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2018 Colleton County Historical and Preservation Society Preservation Awards

Since 1992 The Colleton County Historical and Preservation Society (CCHAPS) has been recognizing, naming and awarding individuals and organizations across the county whose contributions demonstrate outstanding excellence in historic preservation. The society realized they needed to bring awareness to the residents of Colleton when they watched as one historic building after another was being bought, sold and demolished. The awards cover categories such as stewardship, rehabilitation, adaptive use, restoration, rural properties, small communities, plantation preservation, improvements to historic sites and contemporary enhancement of streetscapes. This year the preservation committee added two new awards. The first added was the Colleton Community award and the second added was the Colleton Rural Property Award. Since the start of the Preservation Awards, 126 have been given. This past Thursday four more properties were added to this exclusive list.

The St. Bartholomew Award is given by CCHAPS for historical sites located within Colleton County, also known as St. Bartholomew’s parish, where preservation efforts have taken place. Chapman’s Fort, located on the Ashepoo River, is being preserved by Ashepoo LLC and the Donnelley Family and for their efforts the Fort was named the 2018 St. Bartholomew Award recipient. Chapman’s Fort, a small earthwork on the tranquil Ashepoo River , played a part in Civil War history far out of proportion to its apparent importance. This fort was used to halt the North’s invasion on May 26, 1864. In order to restrict the Federal Navy’s ability to maneuver, forts and batteries such as this one were built on rivers where they narrowed. This battle was one of the few times in military history that a field artillery battery with few men, small weapons, and limited ammunition was able to prevent two enemy fleets and a two thousand-man army from accomplishing their mission. The remains of the federal gunboat, “ Boston ” now rest beneath the Ashepoo River not far from this site.

The Paul and Jacob Walter Award is given to folks who find new life for building that already exist. In 1784 Paul and Jacob Walter came to the area and established the summer colony of Hickory Valley. Other families soon followed and many decided to stay year round. As the village grew, stores opened, mills came, the Little Library was built and the courthouse was constructed. Because building materials were hard to come by, structures often served several purposes, thus the beginning of adaptive use. Thankfully, we still have people committed to this goal today and choose not to destroy our visual heritage. This year’s Paul and Jacob Walter Award is given to Diane and Marco Cavazzoni for converting the Belk-Hudson building located at 226 East Washington Street into a business and residence combination.

The Colleton Community Award was created out of a need to recognize the smaller communities in our county who tirelessly give of their time and lend financial support in order to preserve and maintain structures or sites of historical interest in their own backyards so to speak. Colleton County has many churches, cemeteries, train depots and community buildings that are important and vital to the life of these smaller towns. Some of these beautiful churches have active memberships of less than 50 people who work to preserve these historical places of worship. Many hours and many dollars are spent out of love and devotion to these historic sites and buildings. The Colleton Community Award for 2018 goes to St. Vincent Hall located at 3087 Ritter Road . Saint James the Greater Catholic Church known as “Catholic Hill” is situated at the crossroads of the Charleston-Savannah Highway and the old plantation road that linked Walterboro with the area where the Ashepoo and the Combahee Rivers converge and flow into the Atlantic Ocean . The parish was established by Bishop John England, the first Bishop of Charleston . The church was dedicated by him in 1833. In 1856 this church burned and the story of St. James fades for over forty years. In 1897 a priest by the name of Daniel Berberich accidentally discovered the presence of Catholic people in the vicinity. Local tradition credits a former slave, Vincent, with the preservation of the Catholic Faith in the area. His descendents are members of the parish of Saint James. Other families with direct ties to the original membership still worship each Sunday at the church. Father Berberich put into operation a plan to build a church and a school. A picture of this church and the school hangs in the rear of the church. The school building next to St. James the Greater Church in Catholic Hill is much as it originally appeared in 1897. The interior has been completely refinished. Upstairs are three rooms: a complete kitchen, an arts and crafts room and a meeting room. Downstairs is one large area used for various parish and community activities. During renovation, salvaged lumber to be used in the project was stolen and later recovered. This did not deter the determination of this faithful community.

This year the Simon Verdier Award is presented to “Miss Sallie’s School” located at 507 Wichman located next to the Elmore-Henderson House also known as Orange Grove Place. The Simon Verdier Award was named to honor a French Huguenot who settled in Colleton County in early 1800. One of his lasting contributions to the area was the beautiful camellia japonica which he brought to this country from his native France . So it is with the restoration of a historic property, a beautiful and lasting gift that each generation is sure to treasure. “Miss Sallie’s School” is a one story, three room building that began its life as a private law firm. It was then converted into a private school for young ladies started by the original owners sister, Miss Sarah Webb “Sallie” Henderson. In 1925, the building was rolled back away from the front of Wichman Street into the property and turned into a dwelling, with the addition of a front porch and car port. The current owners, Sue and Doug Tilden, purchased the property in 2011 and have proved to be historically minded citizens, thus earning them the Simon Verdier Award. The Tilden’s also hosted the 2018 CCHAPS preservation awards. Around 50 people were in attendance and enjoyed the presentation of the awards as well as food and fellowhip with each other. To find out how you can become a member of CCHAPS, visit their website at www.cchpas.com

Christie Slocum (494 Posts)