Hunley tickets sell out; additional dates possible


Tuesday, October 3, 2000

Of The Post and Courier staff


     The hottest ticket in Charleston sold out in four hours Monday when all 6,150 passes to see the Confederate submarine Hunley were snatched up via telephone and the Internet.
     Orders came from as far away as Germany and California.
     "Obviously we geared up for a surge, but never a surge of this nature," Warren Lasch, chairman of Friends of the Hunley, said Monday at a press conference.
     With demand this great, Hunley officials are thinking about adding more weekends, or possibly opening the sub's conservation lab on Thursdays and Fridays.
     A decision, though, is at least two weeks away. Meantime, Lasch asked the public to be patient.
     For those lucky enough to get tickets, the viewing begins Oct. 14 and continues for at least the next four weekends.
     The $10 passes officially went on sale at 9 a.m. Monday, but by mid-morning, The Post and Courier and other local media were receiving numerous complaints that both the Internet Web site ( and the toll-free telephone ticket number (1-888-202-3849) were jammed.
     That means hundreds of requests never got through.
     If no additional dates are added, officials warn that the public may have to wait until spring - when the opening of the sub is completed - before they will be allowed back into the lab.
     Signs of increased decay already are showing up on the Hunley, including the presence of oxygen and algae growth that can damage the artifacts inside the sub, including bone matter and clothing.
     When the tours begin at Warren Lasch Conservation Center, security will be tight. Visitors will be required to walk through a metal detector, and no video or still cameras will be allowed inside.
     The schedule is for the lab, located inside the old Charleston Navy Base in North Charleston, to be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturdays and from noon until 5 p.m. on Sundays.
     Each tour will last about 20 minutes and be limited to 30 people.
     Hunley officials say they have also heard rumors of tickets being scalped on the Internet. They warn that the tickets are nontransferable and will be checked against the purchaser's driver's license.
         After about five to 10 years of preservation, the Hunley submarine will be put on display at the Charleston Museum.


Used with permission of The Post and Courier and Charleston.Net

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