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Wicklow Hall Plantation Appraisal

Posted on August 21, 2015 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (4171)

We have recently completed an appraisal of a entire Historic Plantation Home and several guest houses. It was an honor and a privilege to be asked to do this large undertaking. We enjoyed how perfectly and historically accurate this Plantation has been preserved and how tranquil and graceful the main home and the surrounding property is. It is truly like stepping back in time to another era. We also learned a great deal about the E.I. du Pont family while doing this appraisal and were really impressed with the late gracious Nancy du Pont Reynolds Cooch and how she was able to balance raising a family, overseeing several properties, charitable work and still managed to be a professional artist of incredible talent.

Wicklow Plantation was a major rice plantation during the mid-1800s, the heyday of the rice culture in Georgetown County. Wicklow is also significant for its associations with the prominent Lowndes family of South Carolina (between ca. 1831 and 1860), and also reflects the changing patterns of land-ownership in Georgetown County during the early 20th century. In 1899, Wicklow was purchased by a large rice planting firm, S.M. Ward Company, but rice cultivation was unsuccessful. In 1912, the company conveyed a large acreage, including Wicklow, to the Kinloch Gun Club. Consisting of a plantation house and several dependencies, Wicklow exemplifies a mid-19th century plantation complex. The Wicklow Hall Plantation House is a two-story clapboard structure, set upon a low brick foundation, with Greek Revival features on the interior and exterior. The main portion of the structure was probably built between ca. 1831 and 1840. Sometime after 1912 the structure was enlarged by additions to the rear and right facades. The front façade originally featured a five-bay porch with slender wooden pillars. At nomination it consisted of a three-bay porch (screened in) and a two-bay enclosed section. Several outbuildings, several believed to be contemporary with the house, are also located on the property. These include a kitchen, corn crib, carriage house, a small house (believed to have been slave quarters), stable, privy, and a schoolhouse. Listed in the National Register August 29, 1978. The Kinloch Gun Club was organized in 1912 by a group of wealthy Wilmington, Del., businessmen, most of whom were associated with E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company or the du Pont family. The first two presidents were William G. Ramsay and Eugene du Pont. The group purchased a tract of 9,000 acres on the Santee River in Georgetown, S.C., from S.M. Ward & Company as a private shooting preserve. The tract consisted of thirteen rice plantations (Milldam, Newland, Campmain, Richfield, Pleasant Meadows, Crow Island, Wicklow, Tranquility, Motfield, Bear Hill, Pine Grove, Jutland and Doar Point) assembled by Ward and named Kinloch after Kinloch Creek. It became one of the most productive waterfowl preserves in the country. A clubhouse was constructed in 1923 on the site of the original Milldam plantation house. Many of the former plantation workers became guides and housekeepers, and nominal rice production was actually maintained. In 1930, Eugene du Pont and Eugene E. du Pont bought out the other members to become sole owners. This family were major conservationists long before it became popular. If not for them, much of the Kinloch original 9000 acres would of been developed and ruined years ago.

A history of Hurricane Hugo

Posted on June 9, 2014 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (1907)

A Cape Verde storm in the North Atlantic Ocean, Hugo intensified dramatically and was already classified a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale while positioned well east of the Leeward Islands in mid-September 1989.

Hugo then turned toward the northwest. Hurricane warnings were issued for the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. As the hurricane proceeded northwestward, the eye wall scraped the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico. Twelve lives were lost on the island and $2 billion in damage was reported. There was enormous damage in the US Virgin Islands where St. Croix was leveled.


After Hugo's interlude with Puerto Rico, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded it to a Category 2. Preparations for the storm were made from Florida to the Carolinas. By Wednesday, September 20th, it became apparent that Hugo was heading for the South Carolina coast.


Emergency management officials prepared the area for a Category 2 hurricane, but on Thursday, the hurricane began to intensify rapidly. By Thursday afternoon, it became apparent that Hugo was going to be a significant hurricane.


Hurricane Hugo made landfall northeast of Charleston, South Carolina, near midnight on the night of September 21st and the storm surge was estimated at over 20 feet.


Fortunately, the eye of Hugo passed just north of Charleston, and the storm surge was highest in an area that was not highly populated.

Had the eye passed even 20 miles to the south, much of the Battery district of Charleston would have been overrun with water. Considering the number of news crews operating in the area, many lives would have been lost. As it was, much of the communities of Folly Beach, Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, and McClellanville were heavily damaged.


Sustained winds were in excess of 135 miles per hour as Hugo made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. Another surprise for the forecasters happened inland. Because Hugo's forward movement was nearly 30 miles per hour, the storm remained strong as it moved up through South Carolina into North Carolina.


Hurricane force wind gusts resulted in tree and power line damage as far inland as Charlotte, North Carolina. The remnants of Hugo moved into West Virginia and western Pennsylvania. Damage was estimated at over $7 billion.

The College of Charleston

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (2371)


The college of Charleston is one of the finest colleges in South Carolina. CEA partner, Mark Bastian, graduated from "The College", as it is referred to by Charlestonians, in 2009 following in his grandmother's footsteaps.... Here is a little history about the College of Charleston.

A Brief History of the College

Founded in 1770, the College of Charleston is the oldest educational institution south of Virginia, and the 13th oldest in the United States. During the colonial period, wealthy families sent their sons abroad for higher education. By the mid-18th century, many leading citizens supported the idea of establishing an institution of higher learning within the colony.

On January 30, 1770, Lieutenant Governor William Bull recommended to the colony's general assembly the establishment of a provincial college. However, internal disagreements, political rivalries and the American Revolution delayed progress on this front. After the war, South Carolinians returned their attention to establishing a college. On March 19, 1785, the College of Charleston was chartered to "encourage and institute youth in the several branches of liberal education."  

Several of the College's founders played key roles in the American Revolution and in the creation of the new republic. Three were signers of the Declaration of Independence and another three were framers of the U.S. Constitution. Other founders were or became federal and state lawmakers and judges, state governors, diplomats and Charleston councilmen and mayors. Robert Smith served as the College's first president. Educated in England, he was ordained as a priest in the Anglican Church and relocated to Charleston, where he served as rector of St. Philip's Church. During the American Revolution, he supported the patriot cause and even served as a soldier during the siege of the city. He later became the first Episcopal bishop of South Carolina.

The first classes were held on the ground floor of Reverend Smith's home on Glebe Street (now the residence for College of Charleston presidents). Later, rooms for the College were fashioned out of an old military barracks located on public land that is now the Cistern Yard. Instruction began there in January 1790. The College graduated its first class in 1794, which consisted of six students. By 1824, the College offered a curriculum broad enough to regularly grant degrees. During Reverend Jasper Adams' tenure as president, he reorganized the College and orchestrated the construction of the first building specifically designed for teaching – Randolph Hall.


In 1837, the College became the nation's first municipal college when the City of Charleston assumed responsibility for its support. The city provided funds, for example, in 1850 to enlarge the main academic building, to construct Porters Lodge and to fence in the Cistern yard, the block that is still the core of the campus. It remained a municipal college until the 1950s, when the College again became a private institution.


During the Civil War, many students and faculty left to serve the Confederacy. Despite dwindling student numbers and a long-running siege of the city by Federal troops, there was no suspension of classes until December 19, 1864, two months before the city was evacuated. Classes resumed on February 1, 1866, and over the next four decades, the College weathered several financial crises, Reconstruction, hurricanes and the devastating earthquake of 1886.


Until the 20th century, students who attended the College were primarily Charlestonians.

Harrison Randolph (president, 1897-1945) changed that by building residence halls and creating scholarships to attract students from other parts of the state. Under President Randolph, women were admitted to the College and the enrollment increased from just 68 students in 1905 to more than 400 in 1935. For many institutions of higher education across the South, integration took place in the late 1960s. For the College, the first black students enrolled in 1967.


The enrollment remained at about 500 students until the College became a state institution in 1970. According to the 1970 legislative decree that incorporated the College of Charleston into the South Carolina system, the College was given a mandate to develop flagship programs in academic areas that capitalize on the unique natural and cultural strengths of Charleston and the Lowcountry, especially marine biology and fine arts. Today, the College's Grice Marine Laboratory is one of the Eastern Seaboard's leading research centers in the marine sciences, while the School of the Arts has grown from a fine arts department with a limited focus into one of the most comprehensive arts schools in the nation.


Theodore Stern was the College's 14th president. During his tenure (1968-1979), the number of students increased to about 5,000 and the physical facilities expanded, from fewer than 10 buildings to more than 100. Between 1979 and 2001, the enrollment continued to increase, climbing to more than 10,000 and attracting students from across the country and around the world.


In 1992, the University of Charleston, now called The Graduate School of the College of Charleston, was founded as the graduate program for the College. The Graduate School now offers 19 degree and nine certificate programs, and coordinates support for the College's many nationally recognized faculty research programs.


Under the leadership of President Lee Higdon (2001-2006), the College embarked on an ambitious, multi-year plan designed to enhance the overall student experience, increase the faculty and student support staff, and upgrade and expand facilities. The College renovated many historic structures and opened several new buildings, including two new residence halls, the Beatty Center (School of Business), the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library and new facilities for the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance. Most recently, the College opened the TD Arena, the Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts, and the School of Sciences and Mathematics Building. Plans are being developed for a new research and residence facility at the Grice Marine Laboratory and the first phase of construction at the Dixie Plantation site.


Today, under the presidency of P. George Benson (2007-present), the College of Charleston is embarking on a new strategic planning process designed to ensure that the important traditions in the liberal arts and sciences are retained while the institution responds to the needs of its evolving student population with cutting-edge academic programming and state-of-the-art facilities.

Marion Square

Posted on May 10, 2014 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (3315)

A little history of Marion Square... Also a great place for movies in the park during the spring & summer time! 

Marion Square is greenspace in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, spanning six and one half acres. The square was established as a parade ground for the state arsenalunder construction on the north side of the square. It is best known as the former Citadel Green because The Citadel occupied the arsenal from 1843 until 1922, when the college moved to Charleston's west side. The name was then changed to Marion Square, in honor of Francis Marion.

The space is a favorite place for College of Charleston students because of its proximity to campus. In 2003, city council member Wendell Gaillard proposed banning sun-bathing in Marion Square ("This 'Girls-Gone-Wild'-type attitude has caught ahold all across the country. We don't want it to get to that point . . .," Gaillard said), but his proposal was met with little support; Gaillard claimed that exposing churchgoers and families to sunbathing was wrong and that sun-bathing students might attract stalkers to the area.

The square is the home to many monuments, including a Holocaust memorial and a statue of John C. Calhoun in cast bronze atop a giant pillar. In 1944, a bandstand in the Art Moderne style was built according to plans by Augustus Constantine. The structure had originally been planned to house restroom facilities for white servicemen, but a bandstand component was added to the plans. The bandstand became a spot for political rallies, but the restrooms were a constant problem because of vandals. The bandstand was ultimately razed during a refurbishing of the park that began in August 2000 and concluded in 2001. The bandstand had been in very poor shape since at least 1961 when city council approved its removal.

During the summer the square is also the home to a farmers market on Saturdays and various festivals such as the Food and Wine Festival and the renowned Spoleto Arts Festival. Since 1913 a tree has been placed in Marion Square for the Christmas season.


Hampton Park

Posted on May 9, 2014 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (2356)

Since purchasing a house two blocks from Hampton Park, CEA partner Mark Bastian was curious abut the history of the site... Once again keeping with Charleston the full story is much more interesting than meets the eye. 


The land constituting current-day Hampton Park was, by 1769, part of a plantation owned by John Gibbes and known as The Grove or Orange Grove Plantation.

In 1835, part of Gibbes' plantation was acquired by the South Carolina Jockey Club, a group that developed the Washington Race Course on the site. An annual horse race in February attracted thousands of spectators who could watch the races from an Italianate grandstand designed by Charles F. Reichardt. Today, Mary Murray Drive is a one-mile (1.6 km) parkway that circles Hampton Park in almost the exact location of the race track.

The city of Charleston acquired a part of the exposition land for a park. The park was named in honor of Confederate General Wade Hampton III who, after the Civil War, had become governor of South Carolina. The bandstand from the trade exposition, once located in the center of the park, was saved and moved to its present location at the east edge of the park at the foot of Cleveland St.[8] In addition, the building at 30 Mary Murray Blvd., which is currently used as the city's Parks Department offices, was retained from the exposition, where it served as a tea house.


The city retained the services of Olmsted, Olmsted & Elliott, a landscaping firm from Boston. John Charles Olmsted, the adopted son of Frederick Law Olmsted, designed a plan for a park following his first visit to Charleston in 1906.[9] At least part of his plans for long parkways along the Ashley River were disrupted when the city sold the approximately 200 acres (0.81 km2) along the Ashley River, the Rhett Farm tract, to the Citadel for the relocation and expansion of its campus.


During the mid-20th century, the park included a zoo. It was opened in 1932, and an aviary was added about six years later.[11] Most of the animals, including a lion, were donated to the zoo or bred at the zoo.[12] By the mid-1960s, the zoo had become run-down.[13] The zoo closed in 1975,[14] and its contents were largely transferred to Charles Towne Landing, a new state park.[15][16]


The city began a redevelopment of the park starting in the early 1980s. Following several years of decline in the park's condition, the city refocused landscaping efforts on the park, reduced crime, and installed a small snack stand designed by Sandy Logan.




The concession stand has been shuttered for many years but provides a shaded place to sit for park visitors.

The refurbished park reopened in June 1984 after a year of improvement work when the Piccolo Spoleto finale was held at Hampton Park.[17] Today, the park is popular with walkers, joggers, and cyclists who use the one-mile (1.6 km) perimeter road for exercise. In previous years, the park was the location for the finale of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival and in present day remains the site for the MOJA Festival in addition to many weddings and other special events.

The Cooper River Bridge

Posted on May 8, 2014 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (12865)

The Ravenel Bridge....

Recently, CEA partner, Mark Bastian, was running the Cooper River Bridge and wondered a little about its history... here is what we could find. A great story for a historic bridge connecting downtown Charleston to Mt. Pleasant since 1929.... 

The first bridge to cross the lower Cooper River opened in 1929, eventually named the John P. Grace Memorial Bridge for former Charleston mayor John P. Grace, who spearheaded the project. The main span of the double cantilever truss bridge was the fifth longest in the world at 1,050 feet (320 m) and soared 150 feet (46 m) above the river. The main span of the second cantilever was the twelfth-longest in the world. The total length of the structure was about 2.7 miles (4.3 km). Following a 17 month construction at a cost of $6 million, it opened with a 3 day celebration that attracted visitors from around the globe. Engineers and critics proclaimed colorful descriptions of the unique structure, deeming it "the first roller-coaster bridge" and citing that "steep approaches, stupendous height, extremely narrow width, and a sharp curve at the dip conspire to excite and alarm the motorist." Privately owned originally, a $1.00 toll was charged for car and driver to cross. In 1943 the state of South Carolina purchased the bridge, and the tolls were lifted in 1946.


By the 1960s the Grace Memorial Bridge had become insufficient, with its two narrow 10-foot (3 m) lanes built for Ford Model A's and its steep grades of up to 6 percent. A new bridge was constructed alongside and parallel to it. Named for the then-South Carolina Highway Commissioner, the Silas N. Pearman Bridge opened in 1966 at cost of $15 million. Its three lanes, at a modern 12-foot (3.7 m) width, opened to northbound traffic while its older counterpart carried the southbound traffic into downtown Charleston. One lane was reversible on the Pearman bridge, which led to signs warning "Use lanes with green arrow" and "Do not use red X lane" on the bridge.


The two truss bridges had become functionally obsolete by 1979. Extensive metal deterioration caused by the lack of maintenance shortly after Grace Bridge's tolls were removed limited the capacity of the older Grace bridge to ten ton vehicles (later five tons), and the reversible lane on the Pearman was eliminated (it had been able to switch to three lanes northbound for rush hour traffic), making that lane southbound permanently, diverting all heavy trucks, buses, and recreational vehicles to that lane on the Pearman bridge. Neither of the bridges had emergency lanes, and the Pearman bridge had no median between the northbound and southbound lanes because of its reversible lane, and it was not until 2002 when flexible barriers were added to the Pearman bridge to prevent head-on collisions.


Furthermore, the vertical clearance above the river – once among the highest in the world – could no longer accommodate modern shipping vessels. Three of Charleston’s four shipping terminals are situated up the Cooper and Wando Rivers, and the limited bridge clearance excluded the access of ships that would otherwise be beneficial to the economy of South Carolina. Now that the old bridges are disassembled, the world’s largest modern container ships are able to access all terminals of the nation's fourth-largest container port.

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, also known as the New Cooper River Bridge, is a cable-stayed bridge over the Cooper River in South Carolina, connecting downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant. The eight lane bridge satisfied the capacity of U.S. Route 17 when it opened in 2005 to replace two obsolete cantilever truss bridges. The bridge has a main span of 1,546 feet (471 m), the third longest among cable-stayed bridges in the Western Hemisphere. It was built using the design-build method and was designed by Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Groundbreaking on the bridge occurred in 2001 in Mount Pleasant. The bridge was built as a design-build project, meaning that one contract was signed to both design and construct the bridge. This meant that construction could begin even while the design was not yet finalized. The bridge was built by a joint venture of two major construction firms operating under the name Palmetto Bridge Constructors. The joint venture partners were Tidewater Skanska of Norfolk, Virginia and Flatiron Constructors of Longmont, Colorado. The construction joint venture hired Parsons Brinckerhoff to complete the design. For the sake of simplifying labor and equipment resources, Palmetto Bridge Constructors actually managed the building of the bridge as five separate projects (the two highway interchanges at either end of the bridge, the two approach spans, and the cable-stayed span) going on simultaneously.


By the summer of 2002 the foundations for the towers and most of the piers were in place and the rock islands were completed. The steel and concrete towers began to ascend from the islands soon after. Originally, each of the towers was to be topped with a 50-foot (15 m) multicolored LED "beacon," but public opinion caused this plan to be scrapped.


The first cables were hung from the towers in 2004—as a time-saving measure, this was done before the towers were wholly completed. Sections of the deck were built outward from each of the towers as more cables were hung.


Fireworks celebration, July 2005, to kick off the new bridge.

The decks of the approaches were taking shape as well. Construction of part of the roadway actually occurred over the top of the old cantilever bridges, which remained open to traffic without interruption.


A ceremony was held in March 2005, when the last slab of the deck was added, thus making the bridge "complete." But paving, installation of lights and signs, and cleanup meant that the bridge would not open for another four months.


Following a week-long celebration that included a public bridge walk, concerts, dinners, and fireworks, the bridge was dedicated and opened on July 16, 2005 – one year ahead of schedule and under budget. The bridge was featured on the TV show Extreme Engineering.