Historic Beaufort Foundation earns major honor for exterior renovation of the John Mark Verdier House

Historic Beaufort Foundation’s extensive 2021 exterior renovation of the John Mark Verdier House on Beaufort’s Bay Street earned Preservation South Carolina’s prestigious Stewardship Award July 13.

Built in 1804, the 13,000-square-foot Federal style building used era-appropriate shipbuilding techniques, with beams and hand-cut boards laid horizontally. Slated for demolition by Beaufort city officials in 1944, a group of Beaufort residents rallied to save it and it opened as a house museum in 1975.

Since 1990, Preservation South Carolina has saved historic homes, helped businesses process historic tax credit opportunities, and enforced easements. They also focus on the preservation of rural-historic churches, the revitalization of smaller community’s downtown areas through historic preservation, and the saving of historically significant Black landmarks across the state.

Each year the organization celebrates exceptional preservation work across South Carolina.

“The Verdier House is one of the best-known properties in Beaufort’s National Historic Landmark District, and this award continues to validate our work to preserve and protect the Verdier House,” said Cynthia Jenkins, executive director of HBF and a nationally-known preservationist.

The award-winning restoration took place during 2021 and addressed decades-long weather damage along with changing the home’s exterior paint scheme to reflect its original construction more accurately.

“This was painstakingly-detailed work, most of it by hand, and what we see now is as close as possible to what John Mark Verdier saw when he completed construction of the house more than two centuries ago,” Jenkins said. Recent analysis and study of the Verdier House’s tabby foundation shows it was the first use of Roman cement in South Carolina, Jenkins said.

Roman cement is a substance developed by James Parker in the 1780s and patented in 1796. It was a natural cement made by burning certain clay deposits and then grinding them to a fine powder. This product, made into a mortar with sand and mixed with water, set in minutes and stayed strong for decades or longer.

Greenville-based Preservation South, LLC was brought in to plan and manage the Verdier restoration project in concert with the Historic Beaufort Foundation. Greenbuild, a contractor, and Positive Outlook Painting, both also from Greenville, were hired to undertake the work.

The entire exterior envelope of the building was scraped by hand to remove loose and flaking paint as well as determine if the substrate was solid or in need of replacement.

The building was then primed and repainted in a period scheme supported by expert paint analysis.

The scored block pattern original to the foundation was recreated in paint on the tabby foundation. Only two small sections of the original scoring are visible today. These were used to recreate the layout using classical ratios. Once the design and size of the blocks were finalized, the pattern was meticulously laid out on the foundation and painted by hand.

Also, wood fence panels under the front steps and a gate in the form of a fence section were re-created from historic photos to bring back long-missing character-defining features of the house.

“This project was years in the making and serves as an example for other historic properties in Beaufort to be brought back to their historic appearance,” said Wayne Vance, chairman of the Historic Beaufort Foundation Board of Trustees.

“The amount of research that went into this project is truly amazing, and the detailed craftsmanship of the renovations were executed to the highest historic preservation standards,” he said.

 

HBF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education foundation. For more information on the Foundation’s mission and history, please visit historicbeaufort.org and follow them on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.

 

Historic Beaufort Foundation Summer Sale to feature furnishings, decorative arts and more July 29-30

A demi-lune mahogany Sheraton-style sideboard, English Chippendale-style oval dining room table with carved claw and ball feet, a mid-19th century mahogany flame-front chest of drawers with elaborately carved legs with lion paw feet, a tall post canopy bed with a raised panel headboard and other prized items donated over the years to the Historic Beaufort Foundation will be featured in a July 29-30 Summer Sale in downtown Beaufort.

“At our Summer Sale, we’ll be offering to the public a number of unique finds that have been donated to the Foundation over the years for our use, without any restrictions,” said Lise Sundrla, assistant director at Historic Beaufort Foundation. “These are items given to us for the benefit of the Foundation to use or to sell and are not part of our Verdier House collection.”

The event is set for July 29-30 at the Best Western Sea Island Inn on Bay Street in downtown Beaufort, from noon to 4 p.m. on July 29 and then 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 30. Admission is free to the sale. Sale items include furnishings, decorative arts, books and publications, art and more.

“We have some beautiful pieces in this sale, but we’d much rather they find a good home than stay in climate-controlled storage with us,” Sundrla said.

Delivery options will be available at the sale if needed, or buyers are welcome to take their purchases directly home themselves.

Proceeds from the sale will support Historic Beaufort Foundation’s work to preserve, protect and present sites and artifacts of historic, architectural and cultural interest across Beaufort County.

HBF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education foundation. For more information on the Foundation’s mission and history, please visit historicbeaufort.org and follow them on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.

 

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