City to unveil Tricentennial monuments

Fourteen bronze plates affixed to granite markers in the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park commemorate the history of Beaufort, the series of events celebrating the city’s 300th anniversary and the names of those who helped pay for the Tricentennial memorial.

A public unveiling of the privately-funded markers is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 20, 2 p.m. The markers are in a landscaped area at the river end of Scott Street, near the playground.

 “It took 300 years to build the Beaufort we know and love, and it took us a year to get these monuments designed and built, and we are thrilled to unveil this newest addition to the Waterfront Park and to the city,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said. “It’s also nice that we are doing it very near our city’s 302nd birthday.”

The ceremony will include musical entertainment, an invocation by Bishop Alden Hathaway,  and readings of the markers by area school children. Admission is free.

More than 300 individuals, families, businesses and non-profit groups joined “Beaufort 300,” investing a minimum of $300 each, said Kevin Cuppia, a downtown Beaufort businessman and chairman of the Beaufort 300 group.

There are 14 monuments set among a circle of palmetto trees.  Dr. Lawrence Rowland, Beaufort’s prominent historian, wrote the brief sketches of the different periods of history.

In late 2010, Cuppia and a few others came up with an idea: Find 300 people to contribute $300 each toward the cost of new markers that celebrate Beaufort’s 300th birthday. Corporate and nonprofit contributions also were sought out. The monuments include names of individuals and families and organizations and also serve as memorials to loved ones no longer with us.

The Tricentennial celebration ended Dec. 31, 2011 with a Founders’ Night II in the Waterfront Park. A packed park enjoyed music and historical readings, including the actual charter that founded Beaufort on Jan. 17, 1711. A huge fireworks show ended the night and the 300th birthday party.

Beaufort was founded Jan. 17, 1711 by the English, although its beginnings date back to Spanish explorers in 1514. Beaufort was named for Englishman Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort (1684-1714), one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina.

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