Tuesday, October 4, 2011

South Carolina on the Move: Archives Month 2011

By Jessica Childress, State Historic Preservation Office graduate assistant

October 2011 is Archives Month in South Carolina and the theme for this year is "South Carolina on the Move". (To learn more about Archives Month go to http://scarchivesmonth.palmettohistory.org/.) The following blog post highlights some of the tranportation-related resources in South Carolina listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

From plantation agriculture and coastal shipping to the expansion of the railroad and air flight, the transportation of people and goods has played a crucial role in South Carolina’s history. Methods of transportation not only connected South Carolinians and their products to each other and the North but were also targeted during the Civil War as resources worth capturing or destroying. Many of these resources in South Carolina’s transportation history have been preserved and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The road has been a basic unit of transportation since the pre-colonial era. The Cherokee Path in Calhoun County and Nation Ford Road in York County were Native American trading footpaths and were later used as blueprints for highways. Colonial roads in Charleston County include the Wescott Road on Edisto Island (part of the colonial King’s Highway) and the Ashley River Road (see above), which was crucial in troop movement in the Revolution and has been in use since 1691. The stage coach institutionalized travel on these roads and required stops along the way. Vaughn’s Stage Coach Stop in Fairfield County from ca.1820 provided respite from the highway between Columbia and Winnsboro, and the ca. 1841 Cornwell Inn in Chester County was a stop on the main road from Charleston to Charlotte.

Sometimes the roads encountered rivers or swamps and required ferries or bridges to get across. Eighteenth century ferries include Gallivant’s Ferry in Horry County and Berkeley County’s Cainhoy Historic District, which was a ferry landing and prosperous river port. The brick John Seabrook Plantation Bridge was part of a system that connected Charleston to the coastal islands, and the wedge-stone 1820 Poinsett Bridge in Greenville County was part of the State Road from Charleston to North Carolina. The only remaining covered bridge in the state is Greenville County’s 1909 Campbell’s Covered Bridge (see below). Modern bridges such as the 1935 metal swing bridge in the Socastee Historic District in Horry County helped complete the Intracoastal Waterway, while the 1937 Waccamaw River Memorial Bridge in Horry County and Gervais Street Bridge (1926-28) in Columbia represented the rapid growth of highways and modern bridge engineering.

The canal was also a major development in extending water transportation. Berkeley County’s Santee Canal from the 1790s was created as a shorter and safer water route to move cotton to Charleston from inland plantations, and the ca. 1823 Landsford Canal in Chester County was also a part of the water navigation system from the upcountry to Charleston. The Columbia Canal, completed in 1824 as part of a plan for cheap, efficient transportation, has remained an important source of hydroelectric power and commercial and industrial development.

Boats were required for navigating waterways and have been part of South Carolina’s shipping industry and transportation since the colonial period. The Georgetown County wreck of the Brown’s Ferry Vessel dates from the early 1700s and represents the earliest evidence for local commercial shipbuilding. The Paul Pritchard Shipyard in Charleston County was one of South Carolina’s first shipyards and was later used to convert these merchant ships into military vessels during the Revolution.

Coastal ships needed lighthouses as navigation beacons. The Georgetown Lighthouse dates from around 1800, was a Confederate observation point before it was captured by the Union Army, and operated until the late 1980s. The Cape Romain Lighthouses (see below) , Morris Island Lighthouse, Hunting Island State Park Lighthouse and Rear Lighthouse of the Hilton Head Range Light Station were also part of the system to guide shipping vessels around the coast and were valuable to maritime navigation and transportation in the nineteenth century.

The nineteenth century saw the biggest development in transportation when the railroad came to South Carolina in 1827. The William-Aiken House and Associated Railroad Structures in Charleston County represent an antebellum railroad terminal, serving the first railroad to use only steam engines, an American locomotive and to carry state mail. The Southern Railway Passenger Depot at Branchville is at the site of the oldest railroad junction in the country, and its trains sent cotton to the coast. The incomplete Oconee County Stumphouse Tunnel was begun in the 1850s as part of a Mississippi-Atlantic shipping route that would have been the longest railroad in the country, but was discarded due to a lack of funding. Many of the state’s railroad tracks were targeted for destruction by Union troops during the Civil War. In the last decades of the 19th century the development of rail lines spurred the development of new towns and the construction of many related buildings. The 1911-12 Great Falls Depot in Chester County is a turn of the century rail station, and featured a segregated waiting room typical of the time. Numerous other depots have been preserved and reused in South Carolina.

Other major twentieth century transportation developments include air travel and the automobile. The Curtiss-Wright Hangar at the Columbia Owens Downtown Airport was built in 1929 to accommodate passenger flight and airmail and was later used for civilian flight training. Automobiles brought a new efficiency to roads and highways expanded. Columbia’s Greyhound Bus Depot from 1938-39 represents the transition to bus travel and the Art Moderne style typical of the Great Depression era.

Developments in transportation over the centuries have strengthened the economy, promoted industry and have kept South Carolina “on the move” since its earliest days. To learn more about any of these properties visit http://nationalregister.sc.gov/nrlinks.htm

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Training Opportunity for Records, IT, and Emergency Management Officials

The Essential Records (ER) Webinar is one of two courses developed by the Intergovernmental Preparedness for Essential Records (IPER) project. Teams in each state and territory will be delivering these webinars to state and local governments and now is your chance to participate!

Who should take this course? State, local, territorial, and tribal employees who are responsible for creating and maintaining government records of any kind and in any format, both paper and electronic.

What is covered in this course? This course prepares participants to:

  • Identify an agency's essential records

  • Analyze and prioritize records, assessing risks and identifying protection strategies

  • Specify time frames for essential records availability in emergencies

  • Develop proceedures to ensure access to and security of essential records

  • Outline an essential records plan for inclusion in COOP

  • Become familiar with federal, state, and local regulations and procedures

The Essential Records Webinar is a 7.5 hour course delivered in four sessions, is offered as an instructor led webinar with content specific to your state, and is offered FREE of charge!

The South Carolina Department of Archives and History and the Council of State Archivists (CoSA) are offering a great opportunity for South Carolina state and local records officials, county emergency management personnel, state or local IT staff, and other interested officials to take the online FEMA approved webinar– Essential Records. Essential Records are a component of the Continuity of Operations Plans created by state and local agencies.

The four-part course will be offered on September 21, 23, 28 and 30th from 10:00am -12:00pm and will include participants from South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. This is an online webinar format that involves accessing the course slide show on the internet at iLinc and listening to the audio via your telephone. This course will use a toll free number so there will be no costs associated with these sessions for attendees. Several staff members from an agency may participate using one internet and one phone connection but each must register separately.

To register for the course, please go too
http://rc.statearchivists.org/. Each participant will need to create an account (this is FREE) by selecting “Setting up Your Course Participant Account” under the “IPER Courses” tab. The page will instruct you on how to create your account. Once you have your account established, select the course titled ESS-ZZ-0001: Essential Records Webinar [Southeast region: AL-GA-SC-TN]. You will receive an email message confirming your registration.

For additional information on this FREE training, contact Heather South at 803-896-6112 or

Friday, September 2, 2011

Summer Interns at the SHPO: Part 2

Much like the summer blockbuster movies this year, the State Historic Preservation Office has gone 3D! With help from summer intern Desmond Johnson, a native of Columbia and an architecture student at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, the SHPO explored ways to use 3D models to document historic buildings and to enhance SHPO training programs for local design review boards. Desmond created models using free Google Sketchup software that allows architects and novices alike to create virtual built environments to scale in 3D. Desmond used measured drawings of historic buildings in the SHPO files to create the 3D models. Each model took, on average, 18 to 20 hours to construct.

Desmond first created a model of the historic Ridgeway Town Hall (based on drawings by Camden architect J. Stephen Smith). The Town Hall’s bell tower and arcaded corner entrance can be experienced in accurate detail and fully manipulated by the viewer to appreciate the building’s unique architecture from any angle. (see below)

Desmond also created a model of Darlington’s Carnegie Library (based on drawings by architect Benjamin Whitener of the Charleston firm of Cummings & McCrady). Recently renovated by the City of Darlington, the historic library is one of only a few surviving Carnegie Libraries in South Carolina. Sketchup allows the viewer to explore the architectural features of the old library, including its distinctive windows. (see below)

Not only was Desmond able to create stunning models of existing historic buildings, but he was also able to bring back to virtual life the historic Bethel A. M. E. Church in Laurens (based on drawings by Spartanburg architect Martin Meek) that, unfortunately, suffered catastrophic structural failure and partially collapsed in 2009. The church was forced to demolish the rest of the structure, but the architecture of historic Bethel A. M. E. Church can be experienced again thanks to the 3D model Desmond created. (see below) Desmond’s final 3D project this summer was to create a series of simple models that can be used to vividly illustrate concepts in design guidelines used by local historic design review boards and commissions. The models can be used by local officials and historic property owners to help in applying their local design review ordinance to proposed projects in their local historic districts. (see below)
This summer our interns helped us accomplish tasks and goals that otherwise would not have been possible with our staff focused on core duties. The SHPO appreciates their hard work and we look forward to working more in the future with this next generation of historic preservationists to preserve, promote, and protect South Carolina’s historic places.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Double Shipwreck in South Carolina by Caleb Miller

South Carolina is already known for a particularly famous wreck. The Hunley was the first submarine to sink a ship and its wreck was raised on live TV. However, this state also is the site of two ships lying at the exact same spot as the other. The SS Georgiana was a Confederate ship that tried to get into Charleston on March 19, 1863 during the American Civil War. Federal ships attacked it and the ship was scuttled and burned by her crew in shallow waters, who than promptly abandoned it. On August 31, 1864 the Confederate blockade runner Mary Bowers tried to run the Federal blockade into Charleston. She ran right into the wreck of the Georgiana, which tore into her hull. The crew and passengers abandoned ship. The Mary Bowers sank to rest right on top of the Georgiana, where she remains to this day. E. Lee Spence discovered the two ships in 1965. Due to the shallow water, skin divers are capable of reaching the site easily. Multiple artifacts much have been recovered from the two shipwrecks. These two shipwrecks are a great example of how the sea is full of history.

For more information on these and other shipwrecks- check out the Sea Research Society Web page http://www.searesearchsociety.com/category/shipwrecks/

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Interns at the SHPO: Part 1

The State Historic Preservation Office had the opportunity to work with three college interns this summer. We want to thank them for their contributions and highlight their accomplishments. We feature projects by two of the interns in this post.

The National Register program was supported this summer by Evan Kutzler, a graduate student in the Public History program at the University of South Carolina. With Evan’s assistance, we were able to process National Register nominations for both the Southern Railway Depot in Ninety Six (see below) and the Retreat Rosenwald School near Westminster. Local supporters of the properties prepared the nominations, but it was Evan’s additional research and revisions that made it possible for both nominations to be ready for the July meeting of the State Board of Review. Evan also conducted research and compiled an extensive bibliography that can be used by the SHPO and others to evaluate historic properties from the “Recent Past” (1945-70) in Columbia. This research on the mid-twentieth century development of Columbia will be useful in identifying and evaluating the significance of modern architecture that is, or soon will be, old enough for consideration for the National Register.

Our ongoing collaboration with the City of Columbia’s Planning and Development department to identify “Recent Past” historic resources was further aided this summer by Adrienne Margolies, a history and architecture student from Clemson University. Adrienne conducted research to add information to an inventory of modern architecture compiled for the City by former SHPO graduate assistant Anjuli Grantham (now a graduate of USC’s Public History program). Adrienne looked specifically for residential and commercial properties designed by the architectural firm of Lyles, Bisset, Carlisle, and Wolf (LBC&W), a nationally prominent Columbia firm known for its modern high-rise apartment and office buildings in the 1950s and 1960s. Adrienne conducted research to find the locations of LBC&W projects in Columbia which we previously knew by name only. Adrienne’s research helps the SHPO have a more comprehensive understanding of LBC&W’s work in Columbia when properties are evaluated in the future. Shown below is The Christine Building on Millwood Avenue in Columbia.
Adrienne’s summer internship also resulted in an addendum to our “African American Historic Places” booklet (last published in 2009) that features all National Register listings and State Historical Markers for African American historic sites in South Carolina. Adrienne compiled and produced a companion booklet available on our web site that includes summaries of all the National Register listings and all of the marker texts for African American sites between July 2009 and June 2011.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Doolittle Raiders in South Carolina by Caleb Miller

America had many memorable moments in World War II. One of the earliest was the Doolittle Raiders’ bombing raid on Tokyo on April 18, 1942. Three airmen died during the flight, three were executed, one died of disease, and four were held captive for the rest of the war. Fifty Japanese died and 400 were injured. Despite the damage being of small concern to the Japanese, this raid gave Americans hope for the coming struggle with Japan. Before they set out, the Raiders trained in this state at the location of the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, which was an air base back then. They practiced at a bombing range. Other B-25 bomber groups notably did practice over Lake Murray. One of the islands was named “Bomb Island” in memory of that. Two of the Raiders came from South Carolina. Lieutenant Horace Ellis Sally Crouch came from Columbia, SC, while Lieutenant William G. Bill Farrow came from Darlington, SC. Lieutenant Farrow was captured and executed along with Sergeant Spatz and Lieutenant Hallmark by a Japanese firing squad on October 15, 1942. Lieutenant Ellis died on December 21, 2005. Today, there are annual celebrations for the Raiders, a fair bit of them in Columbia. A part of down-town Columbia’s streets has been named after them. We remember these brave pilots who trained here and made a mark in history by doing so.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Historical Marker Dedicated Near Site of Black Union Soldier's Cemetery on Folly Island

The newest official state historical marker was dedicated Friday, July 15th, at Folly River Park on Folly Island in Charleston County. It is near the site of a Civil War camp occupied by black Union soldiers (the official term at the time was United States Colored Troops) and the cemetery which contained the graves of their dead. The marker text reads:

Folly Beach Community Center, Folly River Park, 55 Center St., Folly Beach
(Front) Folly Island was occupied by Union troops April 1863-February 1865. Gen. Edward A. Wild’s “African Brigade” camped nearby from November 1863 to February 1864. The two regiments in Wild’s brigade were the 55th Massachusetts, made up largely of free blacks, and the 1st North Carolina, made up of former slaves.(Reverse)
A cemetery was laid out nearby for soldiers in Wild’s Brigade who died here in 1863-64. Most graves were removed after the war. In 1987 relic hunters discovered additional graves of U.S. Colored Troops. In 1987-88 archaeologists removed 19 burials and published their findings. These soldiers were reburied with full military honors at Beaufort National Cemetery in May 1989.
Erected by The Friends of the 55th Massachusetts, 2010

The South Carolina Historical Marker Program, with its origins as early as 1929 and formally established in 1936, has approved the texts for almost 1400 markers since that time under the direction of the South Carolina Historical Commission, the predecessor agency to today's South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Sponsoring organizations propose and pay for the cast aluminum markers which stand along streets and highways and interpret the places important to our state's rich history, and work with the Department of Archives and History to ensure that the texts are accurate and appropriate; the department approves an average of about 50 markers each year. J. Tracy Power, a historian in the State Historic Preservation Office at Archives and History, has been Coordinator of the Historical Marker Program since 1995.

For further information on the South Carolina Historical Marker Program, follow this link on the Archives and History website: http://shpo.sc.gov/properties/markers/. You may also contact Tracy Power at power@scdah.state.sc.us or (803) 896-6182.

For access to a searchable database containing the texts of all markers approved by the program since 1929, follow this link: http://www.scaet.org/markers/

For further information on the marker dedication on Folly Island, see:

Edward Fennell, "Salute to Black Union Soldiers," Charleston Post and Courier, Thursday, July 14th http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/jul/14/salute-to-black-union-soldiers/

Edward Fennell, "PHOTOS: Black Union Soldiers Honored On Folly," Charleston Post and Courier, Saturday, July 16th http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/jul/16/photos-black-union-soldiers-honored-folly/