Another chapter in Beaufort’s long, varied and colorful history will be presented as part of Historic Beaufort Foundation’s “Dinner & a Lecture” series Monday, February 28th, 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., at the Verdier House, 801 Bay Street.
“The History and Architecture of the McKee-Smalls House” will be presented by Robert Smalls’ scholar and lecturer Dennis Cannady. The story of the home is embellished by Cannady’s personal discovery of the Robert Smalls story and also the story of the ship CSS PLANTER. Newcomers are often swept up in the romance and the facts of Smalls’ life, but perhaps none more so than Cannady. He, like most new to Beaufort, had never heard of Smalls despite a lifetime of Civil War research. Once here, with his avocation of history and his hobby of building historic ship models, Cannady found previously unexplored material.
History related to Beaufort is, in many cases, like nowhere else. An example is the story of Smalls, born into enslavement, whose daring action in the Civil War led to his impact on Beaufort’s history for over 45 years and on generations of Beaufortonians that extends until today.
The McKee-Smalls House at 511 Prince Street was Smalls’ home both in enslavement and as a free man. The house remained in his family until 1940. Cannady will give an overview of the history of the McKee family starting with the Lords Proprietors’ land grants on Lady’s Island where Ashdale Plantation was developed to the in-town house and Smalls’ storied acquisition of the house during the Civil War. Changes to the house from its building in the 1810s to the recent changes by the current owners will also be examined. A scale model of the house, built by Cannady, will be on display along with photographs from the model’s research, design, and construction phases
In addition to lecturing on Smalls and the crafting of ship models for Osher Life Long Learning, Cannady, a retired mechanical engineer, is a lecturer for the nationally touring exhibition, The Life & Times of Congressman Robert Smalls, which will be at the Verdier House next October – December. His ship models have been displayed in galleries and museums along the east coast from Jacksonville to Boston.
Open to HBF members and non-members, the monthly lecture series features a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. Programs are 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. followed by audience questions and are held the fourth Monday of each month.
A three-course dinner at Saltus River Grill is offered at $19 per person for attendees at the lecture. 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. Call Saltus River Grill directly to make dining reservations.