Photo above: Beaufort County Senior Leadership Class of 2016 at the Beaufort History Center.
January marked the beginning of the Beaufort County Senior Leadership Program (BCSL), and the class of 2016 is now rolling. Made up of enrollees from all over the County, the participants will be receiving, over the next 15 Wednesdays, a comprehensive insider look at many facets of our home here in the Lowcountry.
The topic for the past two weeks was Beaufort’s deep and colorful history. Dr. Eric Poplin, an archeologist consultant, lectured on Beaufort County from the beginning of time up to the Civil War including fascinating details of our geology, and very earliest citizens. Santa Elena Foundation’s Dr. Andrew Beall presented his always entertaining story of our “lost century” where Beaufort played a starring role. The local experience of the Civil War up to the Great Storm of 1893 was presented by Dr. Stephen Wise, Director of the Parris Island History Museum and USCB professor. Dr. Wise shared quite a few very interesting background anecdotes that brought the period to life. Mary Rivers Legree, local Gullah expert and prominent advocate, educated the group on the rich history and culture of our Gullah citizens. The first day wrapped up in the Beaufort History Museum at the Arsenal where participants could view actual artifacts, and learn more from the docents.
The second day covered the south county starting at the Coastal Discovery Museum with director Natalie Hefter enlightening us all on south county history going back to the Native Americans and right up to the place we live in today. After a tour of the beautiful grounds, BCSL participants headed to the Gateway Campus of USCB for lunch at the Sand Bar Café and an afternoon presentation by Dr. Lawrence Rowland, USCB Professor Emeritus. Dr. Rowland filled participants in on local history from the Great Storm of 1893 up through today, with many anecdotes found only in his and Dr. Wise’s most recent book, the third in their three part series on the history of Beaufort County.
It was immensely informative, and enriching to anyone wanting to know why Beaufort County is what it is today. Returning north of the Broad, the group was taken back to the 18th century at St Helena’s Parish Church with a story laden talk with docent Wayne Cousar centering on what the church has seen over the past 300 years, and a tour of the church graveyard.
The day’s finale was a social mixer at the newly renovated inn, the Anchorage 1770, right on Bay Street with a view of the water. Hosts, owner Frank and Amy Lesesne, greeted us warmly with the story of the great house, which dates back…1770.