Image: Carriage in front of theater.
Charleston Visitors Bureau via A
A couple takes a carriage ride in front of Historic Dock Street Theater, in Charleston, S.C.
updated 1/15/2005 11:21:36 AM ET 2005-01-15T16:21:36

For the 10th straight year, Charleston tops the unofficial list of the nation’s best-mannered cities.

“The people ... have such an affection for their city,” said etiquette expert Marjabelle Young Stewart, who started compiling her annual list 28 years ago and released the latest installment Friday.

“It’s the soft, gentle way of behaving, and they do it with such ease,” Stewart said from her home in Kewanee, Ill.

It’s the 11th time that Charleston, the South Carolina city of quiet alleys and picturesque gardens, has taken or shared top honors. The survey is based on letters and faxes to Stewart from the public and those who have taken her etiquette courses.

“When you pass people on the street, they will nod at you,” said Nicholas Fuqua of Tour Charleston, which conducts city walks.

“People who live here are, for whatever reason, polite. Whether it’s breeding or in the water, it’s hard to say,” he said.

Stewart said the military atmosphere in San Diego, which ranked second, helped make it one of the nation’s most polite cities.

Seattle was third on the list, followed by Peoria, Ill. Omaha, Neb., and the Quad Cities, which include Bettendorf and Davenport in Iowa and Moline and Rock Island in Illinois.

Hollywood, Fla., was seventh followed by Philadelphia, Houston and Salt Lake City.

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