4. The Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston’s Dock Street Theatre was first built in 1736, the first purpose built theater in what became the United States. It burned down in 1740, was rebuilt, and then demolished in the 1780s, replaced with a hotel named the Planter’s Hotel, one of the most luxurious in the United States. Charleston society frequented the inn, including the wealthy merchants and shipbuilders of the town and the rice and cotton planters from upstate when they visited the city. Prostitution flourished there, and a young woman named Nettie Dickerson, originally from upstate, plied her trade in the hotel. She was despised by the women of the city, and as she grew older her business slowly dwindled. Stories differ depending on who is relating her legend, but she either fell from the balcony of the hotel or was electrocuted when its iron railing was struck by lightning during a thunderstorm.
In the 1930s the building again became the Dock Street Theatre, and Nettie Dickerson has ever since been reported to be in the building, wearing the bright red dress which was a mark of her profession her working days. She is said to be unattractive in appearance, wild-eyed and sad, and is nearly always said to be on the second floor. Nettie is not the only ghost claimed to have been seen in the building, some have reported the ghost of Junius Brutus Booth (brother of John Wilkes Booth) watching performances from a seat in the balcony. Other ghosts have been reported wandering the stage, which didn’t exist at the time which the ghost’s clothing indicates was their lifetime. Essentially a brothel for many years, the Dock Street Theatre is open to the public for tours when performances aren’t scheduled, and it is one of several properties in Charleston which are said to be haunted.