Final days to join ‘Beaufort 300’

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Support the permanent Tricentennial monument in Waterfront Park

With only a handful of slots remaining, the Beaufort 300 fundraiser will close Jan. 31 so that names can begin to be inscribed on new historical markers bound for the city’s Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.
The goal is for 300 people to contribute $300 toward the new markers that celebrate Beaufort’s 300th birthday in 2011. Corporate and non-profit contributions also are available, said Kevin Cuppia, a downtown Beaufort businessman and chairman of the Beaufort 300 organization.

Rendering of the Beaufort 300 Monument in Waterfront Park.

‘Beaufort 300’ is a unique opportunity to invest in Beaufort’s future by recognizing its past, Cuppia said. “Our noted historian, Dr. Larry Rowland, is helping write the information for the new markers that will better tell the story of Beaufort’s past,” Cuppia said. “We’re almost at our goal for the fundraising and we’re very proud of this community.”
The Tricentennial celebration ended Dec. 31 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.
“For a community that celebrates our unique history and culture on an almost daily basis, 300 years is a huge benchmark,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said. “We’re almost at the 300 limit for contributors and we’re ready to move on to making the markers and getting them installed.”
Important figures in the city’s history include Jean Ribaut, Marquis de Lafayette, Robert Smalls, Laura Towne and Col. John “Tuscarora Jack” Barnwell — and locals can add their names to that list by participating in the ‘Beaufort 300’ fundraiser.
The Tricentennial monument will be an updated series of historical markers in the Waterfront Park showcasing Beaufort’s three centuries. Investors’ names will be included on the monument for posterity.
“It’s a very special way to commemorate Beaufort’s 300 years of formal history, and a way to put your family’s name on the monument that we expect will stand for at least the next hundred years,” said Erin Dean, chairwoman of the Tricentennial Committee.
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.
For more information on the Beaufort 300, visit www.cityofbeaufort.org and click on the upper left corner named Tricentennial.