Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Cynthia Jenkins, Exec. Director, Historic Beaufort Foundation

843-379-3331

 

Hundreds of guests mingled among the oaks and gardens of Pam and Drew Scallan’s historic home on Bay Street overlooking the Beaufort River May 11 for Historic Beaufort Foundation’s Lafayette Soiree.

The Scallans graciously shared their gorgeous setting with HBF to celebrate a year of successes and continued challenges in preserving and protecting Beaufort’s historic and architectural heritage. Our hosts, Katie and Matt Phifer and Katie and Scott Huebel, organized a fantastic evening for all.

This annual showcase brings together people from the Lowcountry to celebrate the work and mission of HBF in a casually elegant garden setting where we’ve been blessed with near-perfect weather in recent years.

This year’s Soiree helped raise funds and awareness of continued renovation and restoration of HBF’s flagship property— the John Mark Verdier House, ca. 1804, an essential part of Beaufort’s history and an integral part of Bay Street for 220 years.

On behalf of HBF, I’d like to thank the sponsors who helped make the evening such a success, led by Modern Jewelers, our presenting sponsor celebrating their 75th business anniversary. Bar Sponsors included Phifer Contracting Services, The Marjorie F. Trask Family, and Grayco.

Stage Sponsors were First Federal, JH Hiers, and George Trask, Graham Trask and Distant Island Company LP. Cocktail Hour Sponsors were Bay Point Dock & Marine, Bezilla Kinney Phifer Wealth Management, Harvey & Battey, The Kincheloe Family, Montgomery Architecture & Planning, Savannah Hardscapes, Tumlin Levin Sumner Wealth Management, and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.

The Bluff Sponsors included Ty O’Farrell – Farm Bureau Insurance, Lyles & Assoc., Heubel Consulting & Events, HB Stems Floral & Event Design, Lowcountry Produce Market & Café, TideWatch Vacations, Patel & Company CPA and SouthState Bank. The Oaks Sponsors were Atlantic Asphalt, LLC, Kinghorn Insurance, Lynn & Wheeler, and SK Digital & Associates.  

The Marsh Sponsors included Alpha Graphics, Beaufort Carts, Bill’s Liquors & Fine Wines, The Open Land Trust, Sea Island Tree Care, Southern Palmetto, Southern Tree Services and Royal Restrooms.

Restaurant Partners included Beck and Call, Breakwater Restaurant & Bar, Chicken Salad Chick, Firehouse Subs, Hamby Catering, Maggioni Oyster Company, Plums, Saltus River Grill & Hearth, Q on Bay, Sweet Cakes Bakery, and The Kitchen.

We also recognize and thank the many donors to our Silent Auction and the hardworking partners who helped ensure the event ran smoothly – AMIkids Beaufort, Beaufort High ROTC, U.S. Marine Corps, RedCap, City of Beaufort, First Presbyterian Church, Parish House of St. Helena and Beaufort County. 

Finally, my special appreciation to the committees, volunteers, our Board of Trustees and Board Chair Rob Montgomery for their leadership throughout the year and with this event.


Cynthia Jenkins,

Executive Director, Historic Beaufort Foundation

 

National experts weigh in on condition of Beaufort’s National Historic Landmark DistrictElementor #15938

National experts weigh in on condition of Beaufort's National Historic Landmark District

Beaufort’s 304-acre National Historic Landmark District retains “a high degree of integrity” but experts flagged concerns about the number of historic properties being demolished in the downtown commercial area as well as the Northwest Ouadrant.

The detailed report also cited a concern for how historic preservation ordinances and guidelines are applied in the city.

After an almost two-year study, commissioned and funded by the National Park Service the Condition and Integrity Study for the Beaufort Historic District, prepared by LG2 Environmental Solutions, Inc. and partner Ethos Preservation, provides suggestions for a path forward to ensure Beaufort retains its prestigious designation as a National Historic Landmark

The report documents changes that have occurred within and adjacent to the National Historic Landmark District since its designation in 1973.

“This was an exhaustive and deep-dive study of our Historic District and what has gone into protecting it -and what is needed to continue to protect the essential architectural and historic fabric that is at the heart of what makes Beaufort special. The need for a study of this type is not a good thing because it means the district has experienced inappropriate development that has diminished its significance and character,” said Cynthia Jenkins, executive director of Historic Beaufort Foundation.

The major study follows on the heels of the 2022 adoption of an updated Beaufort Preservation

Manual, also known as the Milner Report, which was first adopted by the city in 1979. The document details preservation practices and standards with regard to Beaufort’s architecture and development code.

“Despite changes to the buildings and landscape over time, the study found that the Beaufort National Historic Landmark District’s original contributing resources retain a high degree of integrity,” the National Park Service’s Condition and Integrity study said.

Significantly, this assessment revealed that the African American resources in the Northwest Quadrant have experienced the largest loss.

Today far fewer dwellings exist in the Northwest Quadrant and Old Commons and far fewer commercial buildings can be found on Port Republic and West Streets … The open lots and visual emptiness in areas that were once lined with residences, particularly within the Northwest Quadrant and Old Commons, is apparent,” the study said.

“A major purpose of this integrity study, however, was to examine and comment on ‘current and future projects and trends’ (authors’ emphasis) that may affect the integrity of the Beaufort National Historic Landmark District,” according to the report.

“The most problematic current trend is ongoing and planned infill construction of out -of-scale development projects with the Historic District and this trend is directly attributable to inconsistent manner in which the local historic preservation ordinance and the design guidelines are being applied to projects within the Beaufort National Historic Landmark District,” the report cites.

The study notes that the National Historic Landmark designation for Beaufort “hinges on the continued preservation of the district’s integrity, which is maintained primarily through the enforcement of regulations.”

The study offered recommendations for maintaining the district’s integrity including:

  • Renewed commitment on the part of the City, the Historic Review Board, and property owners to follow the established historic preservation ordinance and design guidelines;
  • Establish preservation education and training requirements for City planners and Historic
    Review Board members;
  • Consolidate the various historic preservation provisions in the City of Beaufort code into one historic preservation code;
  • Implement a sunset provision on structural demolition permits;
  • Update the Historic District listing;
  • Seek grants for African American and under-represented communities;
  • Ande seek additional assistance for property owners in the Northwest Quadrant.

As part of the study process, the National Park Service hosted forums bringing together representatives from the SC State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the City of Beaufort, Historic Beaufort Foundation and other local preservation professionals, major developers and landowners, parties with a demonstrated interest in the Historic District, and the community.

The full Condition and Integrity report can be found at https://parkpl

ng.nps.gov/docu

ment.cfm?parkID-423&projectID=105336&documentID=134996.

Historic Beaufort Foundation is a 501(3 nonprofit education foundation created to preserve, protect, and present sites and artifacts of historic, architectural, and cultural interest throughout Beaufort County, South Carolina. For more information on the entity’s mission and history, please visit historicbeaufort.org and follow them on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.

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Tickets selling fast for HBF Winter Lecture Series on Beaufort’s role in the American Revolution

Tickets selling fast for HBF Winter Lecture Series on Beaufort’s role in the American Revolution

Tickets are still available for three February talks hosted by Historic Beaufort Foundation in partnership with the University of South Carolina Center for the Arts. The 2024 Winter Lecture Series — Partisans, Patriots, and Founders focuses on Beaufort’s role in the American Revolution.

“Our Winter Lecture Series is one of the most popular educational offerings available about local history. The presenters are extremely knowledgeable in their field and have a compelling way of telling the stories of South Carolina and Lowcountry history,” said Cynthia Jenkins, HBF executive director.

Speakers include Dr. John McCardell, Dr. Lawrence Rowland and Dr. Stephen Wise. Admission to all the three lectures is $30 for HBF members, $35 for non-members, and full-time students with valid student ID can participate for $20.

Tickets for the event are available until sold out at https://historicbeaufort.org/. They may also be purchased the night of each event.

Lectures will cover:

  • February 1: The coming of the Revolution and the first shots – Dr. Lawrence S. Rowland and Dr. Stephen R. Wise
  • February 8:  Wartime state and the national governments and the fight for independence – Dr. John M. McCardell and Dr. Stephen R. Wise
  • February 15:  The war’s aftermath and a new beginning – Dr. Lawrence S. Rowland and Dr. John M. McCardell .

All the presentations will be held at the USCB Performing Arts Center on Carteret Street in historic downtown Beaufort.

Bios of the esteemed lecturers:

  • McCardell graduated from Washington and Lee University and earned his PhD in history from Harvard University. For his dissertation, The Idea of a Southern Nation, he earned the 1977 Alan Nevins Prize by the Society of American Historians. McCardell served as vice-chancellor of Sewanee: The University of the South from 2010 until June 2020.
  • Rowland is the Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History for the University of South Carolina, Beaufort, and previously held roles with USC as Professor of History and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College in New York and both his Master’s degree and Doctorate from the University of South Carolina. He has authored numerous books and articles about South Carolina and the Sea Islands.
  • Wise is director of the museum for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, his Master’s degree from Bowling Green State University, and his PhD from the University of South Carolina. He has written and edited several books and articles including Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running During the Civil War, and Gate of Hell: The Campaign for Charleston Harbor.

 

Historic Beaufort Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education foundation created to preserve, protect, and present sites and artifacts of historic, architectural, and cultural interest throughout Beaufort County, South Carolina. For more information on the entity’s mission and history, please visit historicbeaufort.org and follow them on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.

 

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A Message from the HBF Board of Trustees

A Message from the HBF Board of Trustees

Out with the old (negativism) and in with what we have always known to be true: Beaufort’s National Historic Landmark District is an abiding gift from Historic Beaufort Foundation preservationists and city fathers as early as the 1940s onward.

Names of community leaders long-gone worked together to found HBF when some of today’s most celebrated structures were threatened with demolition – first, the Verdier House (to make way for a parking lot), the Anchorage, the William Trescott House (to make way for a bank), the William Wigg Barnwell House, the Cuthbert House Inn (again for a parking lot), and more.

Bankers, homemakers, Realtors and then Mayor, Henry Chambers, came together to protect and preserve when urban renewal called for demolishing the old in the name of progress. HBF stepped in and funded the historic sites survey and prepared the nomination that led to the formation of our National Register Historic district in 1969 and establishment of our National Historic Landmark district in 1973. And the City of Beaufort created the Historic District Review Board and partnered with HBF to monitor and approve all changes in the district.

HBF has collaborated with thousands of property owners to preserve and protect structures throughout the City and today stands on the shoulders of community members who believe in the mission of preservation and protection. As the district is dressed in holiday finery, we at HBF pause to appreciate all that has been done to preserve our special town and the concerned leaders who have gone before us, including those who work hard every day to preserve our resources.

It is not an easy path. The struggle continues – there are wins and losses. As inappropriate, large-scale development challenges the city’ zoning laws including the Beaufort Preservation Manual (Milner) and knocks at the door even more loudly than it has in the past, much of the community recognizes a threat equal to that of the proposed demolitions of the 1940s-70s.

We value our current Board leadership – community activists from all walks of life – and our staff, all of whom come with impeccable preservation credentials. Interestingly, Executive Director Cynthia Jenkins’ Beaufort history began in the 1970s when she documented its historic resources in a book “Historic Resources of the Lowcountry.” She was HBF’s first executive director and was a part of the leadership that took the Landmark District to national recognition.

Additionally, assistant director Lise Sundrla was head of Beaufort’s Main Street program in the 1980-90s when our historic commercial district was recognized nationally as a model for preservation. Beaufort’s thriving tourist-driven economic engine is directly attributable to preservation.

As you walk or ride through the district this season, stop to remember the role HBF has played:

  • By including the predominantly African American (Northwest Quadrant) neighborhood in the National Register historic district nomination, HBF was among the first in the South to focus attention on this important chapter of Reconstruction Era Architecture.
  • Using HBF’s Revolving Fund, the foundation has independently restored or stabilized a range of structures from houses to grocers, to a lodge. Add to that houses, churches, and numerous other similar properties to which we have provided guidance and assistance and the positive impact of HBF’s advocacy and stewardship is evident in every block in the 304-acre historic district from small cottages to mansions.
  • 32 properties are protected by easements and covenants held by HBF that safeguard their historic integrity – including the ca. 1810s McKee-Smalls house, once owned by Civil War hero Robert Smalls.
  • Much of HBF’s preservation efforts focuses on work with individuals in renovations and stewardship of private property. Since the inception of the Historic Review Board in the 70s, HBF volunteers and staff – some of the leaders mentioned above – have spent hours every month with applicants and city staff reviewing projects and offering guidance and assistance. Until recently, this was formalized by HBF’s ability by city ordinance to recommend one seat on the city’s historic review board. That seat brought preservationists’ advocacy and knowledge to the table. Recently, three members of City Council quashed that ability with a text amendment to the Beaufort Code.
  • Through its collaboration with the City, Beaufort County and USCB, HBF has secured grant funding and resources for many hands-on projects as well as updated surveys, preservation guidelines, workshops, and a slew of endeavors too numerous to mention that benefitted the community. HBF staff has served on City zoning, comprehensive plan, master plan and preservation guideline updates, affordable housing, cultural district, technical review, and Reconstruction initiatives.

 

There are remaining challenges; meshing the Beaufort Preservation Manual (Milner) with the current city code; educating newcomers and old-timers to the importance of the historic district, encouraging them to play a role in its protection from inappropriate influences and development and a relaxed interpretation of zoning laws; and finally, ultimately motivating our citizenry to stand on the shoulders of scores who protected this town and be leaders in the movement.

As a 501 (c)3 membership-based preservation and education organization, our preservation efforts are achieved through the generous support of our members and donors.

Through preservation programs, HBF’s efforts have significantly increased the City’s tax base and made Beaufort one of the most livable small towns in America. You don’t have to be a preservationist to appreciate this beautiful community we cherish, but if you share our goals of continued protection of the district, join us in this worthwhile endeavor. Become a member or donate to our Advocacy Fund by going to www.historicbeaufort.org or calling 843-379-3331.

 

Best wishes for the holidays!

 

HBF Board of Trustees

Historic Verdier House open for free tours Dec. 1 for Beaufort’s “Night on the Town” festivities, 6-8 PM

Historic Verdier House open for free tours Dec. 1 for Beaufort’s “Night on the Town” festivities, 6-8 PM

Historic Verdier House open for free tours Dec. 1 for Beaufort’s “Night on the Town” festivities, 6-8 PM

The historic John Mark Verdier House on downtown Beaufort’s Bay Street will be open for free tours from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 1 as part of the “Night on the Town” festivities that kick off the holidays in Beaufort.

 The house museum, the only such property in Beaufort’s National Historic Landmark District, earned national recognition for its restoration in 2021. Earlier this year, the front door frame and surround was restored to its early 1800s appearance through painstakingly detailed work by master carpenter and restoration craftsman Chad Bond of Charleston.

 “Having the main floor of the John Mark Verdier House open without admission fees for Night on the Town is our way of welcoming people who might not otherwise be downtown or know about the house museum,” said Cynthia Jenkins, executive director of Historic Beaufort Foundation, owner of the property.

 Regular admission to the house museum is $10 ages 13 and up, children under 13 are free but must be accompanied by an adult. Special pricing is available for tour groups of 10 or more. The Verdier House is a BlueSTAR Museum, providing free admission to currently-serving U.S. military personnel and their families during summer months. 

Historic Beaufort Foundation also honors currently-serving U.S. military by offering free admission year-round. The Foundation also offers a Summer Camp for children ages 8-12 where participants can learn about Beaufort’s historic architectural legacy through hands-own activities. 

 Between 1801 and 1805, Verdier built his Bay Street house. He was a successful merchant and in 1795-96 was an original trustee for Beaufort College, which later became the University of South Carolina Beaufort.

 Verdier was joined on the Beaufort College Board of Trustees by Beaufort’s most eminent residents, Gen. John Barnwell, Col. Robert Barnwell, Maj. William Hazzard Wigg, William Elliott II, Stephen Elliott, Rev. Henry Holcombe, Dr. Thomas Fuller, Gen. John McPherson, Gen. John A. Cuthbert, John Jenkins Sr., William Fripp and John Bull, according to research by Lawrence Rowland, Alexander Moore and George C. Rogers Jr.

 His house features typical Beaufort Style architectural elements: It faces south, is built on a high tabby foundation, has a two-story pedimented portico and low-pitched hip roof.

 A 2012 repainting of the exterior brought the house back to ca.1863 when the color was a pinkish-tan.  At that time the house was occupied by the Union Troops as the Adjutant General’s Office for the duration of the war.  

In 2017, HBF launched the “Paint the Lady Campaign” with the goal of exterior repair and painting of the house. The decision was made to bring the house back to the period of its construction, ca. 1804, when the Verdier family resided in the home. Work began in 2020 and the exterior paint and clapboard repair was completed in 2021. 

That restoration earned the coveted Preservation South Carolina’s Stewardship Award in July 2022.

Historic Beaufort Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education foundation created to preserve, protect, and present sites and artifacts of historic, architectural, and cultural interest throughout Beaufort County, South Carolina. For more information on the entity’s mission and history, please visit historicbeaufort.org and follow them on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.

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Beaufort’s storied past told through architecture and gardens in HBF’s popular Fall Festival of Houses and Gardens, Oct. 21-22

Some of Beaufort’s most historic and gracious homes and properties will be opened Oct. 21-22 for the popular Historic Beaufort Foundation Fall Festival of Houses and Gardens.

Tickets are available online at https://historicbeaufort.org/. Organizers encourage early ticket purchases because these tours typically sell out, attracting visitors from across the country.

“Beaufort is fortunate to have property owners so willing to open their houses and gardens for public viewing like this,” said Cynthia Jenkins, executive director of Historic Beaufort Foundation. “Each year we have a wonderful mix of Lowcountry residents on the tour along with people from across the Southeast and even the country who want to experience this treat.”

The Saturday tour will lead visitors through an historic and architectural timeline dating from the 19th century and into the economic recovery of the early 20th Century.  

Berners Barnwell Sams House #1, ca. 1818

The original land grant for this property was made in 1764 to William DeVeaux, a Colonial-era planter and owner of Shaftsbury Plantation along the Savannah River. It was the first house built in town by Dr. Berners Barnwell Sams (1787-1855), a successful planter.

Originally a Federal style I-House, the structure faces South towards the river, away from the street. One of the earliest remaining features are the quoins on the east and west corners of the house; the B.B. Sams House #1 has the only example of this architectural detail in Beaufort. When renovated in the 1840s it took on a Greek Revival appearance with a Beaufort Style T-Plan and the addition of the two-story piazza with Doric-style piers.

The Josiah Knowles House, ca. 1878

This house was built around 1878 by Beaufort natives and freedmen Josiah Knowles and Cecelia Hamilton Knowles in a simple Beaufort Style with two identical rooms upstairs and downstairs with a central hall and staircase. Josiah served during the Civil War in the 33rd Regiment, US Colored Infantry, and became a shoemaker after he was discharged. The Knowles’s daughter, Henny Knowles, was lauded as Beaufort’s oldest citizen, passing away at age 104 in 1979. After Ms. Knowles’ death, the house fell into a state of disrepair and was sold out of the family in 1984.

A series of owners after Ms. Knowles did some work on the house, but it was not until it was purchased by Lois and Michael O’Brien in 2000 that a major restoration was done. Another renovation was undertaken by the current owner after she purchased the dwelling in 2016. The staircase with its balusters and newel post are also original to the house, along with the glass in the 9-over-9 lite windows in the four main rooms. The fireplace mantel in the master bedroom is also original to the house.

First African Baptist Church, ca. 1865, 1886

An early, simple Praise House once stood next door to this church in the open field to the north. A Baptist congregation made up of newly-freed slaves formed here in 1865 led by Rev. Arthur Waddell of Savannah. They eventually outgrew the Praise House and constructed the current church in 1886. Upon completion, the local newspaper noted that it was the first church in Beaufort built and paid for by an entirely Black congregation. Many prominent African American Beaufortonians attended this church, including Julius I. Washington and Robert Smalls, whose second marriage and funeral took place within its walls.

In 2007, the exterior of the church was restored to its Gothic Revival appearance and received the Historic Preservation Honor Award from the Palmetto Trust.

The William Henry Trescot House, ca. 1860, 1876, 1975

William Henry Trescot built this house on Barnwell Island in the Whale Branch River north of Beaufort shortly before the Civil War. A diplomat and historian, Trescot served as Secretary of Legation at London from 1852 to 1854 and was appointed assistant Secretary of State by President James Buchanan in 1860. In 1876, the Honorable William Elliott purchased and dismantled the house, brought it by boat to Beaufort, and erected it at 1011 Bay Street on the lot just west of to the George Parsons Elliott House,

Built in the Greek Revival style with typical Beaufort Style details including T-shape wings, the front façade is dominated by a two-story piazza, four bays wide, with each bay being a door allowing access onto the verandah. In the mid-1970s, Historic Beaufort Foundation was instrumental in saving the Trescot House from demolition by the Bank of Beaufort, which planned to build a new office between the Sea Island Motel and the George Parsons Elliott House. In 1975, HBF negotiated to have the structure relocated within Beaufort’s historic district to its current location. It was then restored by the Jack Treanor family.

The James Albert Kinghorn House, ca. 1909

This lot was previously occupied by a dwelling that burned in the Great Fire of 1907. Soon after, James Albert Kinghorn purchased the property and constructed this Neoclassic Period house in 1909. The Kinghorn family retained ownership of the house for nearly 50 years until it was sold to Richard and Elizabeth Miller.

The Millers sold the house to Peggy Conroy, mother of famed author Pat Conroy, who lived here until the early 1980s. Mrs. Conroy sold the house to Dr. Charlton Ogburn, author and noted Shakespearean authority. The house underwent a significant renovation in the late 1990s which included redoing plaster walls, adding trim, rebuilding the porches, and replacing the roof. Original elements which had been removed such as the pantry and second-story doorway configurations were returned. The staircase and bedroom mantles are original to the house. The brick walkways were reclaimed after they were discovered during removal of the concrete parking pads. The current owners acquired the home in 2016.

 Joseph Hazel House, ca. 1815, ca.1840

This two-story, five-bay wide frame house faces south atop nine-foot-tall brick piers. Originally one room deep on open brick piers with its two-story pedimented portico, the structure was added to in the mid-1800s and took on a later Federal Style appearance. The ground floor was enclosed while a two-story shed-style north addition and a parapet along the top of the two-story southern portico were also added at this time.

During the antebellum period, the house was occupied by Joseph Hazel, a successful Sea Island cotton planter who owned Hazel Farm and Distant Island. The house, along with the Dr. Joseph Johnson House (The Castle) between Federal and Craven Street, became Union Hospital #6 during the Civil War. Redeemed from the Federal government after the war, the property remained in the Hazel family until the death of Joseph Hazel’s granddaughter in 1936.

George Mosse Stoney House, ca.1790, ca.1840

The John Campbell painting of Beaufort in 1798 shows an early Federal style house, one room deep, on this property facing the Beaufort River. Dr. George Mosse Stoney (1795-1854), a physician and Hilton Head Island planter, is believed to have remodeled the dwelling into a Federal Period style circa 1840 by adding a pedimented two-stage portico to the south elevation and rooms on the north elevation to create the classic T-shaped Beaufort Style house.

Seized by the U.S. Direct Tax Commissioners during the Civil War, in 1869 the property was sold to Anna Pollitzer, wife of Moritz Pollitzer. A native of Austria, Mr. Pollitzer came to Beaufort during the Civil War from New York and established himself as a cotton merchant, later being elected Mayor of Beaufort. The property stayed in the Pollitzer family for five generations and served as the childhood home of another Beaufort mayor, the late Henry C. Chambers, a Pollitzer descendant.

The John Mark Verdier House, ca.1804

This prominent Federal style house, built by John Mark Verdier, displays exceptional architectural detailing and is one of the few remaining residential buildings on Beaufort’s commercial Bay Street. Symmetrical and in perfect balance, the house exhibits an incomparable archway in the central hall that is supported by Corinthian columns. Adam-style mantles and elaborate cornices adorn the principal entertaining rooms, including the second-floor drawing room and ballroom.

Thanks to the efforts of local citizens the house was saved, which led to the creation of the Historic Beaufort Foundation in 1965. The house was restored and opened to the public in 1975 and today is the only historic house museum in northern Beaufort County. Over six decades, the Foundation has continued its stewardship of the house.

Tickets for the Saturday, Oct. 21 tour are $65 for HBF members and $75 for non-members. The tour is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sunday’s tour and Southern brunch will showcase a 15-acre farmstead and former plantation nestled among pecan trees and mature live oaks less than half a mile from one of Beaufort’s busiest intersections.

Although Pick Pocket has enjoyed a lengthy agricultural history, it is especially significant for its contribution to the history of Beaufort’s truck farming industry which experienced a boom of prosperity in the early 20th century. What was once a thriving farm far from downtown Beaufort, Pick Pocket now sits in the midst of an urban environment.

The imposing two-story frame dwelling, which sits adjacent to the old Port Royal Railroad line (now the Spanish Moss Trail), is believed to have been constructed circa 1905, during the ownership of Charles K. Batchelder of Vermont. George W. Trask of Wilmington, NC purchased Pick Pocket in 1912, and his family went on to acquire vast parcels of Lowcountry land for farming and investment. Neil and Becky Trask were the last of the family to reside here.

Today the home features two-story front and rear porches with farm vistas, now comprising over 15 acres and many outbuildings, some of which were relocated from other sites. The owner received the Howard Danner Lifetime Achievement Award from HBF in 2008 for the restoration of Pick Pocket.

Tickets to the Sunday event are $130 for members and $150 for non-members of HBF. The Sunday brunch and tour are from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

All sales are final and the tours will be held rain or shine. The tours are sponsored by Modern Jewelers, Beaufort Carts, Montgomery Architecture & Planning, Gilbert Law Firm, Lowcountry Real Estate, Beaufort Air Conditioning, Berkshire Hathaway, and HomeFinders.

Historic Beaufort Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education foundation created to preserve, protect, and present sites and artifacts of historic, architectural, and cultural interest throughout Beaufort County, South Carolina. For more information on the entity’s mission and history, please visit historicbeaufort.org and follow them on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.

 

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Tickets on sale now for HBF’s popular

Fall Festival of Houses and Gardens, Oct. 21-22

Tickets are on sale now for Historic Beaufort Foundation’s popular Fall Festival of Houses and Gardens, set for Oct. 21-22.

“The Fall Festival of Houses & Gardens is the best time to experience Beaufort’s extraordinary setting and architecture as gracious property owners open their private homes and exquisite gardens to public view.” said Cynthia Jenkins, executive director of Historic Beaufort Foundation. “To witness the interiors of these houses and to walk their gardens is truly magical.”  

Tickets are available online at https://historicbeaufort.org/. Organizers encourage early ticket purchases because these tours typically sell out, attracting visitors from across the country.

The Saturday tour will lead visitors through an historic and architectural timeline dating from the 19th century and into the economic recovery of the early 20th Century.  Saturday highlights include the George Moss Stoney House, built ca. 1823 and remodeled in the 1840s; the Berners Barnwell Sams House, #1, ca. 1810; the Joseph Hazel House, ca. 1815-1820; and First African Baptist Church, ca. 1861. 

Another highlight is the John Mark Verdier House, which underwent a comprehensive exterior renovation in 2021 followed by a rare restoration in 2023 of the Federal Period door surround and entrance.

Tickets for Saturday’s tour are $65 for HBF members and $75 for non-members. The tour is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 21.

Sunday’s tour and Southern brunch will showcase a 15-acre farmstead and former plantation nestled among pecan trees and mature live oaks less than half a mile from one of Beaufort’s busiest intersections.

This property, which was the center of one of the Lowcountry’s earliest truck farming properties, includes  the impressive ca.1905 farmhouse with wraparound piazzas, a barn and packing shed now transformed for use as  an event venue  that maintains the property’s rich agricultural character and history. Join us for a rare glimpse at this important phase of Beaufort’s early 20th century economy and way of life.

Tickets to the Sunday event are $130 for members and $150 for non-members of HBF. The Sunday brunch and tour are from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

All sales are final and the tours will be held rain or shine.

Historic Beaufort Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education foundation created to preserve, protect, and present sites and artifacts of historic, architectural, and cultural interest throughout Beaufort County, South Carolina. For more information on the entity’s mission and history, please visit historicbeaufort.org and follow them on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.

HBF opens tickets for Spring Architects’ Tour May 18

March 1, 2023

Media contact: Lise Sundrla, Historic Beaufort Foundation at 843.379.3331 or by email to info@historicbeaufort.org

Photos: Exteriors and interior samples from homes on the Spring Architects’ Tour May 18

 HBF opens tickets for Spring Architects’ Tour May 18

Historic Beaufort Foundation is preparing for its annual Spring Architects’ Tour, set for Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with tours of houses in and around Beaufort.

This year’s tour features three of the Lowcountry’s most accomplished architectural firms – Frederick & Frederick Architects, Hefner Residential Architecture and Montgomery Architecture & Planning. The 2023 tour features contemporary homes that appeal to all generations wanting to experience Beaufort’s unique Lowcountry setting and style.

“Interpreting Beaufort’s architectural heritage in a 21st century style, the Spring Architects’ Tour gives the rare opportunity to peek inside the newest and best of Beaufort’s residential architecture,” said Cynthia Jenkins, Historic Beaufort Foundation’s Executive Director.

Advanced reservations are strongly recommended as this popular event tends to fill up quickly. Tickets are $60 for HBF members and $65 for non-members and may be purchased by calling HBF at 843-379-3331 or going online to www.historicbeaufort.org

Sponsored by Gilbert Law Firm, Beaufort Carts, J.H. Hiers Construction, Broad River

Construction, Phifer Contracting, Howell Builders, The Meridian Company and Powell Brothers Construction the tour represents the best in creative and contemporary Lowcountry residential architecture.

The Saturday tour will take visitors through five houses with examples of both modern and traditional contemporary architecture that appeals to all generations wanting to experience Beaufort’s unique Lowcountry setting and style. Throughout the tour, homeowners, architects, interior designers, builders and contractors will be on site to provide information and answer questions.

This year’s properties are located on Spanish Point, Islands of Beaufort, Cane Island, Lady’s Island and Distant Island.

2023 Architects’ Tour Properties

 Distant Island

Architect: Montgomery Architecture & Planning

Builder: Chuck Ferguson, The Meridian Company

Landscape Architect: Leah Bell

Located on a beautiful south-facing property overlooking Distant Island Creek, this new home was designed for clients who have a love for the water. A central vaulted living area overlooks the creek and allows southern light to fill the home throughout the day.

Although a primary goal for the owners was to downsize, a baby-grand piano is none the less a central feature of the home, nestled into the entry stair hall where it can be enjoyed. A detached garage with living quarters and home gym above flanks a central motor court.

Spanish Point

Architect: Montgomery Architecture & Planning

Builder: Owner built

Interior Designer:  Jennifer Ferrell, Riverside Designers

Landscape Architect: Daniel Keefer, Whitmore Jones Keefer

Located on a beautiful bluff overlooking the Beaufort River, this new home was designed for owners who have a deep appreciation of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Old growth cypress is featured throughout both buildings: the Main House with porches and pool terrace that take in sweeping vistas of Historic Beaufort and the Woods Bridge; and the River House, an accessory building with workshop and guest accommodations.

On this north facing property, a grand Stair Hall allows southern light to flood the core of the home throughout the day. All the primary living spaces are closely tied to the grounds and waterfront with a series of porches, terraces, and a covered pavilion which anchors the pool under two grand live oaks.

Cane Island

Architect: Frederick + Frederick Architects

Builder: Broad River Construction and Phifer Contracting Services

Interiors: Frederick + Frederick Architects

Included on our 2021 Spring Architects’ Tour while still under construction, this newly completed house sits on a bank above the Intracoastal waterway with a view to the southwest. The concept was to design a sustainable, resilient building that is a contemporary interpretation of the local vernacular houses. It serves as an example of how an environmentally focused design connects people to places in a hot, humid climate.

The family connects to the rhythms of nature by watching the sunset move sixty degrees between the summer solstice and winter solstice, seeing the twice daily tide change of seven to eight feet and hearing the sound of the water lapping on the beach.

This is a gathering place, a place to share time, to relax. A home-base from which to enjoy the pleasures of the Lowcountry: sailing, boating, fishing, golf. It’s luxurious and stylish; and it’s resilient and energy efficient. It’s a home built for hosting the whole family for the holidays and for enjoying a quiet, intimate moment as the sun sets over the marsh and river.

Islands of Beaufort

Architect: Frederick + Frederick Architects

Builder: Powell Brothers

A beautifully proportioned, modern interpretation of the dogtrot. The central space of the home (or dogtrot space) is the living, dining, kitchen and outdoor living spaces that have large windows and double doors to let the breeze funnel through. A big fireplace enters in the symmetrical vaulted space and has flanking glass doors that join the indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Lady’s Island

Architect:  Hefner Residential Architecture

Builder: Mitchell Brothers Construction

Interiors:  Elizabeth Newberry Interiors, and Elizabeth O’Herron Interiors

This 4,000 square-foot home reflects its largely wooded surroundings with its one-story expansive floor plan with pine floorboards throughout. Beautifully landscaped, the house focuses its occupants on multiple views of the property and the Coosaw River. The land and views are protected by the Beaufort County Open Land Trust.

HBF has prioritized tour participants’ and safety during the event. Per homeowner requests, masks may be required when inside the properties. Children under 13 are not allowed to tour the homes. Pets are prohibited on the tour and at tour sites.

Tickets are available online at www.historicbeaufort.org; by phone go 843.379.3331 or the day of the event at Tour Headquarters at the Arsenal, 713 Craven Street from 9AM to Noon. This is a self-driven tour. Tour sites and routes will be provided at check-in the day of the tour.

Historic Beaufort Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education foundation created to preserve, protect, and present sites and artifacts of historic, architectural, and cultural interest throughout Beaufort County, South Carolina. For more information on the entity’s mission and history, please visit historicbeaufort.org and follow them on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.

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Purchase Tickets

 

Opportunity to Speak Up

IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK UP WITH YOUR COMMENTS REGARDING THE CONDITIONS & INTEGRITY STUDY OF BEAUFORT’S NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK DISTRICT.

Almost two years ago, the National Park Service (NPS) embarked on a Conditions and Integrity Study of Beaufort’s National Historic Landmark DIstrict with the intent of assessing the district’s current condition, recognizing local preservation successes, identifying key threats and proposing guidance to ensure the “Integrity” of the historic district is retained. 

The Park Service announced this past week that the preliminary study is available for review and is offering a process for online comments to gain public input before finalizing the report. DEADLINE FOR PROVIDING PUBLIC COMMENT IS MARCH 11, 2023.

The Report identifies the following challenges that if not addressed threaten the integrity of our National Historic Landmark District. (PAGE 89 OF THE REPORT)

  • Visual Compatibility – there is concern regarding the visual compatibility of new buildings that is rooted in the enforcement and interpretation of adopted design review standards!
  • Adoption of a Form-Based Code – The new code has led to incompatible infill and – at times – conflicts with historic preservation ordinances as well as other ordinances and has resulted in a LOSS OF INTEGRITY OF SETTING, DESIGN & MATERIALS.
  • Other City Ordinance and Policies Require Revision – Ordinances and policies as currently written do not always contribute to the District’s integrity and preservation.
  • Loss of Integrity of Association – Specific areas within the NHL district have lost the integrity of Association. This is particularly true of the historically African American Northwest Quadrant neighborhood.
  • Demolitions and Infill Construction – has led to a shift in development patterns that is not always appropriate.
  • Right of Way Easements – controlled by the South Carolina Department of Transportation and Dominion Energy have incurred negative effects to the NHL, particularly in the Northwest Quadrant neighborhood.
  • Large-Scale Community Development Projects – The District’s Integrity of Location and Setting has been eroded by large scale projects.

Most importantly, the Report recognizes the importance that our  “ordinances promote and require infill construction that is visually compatible, with the greatest emphasis placed on form, mass and scale. New buildings that are substantially taller and wider than their surrounding neighbors or have significantly more lot coverage than those within the immediate context, are incompatible and a DETRIMENT TO THE OVERALL INTEGRITY OF SETTING WITHIN THE BNHLD.”

The Report further recognizes that “While one intrusion may be damaging, multiple instances of weak standards, variances, and other inappropriate alterations can lead to cumulative damage and an irreparable loss of integrity.”

The Park Service has suggested 4 Topic Questions to be addressed. While all 4 are important we believe that #2 that addresses proposed development plans is the most important to the preservation of Beaufort. A link to the online comment page and report is below.

HOW CAN YOU BE HEARD?

The NPS is providing a process for online comment through March 11, 2023.  You may review the report and respond with your online comments by clicking the link below.PLEASE SPEAK UP FOR THE INTEGRITY OF OUR NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK DISTRICT AND OUR QUALITY OF LIFE!

 ParkPlanning – For Public Review: Beaufort NHL Integrity and Condition Study (nps.gov)

State judge sides with Historic Beaufort Foundation in easement debate over Robert Smalls House

Continued efforts to protect and preserve the historic McKee-Smalls home where South Carolina hero Robert Smalls lived in downtown Beaufort earned major court victories in January.

South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Courtney Clyburn Pope agreed with Historic Beaufort Foundation that its preservation and conservation easement on the McKee-Smalls House at 511 Prince Street clearly limits public access and restricts the property to residential use only.

Judge Clyburn Pope also dismissed Billy Keyserling and Paul Keyserling’s motion for a summary judgment in the same case. The Keyserling brothers bought the historic house in 2021 for $1.675 million after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Their agreement basically called for the National Trust to raise money to buy the house from the Keyserlings while operating regular tours of the house.

The Keyserlings agreed to provide the National Park Service with access to the McKee-Smalls House for public tours and to explore renting the property to the National Park Service or its staff for residential use. The judge noted there wasn’t any evidence of an agreement for the Keyserlings, National Trust or National Park Service intended use of the property for residential purposes as required by the easement.

The Conservation and Preservation Easement of the McKee-Smalls House protects the exterior architectural integrity of the house and grounds as well as ensuring the house remains a private residence while allowing some public access, according to the easement terms and the intentions of the easement donor.

“Judge Clyburn Pope examined the evidence before her, primarily the easement that the Keyserlings entered into when they bought the property, and she found that the rule of law supports our position and the clear language of the easement,” said Wayne Vance, Chair of Historic Beaufort Foundation.

“This is an important ruling not only to preserve the McKee-Smalls house but also to protect the integrity of the Historic District,” Vance said.

The house has been a private residence since it was constructed, but the Keyserlings attempted to change that by opening the residence to tour groups on a regular, sometimes daily, basis – in violation of the property easement.

Robert Smalls was born into slavery in Beaufort County, became a Civil War hero, was elected to US Congress and in his later years served as Collector of the Port of Beaufort. His offices were in what is now known as the Thomas Law building but was then the Customs House (920 Bay Street) in downtown Beaufort.

David and Marilyn Atwell donated the property easement to HBF in 2002 to “assist in preserving and maintaining the premises and its architectural, historical and cultural features,” according to the legal document, and to ensure that the home would be used only as a residence.

For 20 years, and each time the McKee-Smalls house has been sold, that easement is part of the deed. When a property encumbered by an easement is sold, real estate agents are obligated to fully explain the meaning of the restrictions to the new buyer. Easements are recorded with the deed and protect the property forever, HBF Executive Director Cynthia Jenkins said.

The easement addresses only the exterior of the property and the grounds at 511 Prince Street in Beaufort’s National Historic Landmark District. The interior has seen extensive updating over the past decades. HBF would accept an interior easement to further protect the property.

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards are the guiding principles for maintaining the integrity and significance of historic buildings. The first of the 10 Standards states that buildings should be used for their original purpose as much as possible – in this case, a private home.

Historic Beaufort Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education foundation created to preserve, protect, and present sites and artifacts of historic, architectural, and cultural interest throughout Beaufort County, South Carolina. For more information on the entity’s mission and history, please visit historicbeaufort.org and follow them on social media, including Facebook and Instagram.

 

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