“When we build, let us think that we build for ever”.
- John Ruskin
(1819-1900), The Seven Lamps of Architecture, 1849
Beaufort’s outstanding collection of architecturally inspiring buildings are as much a part of the city’s 300-year history as the natural and scenic beauty of our riverfront location.
Beaufort’s magical combination of setting, design, time, place, and sense of belonging has shaped generations. Preserving Beaufort means managing change. HBF members appreciate the sense of place and the importance of authenticity as we continue to evolve and meet the future.
“The way we build cities, the way we make places can have a profound effect on the lives that are lived within those spaces.”
-William Holly Whyte (1917-1999), American journalist, urbanist, organizational analyst and people watcher.
In the Beaufort Style
BEAUFORT'S ARCHITECTURAL LEGACY
Tabby in Beaufort
Tabby was an important local building material primarily through the 18th century and into the early 19th century. Its components were indigenous to the coastal south from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida and created a durable cement-like material made of oyster shells, sand, and lime (obtained through the burning of oyster shells).
According to some architectural historians, there are two separate traditions of tabby in North America: the Spanish, centered around St. Augustine, Florida and the British primarily centered around Beaufort. Tabby in the British tradition was utilized from the early Colonial period until the early 19th century in Beaufort County.
Making tabby was a labor-intensive process where oyster shells were crushed and burnt to make lime which was combined with sand and water and poured into reusable wooden frames to shape and harden.
Colonel Thomas Talbird was known as one of the great builders of tabby in Beaufort County. His death in 1806 is sometimes thought to have brought an end to tabby construction which included fortifications, houses, stores, churches and a variety of outbuildings.
TABBY IN BEAUFORT
Found most often as a foundation material,
Beaufort boasts three buildings constructed completely of tabby-
the Barnwell-Gough House, Tabby Manse and
the Captain Francis Saltus House
Some historians consider the Saltus House as the only three-story tabby single house extant in America.
All three houses are thought to have been constructed within a decade of each other. Dozens of late 18th century houses in Beaufort, including the John Mark Verdier house rest on tabby foundations. A tall tabby garden wall in the north side of the 800 block of Bay Street is extant and is visible from the Scotts Street parking lot.
HBF'S REVOLVING FUND
Historic Beaufort Foundation recognized the need and benefit of establishing a Revolving Fund in 1971 when the ca. 1800 home of William Elliott III, commonly known today as The Anchorage, was threatened with demolition. HBF with a small group of dedicated members and friends were successful in raising the funds necessary to purchase the building, find a sympathetic owner, and sell the house with protective covenants to ensure its protection and preservation for the future.
With this single project HBF launched one of its most important and long-lasting preservation programs.
Over the next five decades the Revolving Fund and Easement program leveraged the purchase, sale and protection of dozens of historic properties throughout the historic district. Without the intervention of HBF these buildings would have been lost forever. With your help, we can continue our efforts to preserve and protect Beaufort’s historic and architectural fabric.
A revolving fund or acquisition fund is used by a preservation organization to purchase, stabilize and/or rehabilitate, and then resell historic properties to preservation-minded buyers, subject to easements or protective covenants.
Preservation Success Story
Built ca. 1890 by one of Beaufort’s first African American attorneys, the Richard L. Washington house at the northeast corner of Charles and Washington Street was damaged by fire in 1990. HBF knew that protecting this house would influence additional preservation along what was, at the time, becoming a busy through street.
Contributing to Beaufort’s historic district, this Victorian Period house exhibits elements typical of the Beaufort Style with two-story piazzas spanning the five-bay wide façade and a low-pitched hip roof.
To ensure the house was not lost, the foundation acted quickly to purchase the house using Revolving Fund monies. The exterior was rebuilt to match the original appearance while the interior was left unfinished for new owners to adapt. The house was sold quickly to new owners who utilized historic preservation tax credits to complete restoration/interior renovation. The investment and commitment made by HBF to this neighborhood is a catalyst for further sensitive redevelopment along the Charles Street corridor.