Park Service to study Beaufort National Historic Landmark District

3 mins read
John Mark Verdier House in Beaufort South Carolina

 From staff reports 

The National Park Service (NPS) announced Wednesday, Nov. 17, the launch of a comprehensive study to aid in the long-term preservation Beaufort. 

The Beaufort National Historic Landmark (NHL) District Integrity and Condition Study — set to begin early December — will document the district’s current integrity and condition and examine projects and trends that may impact ongoing preservation efforts. 

A cornerstone of the NHL Program is monitoring the condition of NHLs to identify those that exhibit damage or face threats to the integrity of their resources. The data generated from the Beaufort NHL study will enable the NPS, stewards, policy makers, civic planners and the public to better understand the district and take appropriate action, where necessary.

During the debate over a proposed hotel, parking garage and apartment in downtown Beaufort, the National Historic Landmark District has been mentioned repeatedly by some fearing certain developments could affect the district’s protected status with the Park Service.

Mayor Stephen Murray said he welcomed the study and thinks it will be good to hear from the experts on the best ways to protect what makes Beaufort special while balancing those concerns with development.

“We can’t talk about this too much,” Murray said.

“The Beaufort National Historic Landmark District is significant for its antebellum history and architecture, as well as its role in the Civil War and Reconstruction,” National Park Service regional acting chief for cultural resources, partnerships and science Cynthia Walton said in a release. “The NPS study will document the integrity of the district and highlight the districts accomplishments, challenges and opportunities for ongoing preservation. As stewards of the NHL, the local community is central to the process and we are pleased to partner with the City of Beaufort to ensure the project’s success as a guidepost for those involved in preserving Beaufort’s historic character and integrity.”

The NPS has commissioned LG2 Environmental Solutions, Inc., to conduct the study, documenting, in narrative and graphic formats, major changes that occurred within and adjacent to the district since its designation in 1973. The effort – expected to run through 2022 – involves research, a field survey, photographic documentation, Geographic Information Systems analysis and public engagement. The initial round of public meetings is planned for January and a draft study is expected to be made available for review next summer.

Designated by the Secretary of the Interior in 1973, the Beaufort NHL District reflects three centuries of history. Having architecture different than Savannah and Charleston, Beaufort has preserved a number of distinctive “low-country” houses from the 18th and early 19th centuries. Several buildings, foundations, and other character-defining elements of the district are built of tabby, an important regional building material.

For more information about the Beaufort NHL District Integrity and Condition Study, visit the planning website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/beaufort.

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