Posted: September 3, 2018
Recently, Charleston County Council passed a historic preservation ordinance that enables the county to truly engage in historic preservation with a more robust and comprehensive approach. The ordinance creates a county-wide historic commission that will:
This new ordinance complements recent survey work done by the Charleston County Zoning and Planning Department that identified numerous historic sites, most of which are at risk from a preservation standpoint because they are in poor condition or they are potentially threatened by development (or both).
“This is a long overdue measure by the county to protect its myriad and diverse historic resources,” said Winslow Hastie, President & CEO of Historic Charleston Foundation. “There are hundreds of historic properties and communities that are now afforded a new level of protection under the ordinance – sites that may not qualify for the National Register, yet represent the cultural identity and history of this area.”
The Charleston County Comprehensive Plan states that “Cultural, historic and archaeological resources, unique settlement patterns of traditional Lowcountry communities (such as historically African-American communities and family settlements), and traditional activities (such as Sweetgrass Basket Making) should be preserved and protected from potential negative impacts of growth and development.”
Mosquito Beach is one such example. Located in the Sol Legare community on James Island, Mosquito Beach is historically significant as it was one of the few recreation areas African Americans could enjoy during segregation. In fact, HCF believes the area is so culturally significant that the staff is working on a National Register nomination for this district through a grant from the National Park Service. As part of the grant project, HCF will be filming oral histories with local residents, documenting and researching the area, erecting a South Carolina Historical Marker, developing a website for the community and installing educational panels at the site. “The protection of communities such as Mosquito Beach are vital to preservation,” said Hastie. “The history of Charleston is not complete until everyone’s history is represented.”
I am so happy to hear this. I came to your city for it’s history, and the Festival of Houses & Gardens. But I did not have time to get all the history information, so I want to come back to learn more. Thank you for trying to preserve it!
Very proud of HCF’s initiative in support of the County’s effort to survey and inventory these communities and properties that are every bit as important as South of Broad to the woven fabric of Charleston’s past. Our family is grateful to be new residents of James Island to see for ourselves the places where the stories happened that we are soaking up from “bin’yuh families we are meeting. Adopting this robust Ordinance to preserve the places of these rich stories is the right and “knick of timely” action for the County Council to take. I’m sure the Council Members benefited from your encouraging and expert leadership and support.