James Island Community Calls for Charleston County Historic Designation

JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) – The Beefield community on James Island is small, but the people form a tight-knit and passionate neighborhood with lots of stories.

Community chairman George Richardson said between military events, a sense of community and a peaceful nature, preserving Beefield’s history is more important than ever. To that end, he and his neighbors went to a county meeting Tuesday night to make their voices heard.

“Because when you start walking down the dirt road, we’re all in the woods or the trees. It’s almost as if you were in another world. And just beyond the Folly Road, we’re all in traffic going up and down Folly Beach, you forget all about it, it’s like stepping into another era, it’s peaceful. And that’s what my community loves,” says Richardson.

The ‘Bee Tract’ covers nearly 60 acres of land on James Island off Folly Road at Battery Island Drive. Richardson says it is the site of significant Civil War history, including the Battle of Secessionville in 1862 and a third assault in 1864 on James Island.

He is also part of a community of African-American freedmen.

“You drive Battery Island Drive, which is along the creek, you’ll notice that every house has at least two oak trees in the front yard, and they’re draped in a straight line from end to end,” he says . “You know, and we like that. We sit on our porch and yell at each other and that kind of thing.

The South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust says the archaeological significance of the battles is there and has been well preserved to date. Most of the land has been passed down to family members since they purchased it in 1872.

Justin Schwebler, property manager for the Historic Charleston Foundation, says status is an added layer of protection and recognition for people and their land.

“Basically, it creates a process property boundary around those original historic district parcels, giving them an extra layer of protection against inappropriate development, things like that. So if somebody wants to get into the community, they use building a highway or something or building a hotel or restaurants,” says Schwebler.

The Planning and Public Works Committee will hold a meeting at the Beefield lot on April 21 and a proposal will return to the Charleston County Council for consideration on April 26.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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