Founded in 1711, Beaufort, South Carolina, located in the heart of the Carolina Lowcountry midway between Charleston and Savannah, harbors a rich repository of 18th and 19th century houses with remarkable architectural variety. Historic Beaufort Foundation is a non-profit organization charged with the mission to preserve, protect and restore buildings and sites of historic or architectural significance in Beaufort County.
Please remember that Historic Beaufort Foundation is a membership organization, and memberships are critical to helping continuing our work. If you're interested in becoming a member or would like to renew, please call 843-379-3331 or click here.
The intriguing story of colonial South Carolinians who did not support the American Revolution and the description of their exile will be told by architectural historian Colin Brooker at the Verdier House Dinner & A Lecture series, Monday, April 29 at 5:30 p.m. at the Verdier House, 801 Bay Street.
"A Southern Diaspora: Loyalists Abroad" is the topic of the lecture by Brooker who has spent the past few years researching the homes and plantations of the loyalists who re-settled in the Bahamas after fleeing South Carolina. Many historic South Carolina names are among those who fled; Brooker will relate what became of them.
Brooker, a long-time researcher on behalf of Historic Beaufort Foundation, has been the primary architectural historian working in Beaufort for over thirty years. It is his research upon which much of the understanding of local building style and history is based. He is a co-author of Beaufort County Above-Ground Historic Resources Survey. Few historic structures in Beaufort County have not undergone his analysis.
"Dinner and a Lecture" is open to HBF members and non-members; the lecture series features a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. The program is 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. followed by audience questions. Admission to the lecture is $15/$25 per member/member couple respectively, and $20/$30 per non-member/non-member couple respectively. Seating is limited; call 379-3331 to make reservations. A three-course dinner at Saltus River Grill is offered at $19 per person for attendees at the lecture. Call Saltus River Grill at 379-3474 directly to make dining reservations.
Historic Plaques are now available for structures over 50 years old and designated by HBF to be architecturally or historically significant. The 7 X 10-inch, oval, hand-cast bronze plaques are part of an educational outreach to visitors and residents. The historical name of the house, the date of its construction and HBF's name will appear. HBF reserves the right to determine eligibility, the historical name and the construction date with final approval from the owners. Property owners may decide the placement of the plaque on their properties but should make them visible from the street.
HBF members, $200. each, plus $10.95 shipping.
Non-members, $250. each, plus shipping. Non-members will gain a one-year HBF membership with their purchase.
Orders will be made in batches. Ask about grant funding.
To inquire, call (843) 379 – 3331. Samples can be seen at HBF headquarters at 208 Scott's Street.
Model of USS Walbash
The Verdier House collection of scale models related to local Civil War history has been expanded to include the USS Wabash, the ship that led the November 1861 invasion of Port Royal Sound. The Wabash was just seven years old when it steamed into Port Royal Sound and changed the lives of Sea Islanders forever.
The Wabash joins scale models of the SS Planter and the Robert Smalls House both of which played roles in the life of Robert Smalls, a slave-turned-Civil War hero from Beaufort who went on to become a state and U.S. legislator and powerful local politician. All three models are the creations of Dennis Cannady, a scale model craftsman, retired mechanical engineer and Civil War enthusiast.
The Beaufort Volunteer Artillery Battle Flag
Other items of interest to Civil War aficionados include the battle flag of the Beaufort Volunteer Artillery, which was called to fight in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War and World Wars I and II. It was eventually absorbed into the S.C. National Guard and is the antecedent of the Beaufort unit.
Spearheading the assault on Port Royal Sound, the Wabash led the largest invasion fleet yet organized by the U.S. Navy, containing 77 vessels and 16,000 Army troops under Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Sherman. Following the furious four-hour battle, the Wabash led the battle line.
Once Beaufort was occupied by Union troops, Civil War photographer Samuel Cooley set up shop here on Craven Street and a large collection of his photos illustrating the occupation of Bay Street are also exhibited.
The BVA flag, the centerpiece of an exhibit on the history of the military unit, hasn’t been seen in Beaufort for 115 years. It was badly damaged and deteriorated when it was given to the Confederate Relic Room in Columbia in 1896 by the unit’s second Civil War captain, Dr. Henry Middleton Stuart. It was returned to Beaufort in the fall of 2011.
The flag, designed and sewn by the women of Beaufort, was presented to the local militia on George Washington’s Birthday in 1858. War clouds were gathering and the women used the occasion to present the BVA with its “colors” for use in anticipated battles with the North.
Sacred to the troops, “colors” were carried as rallying points and inspiration to follow into battle. Seriously damaged during the Battle of Port Royal Sound, the flag was mended by BVA soldiers who carried it through the rest of the war. At the surrender of BVA troops in 1865, one of the soldiers wrapped himself with it instead of giving it to Union forces, thereby claiming it was unsurrendered.
Restoration of the flag was sponsored by HBF and Gen. Richard H. Anderson Camp #47 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Many of its members trace ancestral ties to the BVA. The Gen. Stephen Elliott Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and private individuals also contributed to the restoration.
The Verdier House at 801 Bay Street is open Mondays – Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., with tours given on the half hour; closed Christmas and New Year’s days. Admission is free to HBF members, active military and children; $10 for adults. Purchase of an membership includes a free tour. Call 379-6335 for information.