Beaufort Local Customs

  • St. Helena's Church Steeple
    St. Helena's Church Steeple
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  • Elliott House
    Elliott House
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  • From farther away
    From farther away
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Most Recent Local Customs in Beaufort

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    Conant House c 1870 (#36 on the Walking Tour)

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011
    Visitor's Center
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    Built originally as a family home, it became the Bellamy Inn, and then served as a funeral parlor, antique shop and real estate office. It was purchased and restored by the Greater Beaufort Chamber of Congress for use as a visitor's center in 1997.

    There are exhibits inside on Beaufort history and architecture, and businesses which are members of the Chamber of Congress have their own exhibits, or in the case of restaurants, there is a book of menus. You can also book tours of the city here.

    If coming from the South, take I-95 North to Exit 8, turn and go about 5 or 6 miles staying in the left lane. There will be a small sign for left turn to Beaufort. Follow to Hwy 170. Turn left on Hwy 170 and follow to Beaufort. The Visitor's Center is at 1106 Carteret Street. It is open 9 am - 5 pm Mon. - Fri.

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    Col. Edward Means House c 1853 (#9 on tour)

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Mears House

    This house at 604 Pinckney St. has a portico entry on the East side. The interior is noted for the fine woodwork including a floating spiral staircase.

    It was built around 1853 and saved during the Civil War by federal forces in need of quarters.

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    George Elliott House c 1844 (#1 on walking tour)

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Lawyer's Office on Bay Street
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    I could not figure out what house this was until I looked at the tiny sign on the railing, which for an office of an attorney. Then I found that it was the George Elliott house of 1001 Bay Street.

    Before the Civil War, Dr. W. A. Jenkins a rich planter and slave owner from St. Helena Island bought the house from George Elliott. After the war it was sold by the Federal Government (probably for taxes) to George Holmes. His wife, Julia Hazel Holmes lived in the house until her death in the 1930s. Originally, the house had no second story verandah - that was added in the late nineteenth century.

    After that, the Historic Beaufort Foundation used it as a museum until 1995. It is currently used as offices subject to a conservation easement. "Among the many excellent features of the house are a fine fan lit doorway [which you can't see in my picture], attractive iron railings, and good interior details including marble mantels, gilded cornices and moldings." I don't see any iron railings, and I don't know whether the interior details are still extant or if they could be seen by a visitor.

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    Wm Barnwell House c 1816 (#17 on walking tour)

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011
    Barnwell House

    As recently as January, 1973, the William Wigg Barnwell house was slated for demolition. It was saved by the Historic Beaufort Foundation, and in September, 1973, it was moved from its original location at the southwest corner of Prince and Scott Streets to its present site at 501 King Street.

    The twelve room town house is said to have been built by the Gibbes brothers on behalf of their sister, Sarah Reeve Gibbes, who married William Wigg Barnwell, grandson of the Revolutionary War hero, Major William Hazzard Wigg. During the Civil War, the house served as Union Hospital #4. The house remained in the Barnwell family until 1895, when the Barnwells son Bower Williamson Barnwell died.

    The house later served as a school and as an apartment house. For the better part of this century it sustained much abuse and neglect. Despite this, much of the original paneling and a magnificent stairhall remained fairly intact. The house was purchased and restored by antiques dealer Jim Williams of Savannah, Georgia.

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    James Robert Verdier House c1814 (#8 on the tour)

    by grandmaR Updated Aug 11, 2006

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    Looking in the gates
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    The James Robert Verdier House is also known as Marshlands. It is at 501 Pinckney Street, and it does look out over the marshes along the river (second picture)

    When we went by this house, a lot of the tour groups were going inside. I guess the inside of the house is on the tour.

    The house is set off the ground supported by arches, and blends Barbadian plantation architecture with the more formal Adam features. One outstanding feature is the porch which runs across the front and down each side to connect back rooms. Second floor right and left wings are not original.

    The house was built around 1814 by James Robert Verdier, son of John Mark Verdier (#2 on the tour), and used during the Civil War as headquarters of the U.S. Sanitary Commission. It is the imaginary home of Emily Fenwick, the heroine of Francis Griswold’s Civil War novel, "Sea Island Lady".

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    Thomas Fuller House c 1786 (#25 on walking tour)

    by grandmaR Updated Aug 10, 2006
    Tabby Manse
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    The 1211 Bay Street house which was built in 1786 by Thomas Fuller and is noted for its tabby walls. The exterior of the two foot thick tabby walls is covered with scored plaster to resemble stone. The house has 12 inch thick hand-hewn structural timbers that span the entire 45 foot depth of the house. It is one of the finest early houses in Beaufort.

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    Yummm She-Crab Soup

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Feb 10, 2006

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    She-Crab Soup is not only a Charleston tradition, but has long been associated with South Carolina. Our first introduction to it was in Beaufort, and although it doesn't fit our low-fat diets, we splurged, and it is a splurge I hope to make again. Below you will find a recipe for She-Crab Soup. Although the recipe calls for fresh she-crabs and their eggs, store-bought lump crabmeat and crumbled egg yolks can be substituted. In the 1700s dry Madeira was the wine used in She-Crab Soup, but today many establishments substitute Sherry.

    She-Crab Soup
    serves 6
    2 T. butter
    1 green onion, finely chopped
    1 stalk celery, finely chopped
    2 Tbls. flour
    1 quart whole milk
    1 cup heavy cream
    3 c. cooked lump fresh she-crab meat and its eggs (or 3 c. lump crabmeat and crumbled yolks from 2 hard-cooked eggs)
    Salt and white pepper to taste
    Dash hot sauce or Tabasco
    One third cup dry Madeira (or Sherry)
    One half cup heavy cream, whipped
    paprika
    In a heavy saucepan melt the butter, add the onion and celery, and saute until the onion is soft but not browned. Stir in the flour, then add the milk and cream and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes. Add the crabmeat with the eggs (substitute crumbled yolks from 2 hard-cooked eggs if fresh she-grabs are not used.) When ready to serve, warm the soup briefly to 180 degrees over very low heat, stirring. Do not allow it to boil. Taste, season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce or Tabasco. To serve, place a small amount of Madeira or sherry in each bowl, add the soup, top with whipped cream, and sprinkle with paprika.

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    The Official State Dance

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Feb 10, 2006

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    Imagine a state that has an official state dance! The Carolina shag, which came into style in the 1950s, is a rock and roll eight-step that's the legend of the South Carolina beaches. When you visit the towns that lie along South Carolina's coast you will find people dancing this dance, which is often described as the jitterbug meets rhythm and blues. Very little motion is made in the upper body, and the footwork is smooth and close to the floor, having begun on the beaches where kicking sand in your partners face was a distinct possibility. One southerner told me that the shag was designed to be danced with a beer in one hand and the lady in the other. Shag dancing is always casual, and women should never wear high heels.

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    Milton Maxey House c 1813 (#23 on walking tour)

    by grandmaR Updated Sep 6, 2005

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    Secession House

    The Milton Maxey house was built on an original tabby foundation which dated from 1743. Tabby is a cement made from lime, sand and oyster shells.

    According to Janet H. Gritzner, "the vast majority of tabby structures were located on the southern Atlantic coast. This distribution reflects diffusion from two primary centers or hearths: one at Saint Augustine, Florida, and the other at Beaufort, South Carolina. These centers represented the core areas for two separate traditions in tabby building. ... British-built tabby arising out of Beaufort, South Carolina, had a quite different history and distribution from that of Spanish origin."

    The Maxey house is at 1113 Craven Street and is known as the "Secession House" after the first meeting in favor of secession was held here. According to writings on the basement walls: “In this house the first meeting in favor of secession was held in 1851.”

    The Ordinance of Secession breaking South Carolina’s ties with the United States was signed here.

    It was also used as a headquarters by Union Army Gen. Rufus Saxon during the Civil War.

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    Berners Barnwell Sams House c 1852 (#11 on tour)

    by grandmaR Updated May 1, 2005

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    Sams House from Laurens St.
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    This house at 201 Laurens Street sports massive Doric pillars which support the flat roof and second floor veranda. The front walls are Flemish bond brick; all other walls are Common bond brick. The buildings on the grounds include a blacksmith shop, a cook house, laundry and rooms for the household servants. Dr. Berners Barnwell Sams first built a house on New Street. This house was used as a Civil War hospital.

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    Thomas Rhett House c 1829 (#21 on tour)

    by grandmaR Updated May 1, 2005
    Porch of Rhett House Inn
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    This building at 1009 Craven Street was built in 1820. The structure is now the site of the Rhett House Inn. It has two story wrap around piazzas and transom lights over the doorways. The portico and the wings are not original

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    William Elliott House pre 1776 (#30 on tour)

    by grandmaR Updated May 1, 2005
    Elliott House

    This three-story tabby house at 1103 Bay Street was built before the Revolutionary War by William Elliot I and occupied before the Civil War by William Elliott III, who was very much opposed to secession. He resigned his seat in the Senate rather than vote for nullification. But when the war broke out he, like Robert E. Lee, went with his state. The house was saved from demolition by the Historic Beaufort Foundation. Today it is known as the Anchorage House.

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    John Mark Verdier House c1790 (#2 on Walking Tour)

    by grandmaR Updated May 1, 2005

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    Verdier Museum
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    John Mark Verdier, a prosperous merchant built this Federal-style house in the 1790s. In 1825, the Marquis de Lafayette was a house guest here. The home was taken over by Union officers as their headquarters during the Civil War. The Verdier house once housed the presses of the Beaufort Gazette.

    It is now a museum which was restored by the Historic Beaufort Foundation.. It is at 1802 Bay Street and Scott Streets.
    Admission $4 adults $2 students.
    Hours: Mon-Sat, 11 am - 4 pm

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    Hamilton House 1856 (#10 on walking tour)

    by grandmaR Updated May 1, 2005

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    West side of The Oaks
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    The Paul Hamilton House AKA The Oaks is at 100 Laurens Street. It is Italianate in style with a wide porch running across the front and the two sides.

    Inside are unusual carved mantles that wrap around the sides of the chimneys.

    Built in 1856 by Col. Paul Hamilton and deserted when Beaufort was occupied by federal troops in 1861, it was used as a hospital for a time. Following the war, it was offered for sale by the government commissioner along with other Beaufort houses to pay “taxes due.” Indignant citizens, led by George Holmes, a Northern merchant, gathered together enough money to pay for the house in Hamilton’s name.

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    Baptist Church of Beaufort c 1844 (#20 on tour)

    by grandmaR Updated May 1, 2005

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    Church cemetery on the north side of the church
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    The Baptist Church of Beaufort was organized in 1800, but the building was not erected at 600 Charles Street until 1844 during the Pastorate of Richard Fuller. Richard Fuller was the son of Thomas Fuller who built Tabby Manse.

    The church is an excellent example of Greek Revival architecture. Originally it did not have a steeple.

    It was used as a hospital during the Civil War. Before the war, the congregation consisted of 166 white worshippers and 3,577 slaves.

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Beaufort Local Customs

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