Wednesday, January 25, 2012

More from St. Helana Island, SC

After we left the State Park we headed over to the other side of the island to see the Chapel of Ease constructed in the 1740s ....
The Chapel of Ease was constructed so that the Planters that lived too far from the "city" churches could worship closer to home.  What remains is an example of a construction method  called tabby which creates a concrete out of lime, sand and oyster shells. It was, during it's hey day, called the White Church because of the white color brought by all those shells.
It is really amazing to see these ruins and think of all the families that passed through the doors when it was still a place of worship.  It was abandoned by the white planters in 1861 just prior to Northern invasion when they left the area. Afterwards it is said to have been used by Union forces and later freed slaves before it met its destruction in a massive forest fire in 1886.
 It is a beautiful and mysterious place and the cemetery is still somewhat intact, although most of the graves have become almost indistinguishable.  There is also an open mausoleum, which is a bit unsettling to take a peek into!
One plot in the cemetery contains the graves of several children, the oldest being 7, from a single family. The children all died within days of one another in 1839.  I can't help but wonder what kind of illness swept through and envision the heart broken parents standing in that cemetery.
Of course, a place like this can't help but have all kinds of legends and stories connected to it.  This a great video that shows you more Chapel of Ease, St. Helena Island, SC or this web page for more details on the haunting stories The ghost of St. Helena's Chapel of Ease and Land's End Light
 After visiting the Chapel of Ease we headed on to Fort Fremont at the end of the Island.  It was quite an impressive, albeit creepy, structure built in built in 1899. "It  was one of six fortifications designed to protect the southeastern coast during the Spanish American War. The original Fort site had 170 acres and was manned by a force of 110 personal. The main weapon systems consisted of Battery Jesup which had three 10-inch breech-loaded disappearing cannons and Battery Fornance which had two 4.7-inch rapid fire guns." ~Fort Fremont History
Fort Fremont was deactivated as a military installation in the early 1920s.  It was sold into private hands in the 1930s and fell to the undergrowth and thick St. Helena's Island vegetation and to vandals.  Currently it is owned by Beaufort County and is it is open to the public. It is a massive structure  and completely open to explore, although I would encourage you to bring flash lights as most of the rooms are underground and very dark (thus creepy). 
From the coastal side you couldn't even tell the Fort was there as it is hidden by the bluff.  Amazingly it rests on the shores of the most beautiful and quiet beach.  The park currently has has 900 feet of beach frontage on Port Royal Sound.  We were just stunned at how pristine and lovely this beach was.  It was a hidden gem. You can find more information about the Fort at this link Fort Fremont.
I hope you enjoyed coming along and seeing what fun
we had on St. Helena Island!


  1. Wow, that place is really cool. I need to go there someway. My husband's brother and his family lives in North Carolina, so I should tell him about that. Maybe we'll all go there when we visit them again :)

    You took some really good shots, too, by the way. I like the one of the top that old fence. And also the one with the twisty tree :)


  2. I love this blog post, Michelle. I'm such a history buff, especially colonial coastal Georgia and the SC Lowcountry, so I really enjoy learning more about this area. Thanks too for the links with more information. Awesome post!

  3. I would love to visit there. Looks like my kind of place to photograph.

  4. Great pics! I used to live in Beaufort, so I have been to all of the places you went to. I miss it, so I really enjoyed the pics! We actually used to go out to the old fort when we teenagers. That was place you went to scare yourself back then! And of course, sitting on the side of the road waiting to see the Land's End light. We never saw it, but it was spooky anyway! We still visit every summer and my kids have enjoyed exploring the area too.

  5. I'm loving all the Spanish moss-filled pictures!!


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