South Carolina’s ports are an integral part of state and local history. Charles Towne was founded in 1670 in order to take advantage of the natural seaport to facilitate trade. South Carolina flourished with the wealth brought in by maritime commerce. To continue that connection, the SC Ports Authority has helped preserve important pieces of history, including significant structures and property.
The Bennett Rice Mill facade stands at the center of the Port’s Union Pier Terminal in downtown Charleston. The mill, which opened in 1845, is considered one of the finest examples of 19th century American industrial architecture.
Bermuda Plantation and the SCPA Headquarters Building
In order to construct the South Carolina Ports Authority’s new Headquarters Building, SCPA contracted with Brockington and Associates, Inc., to conduct data recovery investigations at a nearby archaeological site (Site 38CH314). Archaeological Site 38CH314 represents the remnants of the former eighteenth through nineteenth century Bermuda Plantation and was determined to be historically significant by the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. The site is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The information recovered and documented during this investigation contributes to the history of the former Bermuda Plantation and the wider Wando Neck region, and effectively mitigated the adverse effects of the development of the HQ Building. The below link provides access to the full report describing the environmental and cultural setting, the historical investigation of Bermuda Plantation, the archaeological investigations / field work of Site 38CH314, and an analysis of the artifact assemblage. The recovery from this investigation allowed for a formal documentation of the history of the people and places of Bermuda Plantation.
In 2015/2016 SCPA was exploring opportunities to bring in site fill for the construction of the Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal. One possible site was located off of Clements Ferry Rd on SCPA property and bordering Yellow House Creek. Although the site was never used for fill material, SCPA initiated archaeological investigations of the site through a contract with Terracon Consultants, Inc. The link provided is a public information exhibit of the findings of this investigation. The report highlights some of the artifacts collected form the site, particularly those with local significance, including Thom’s Creek pottery, Santee Lanceolate points, Baked Clay Objects, Colonoware, and historic domestic ceramics. SCPA is proud to share this information to the public because of the new information gained about the Cainhoy Peninsula’s prehistoric and historic period inhabitants.
In addition, nearly 1,000 acres of environmentally and historically significant properties in the Cooper River watershed are being permanently protected, under a $1-million land preservation program by the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA). The effort is part of the SCPA’s $12-million environmental and community mitigation package related to the new container terminal under construction at the former Navy Base in North Charleston.
In all, three properties totaling more than 967 acres are being preserved through the SCPA plan.
Buck Hall is located on the west branch of the Cooper River adjacent to Mepkin Abbey. The property includes 375 acres of wetlands that will be preserved, free of further development, in perpetuity.
Additional properties now under conservation easements through the SCPA funds include 22 acres at the St. James Chapel of Ease in Goose Creek and 122 acres at Brickyard Plantation, which is located on the east branch of the Cooper River at the upper stream of Quimby Creek.
The SCPA partnered with the Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust to identify and acquire the properties. The property owners each have signed agreements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, placing their properties under conservation easements.