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J.C. Long

Attorney, Developer, Benefactor

J.C. LongJohn Charles “J.C.” Long was born September 19, 1903 in Pensacola, Florida, and moved to Charleston with his family in 1918. Long graduated from Charleston High School and attended the University of South Carolina Law School, from which he graduated in 1925 with an LL.B. degree. An avid sportsman, Long was lineman and captain of the football team.

Long married Alberta Sottile of Charleston. They had two daughters, Joyce Carolyn, who is married to Charles P. Darby, Jr., and Mary Ellen, who is married to Charles S. Way, Jr. Long was the proud grandfather of ten grandchildren.

In 1931, Long built his first residential development. Located west of the Ashley River, this project launched what would be the start of a lifelong, successful career in real estate.

Long’s largest and most notable development came 13 years later, toward the end of World War II, when he purchased 1,300 acres of land on the Isle of Palms. His vision: to build affordable homes for returning veterans and their families. Nearly tripling the number of residences, Long transformed the island into a thriving community.

Throughout his career as a developer, he became a champion of accessible and cost-efficient housing development projects throughout the southeast.

An attorney, builder and adventurous entrepreneur, Long founded several organizations, including The Beach Company, a real estate development and investment firm based in Charleston. As a developer of real estate, Long eventually became the largest single property owner in all of Charleston County.

Another one of his many properties includes what is now known as the J.C. Long building, the first home to the College of Charleston School of Business. The building, which was originally leased to the Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company as an office space, was named for Long posthumously in 1987 when his family arranged for the conveyance of the building to the College.

Other contributions to the campus include the Sottile House — where Alberta grew up — and the Sottile Theatre, which was built by Alberta’s father in the 1920s and now serves as a performance and event venue for the College and the community.

The Longs were long-time friends of the College, and their family remains so to this day. His grandson, Charles P. “Buddy” Darby III, CEO of Christophe Harbour Development Co., is the chair of the School of Business Board of Governors and has been a guiding force in establishing and upholding the School’s priorities over the years.

Long’s business acumen transformed Charleston, inspired generations of business students and traversed generations. His grandson John C.L. Darby is the current president and CEO of The Beach Company and his son-in-law Charles S. Way, Jr. serves as chairman.

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