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Import-and-export building. Horrifying prison. Place of freedom. Site of the slave trade. Though The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon is but one building, it has served all of the above functions. Built in 1771, the original Exchange was a storehouse for a slew of goods that were to be sent abroad, and those that had arrived on American shores. The passing years saw its confines house the selling of slaves, and as the American Revolution became more and more fierce, a prison for Colonel Isaac Hayne. Blackbeard the pirate spent many months raiding the ships that carried Exchange goods from the harbor, including the hair dye that kept his obsidian beard from showing its blonde roots.
Today, the restored building acts as a museum, showing visitors the life led by early Americans vying for independence from England. Artifacts from the country's early years fill glass cases and rooms alongside exhibits detailing historic events. The Provost Dungeon, located in the building's basement, draws visitors of all ages into its darkened corridors, enabling them to feel a small, chilling portion of the dread its prisoners must have felt.