Just two weeks ago, Charleston officials announced they're temporarily closing three of the four booths where palmetto roses are sold downtown amid safety concerns at the City Market.
Last summer, a teenager selling palmetto roses was arrested after a confrontation with a police officer, spurring officials to evaluate a program requiring purveyors to hold a permit from the city.
Those who live in Charleston or who have ever visited the Holy City have likely come across vendors selling the iconic roses — but how did the city become so involved in regulating them, and why is the program so controversial today?
The history of palmetto roses is a little fuzzy, but they likely date back a century or more. It wasn't until around the early 2000s that vendors began selling them around Charleston in large numbers. Then the city started requiring vendors go through a program and acquire a license to sell the roses. Today, some who have been making the roses since before the program existed don't understand why a license is mandatory.
In this week's episode, we're diving into more of the palmetto rose's history in South Carolina, and why there's so much tension surrounding them recently.