By Frances Pringle Cherry
When most people think of a bank they envision an institution that gives and receives money. However, if you were to ask any child growing up in Beaufort in the 60’s and 70’s what the bank was to them, they may say the best adventure playground a child could ever have.
I grew up on Lady’s Island on Factory Creek. At that time there weren’t as many houses lining the water as there are today. This meant miles of bank. The bank became the connector to neighborhoods that you weren’t allowed to go to by road. It was also a great challenge riding your bike to not fall off while going down the bank into the marsh. The bank, with its steepness, was also used as a slide from the dumped rakings of the leaves from past Saturday family raking days. The bank on Factory Creek had many downed majestic oaks fallen after the hurricane in 1959. The oaks still clung to life with their roots entrapped in the sandy soil on the bank. The trunk of the tree spread along the marsh. This was the perfect fort or boat for any child’s adventure. The roots formed a cool sandy cave fort that shaded us from the tough summer sun. The washed up goods from the Beaufort River and the Oyster Factory helped supply our fort or boat needs.
When we weren’t on the ground we were in the creek swimming from dock to dock or across the creek to another bank. The mud bank across from the Aimar’s and Webb’s houses gave us hours of pleasure. The mud bank was perfect for sliding, throwing and rolling on pure black soft mud.
Even with all the development around Beaufort my children have been able to enjoy banks around the Beaufort River. I hope all children experience the joy that this land gives.
Beaufort Then & Now: This moment in Beaufort’s history is an excerpt from the book “Beaufort … Then and Now,” an anthology of memories compiled by Holly Kearns Lambert. Copies of this book may be purchased at Beaufort Book Store. For information or to contribute your memory, contact Holly at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.