In the late 1800s, the Kanawha and Michigan Railroad built a rail yard on Smith Street. For several decades, it bustled with commerce important to the growth of Charleston, West Virginia.
In the late 1900s—the rail yard having fallen into disrepair—a new vision for Smith Street was born. A vision that included a renewal of the once-vital commerce, and something else—the creation of an anchoring place for the people of Charleston; a tourist attraction, a premier shopping destination and a social hub for the community – this is where Capitol Market traditions began in 1997.
Now, more than 100 years after the rail yard’s construction, Capitol Market stands. The old transfer dock is now home to a year-round outdoor market and an eclectic collection of indoor shops featuring fresh fish, meat & produce; books, wines, chocolates, West Virginia Foods & Things and one of the city’s most popular restaurants.
Capitol Market is an old friend now, helping to anchor the Warehouse District and city and providing a place to share our very best with each other and with visiting neighbors. It is a gathering place, a daily meeting space; where we greet friends, build each other up and take out-of-town guests when we want to show off Charleston!
The traditions at the market are as varied as our community–Saturday morning coffee, daily business lunches, after-work shopping, weekend excursions with the kids, and more. Christmas tree shopping, picking pumpkins, spring garden planning and stocking up on fresh summer produce are all part of the Capitol Market experience.
The Market has its own traditions as well. Over the years, Capitol Market has helped raise thousands of dollars for dozens of charity and civic organizations. By improving upon Capitol Market each year, it will remain a central part of the traditions Charleston holds dear.