By Lanier Laney
Historic Beaufort Foundation’s Fall Festival of Houses and Gardens, now in its 40th year, is the organization’s most important fundraising event of the year. Much of the funds raised go to purchase properties of historic significance that are in danger of demolition or deterioration, and to maintain The Verdier House, the only historic house open to the public on a daily basis.
But this Fall Tour of Homes does not happen so successfully year after year without a lot of hard work by people behind the scenes who do so much to preserve what we all love about Beaufort. The quiet, hardworking Isabella Reeves, a Savannah native and former director of the Savannah Tour of Homes & Gardens for 10 years, has been doing a terrific job overseeing the tour here for the past 14 years since she and her husband, whose family are longtime Blufftonians, moved Okatie in 1995.
Says Isabella,” I thought I was moving to the country, but look what happened!”
I asked Isabella why devoting her life to overseeing the tours has been important to her. “I love historic houses, lived in one in New Orleans and Savannah … and I love people …so there you go.”
And she says also that “Beaufort is unique and beautiful — a jewel of the South because of the
relationship between the water, the houses and the history and its still relatively pristine condition.”
Through the tours, local residents graciously open up their homes to share their love of Beaufort with visitors from all over the U.S., and the world. Says Isabella,” the Fall Tour is important because it is one of the few times of the year that the graciousness that is ingrained in old Beaufort can be expressed.”
And it’s clearly working, as you hear many stories from people who decided to move to Beaufort after attending one of those lovely fall tours
Besides a big thank you from all of us to Isabella for the great job she’s done organizing and coordinating this event, another big round of thanks goes to those who graciously open their homes. Imagine how much work you would have to do if you knew your house and garden were going to be on tour for hundreds of people to scrutinize!!
Kudos go to this year’s list of homeowners on tour: Michael Rainey, Nancy Law with Heather and Sam Vail, Sally Pringle, Nina and Bill Bass, Martha and John Young, Frances and Charles Symes, Frances and Milton Parker, Deanna Whitfield, The Baldwin family, Edward and Peggy Simmer, Beekman and Cathy Webb, Geddes Dowling, Jessica Loring and Larry Rasmussen, Sally and Perry Harvey, Edie Smith and Gene Rugala, Sharon and John Dwyer, Ty
and Marc Reichel, Jane and Michael Frederick, The Beaufort College Building, The Verdier House.
Historic Beaufort Foundation recently gave a reception at the Verdier House to honor all these homeowners who will make this year’s event happen, and I took some pictures for you to enjoy:
HISTORIC HOME SAVED
Another historic home in the Northwest Quadrant has been purchased for stabilization by Historic Beaufort Foundation, an investment that will be matched by the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation’s Endangered Places Fund. The Palmetto Trust is a statewide preservation organization that supports the protection and preservation of historic places.
The purchase of 1407 Duke Street, known as the Frogmore Lodge, was accomplished through HBF’s Revolving Fund that invests in historic structures which, when sold, return that investment for future projects. HBF’s Revolving Fund has a long history of success including the rescue of The Anchorage, the William Wigg Barnwell House and a dozen others.
The partnership with the Palmetto Trust will enable HBF to begin a stabilization process that will eventually result in the house being marketed by both nonprofits to a purchaser who will complete the restoration. This is the Palmetto Trust’s first project in Beaufort County.