and a reproduction seventeenth century sailing vessel among other historical and educational amenities.
West Ashley’s proximity to Charleston’s historic, dining and entertainment center has not kept it from developing its own character and amenities. Scattered among its many fine neighborhoods are pockets of dining and shopping that range from chic boutiques to large regional malls. It is very popular with families and some areas, such as The Crescent, are home to some of the area’s oldest and most well-to- do families.