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May 16, 2022

Preservation Month Series | The Historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar

The 1920s brought a new era of excitement to the United States, and a break from many traditions of the past. Speakeasies, jazz clubs, and flappers who smoked, drank, and danced the night away, were commonplace across many cities. Even young Americans, like Mildred Unger, were caught up in the craze of the Roaring ‘20s. In 1927, she danced the Charleston on the wing of an airplane - while it was in the air!

It was during the exuberant decade that airplanes nudged their way into the American landscape. For many years, early airports were nothing more than open fields. In the late 1920s, Columbia built its first airport, and the Curtiss-Wright Hangar.

The hangar, located at Owens Field, was constructed by The Curtiss-Wright Flying Services, the countries' largest aviation corporation in the United States at the time.

Regularly scheduled flights began in 1932 under Eastern Air Transport. In 1939, civilian flight training began under the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, with the hangar serving as the commission's headquarters. In 1940, the U.S. Army Air Corps used the hangar for observation flights and military training by the U.S. Army Air Force. This use would continue through World War II.

But just as quickly as the Roaring ‘20s came and went, so did the useful life of the Curtiss-Wright Hangar. During the 1950s, the commercial airline industry would quickly outgrow those original buildings.

Sometime in the early 1980s, the Curtiss-Wright Hangar, the one-time host to personalities such as Amelia Earhart and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt closed for good. Its future, to say the least, was in doubt.

After decades of disrepair, the hangar was purchased in 2016 by Hangar Owners, LLC, formerly Hangar Preservation Development, LLC, with a mission to transform it into a microbrewery. By 2018, in just two short years, their mission was complete and the Hangar was restored.

As a significant part of our mission, Preservation South Carolina, holds an easement on the Curtiss-Wright Hangar to protect this place in perpetuity. We would like to thank Hangar Owners, LLC for their pioneering preservation work!

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May 4, 2022

Preservation Month Series | The Remarkable Story of Sheldon Church

Consider this question for starters: What building, in our entire country, might have been “the first conscious attempt in America to imitate a Greek temple?” Sheldon Church (formerly Prince William Parish Church) is your answer.

And how many buildings in our country have survived being burned during the Revolutionary War. Few, we can suppose, and Sheldon Church, many still believe, is one of them.

Land for Sheldon Church was donated by the Bull family from the original holdings of Edmund Bellinger, who was awarded the lands in 1698 by England's Lords Proprietors. The name Sheldon Church was used in honor of the Bull family whose Carolina plantation and ancestral home in Warwickshire, England, were both called Sheldon Hall. Its first service was in 1757.

Overlooked in South Carolina's history is the pivotal role played in the Revolutionary War. More battles were fought here—over one hundred—than in any other state. Sheldon Church, put to use as a political and military center by Continental troops, paid the price for its service when it was burned by General Augustine Prevost’s British troops in May 1779.

It was not until 1825 that the church was rebuilt from the remaining walls. It was once though, that on January 14, 1865, it was again burned, this time by General Sherman’s 15th Corps under General John Logan. But in recent times, it is now learned that Sheldon was not in fact burned by Sherman's troops in 1865. The church was standing after the Civil War, however, due to the lack of attendance, the church was dismantled by freedman. It was never rebuilt.

Sheldon Church, located in Beaufort County, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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Apr 7, 2022

Mt Carmel of McCormick County Restored

It's the small towns that capture our hearts and mind, those places from the past that conjure up memories of a simpler time, of fountain Cokes, of neighbors looking out for neighbors. There are many such places in South Carolina, including Mt. Carmel, a mostly forgotten community located about 15-20 minutes from downtown Abbeville.

Constructed in the 1890s, this frame building is indicative of a flourishing early railroad town in South Carolina. Services were held in this weatherboard meeting house until the mid-1950s. Since, the church has remained vacant, passing into the hands of private ownership.

Thanks to a significant donation from an anonymous donor, and the generosity of owners, Ed McAllister and Joseph Carpenter, our Sacred Spaces Program was able to begin the restoration of Mt. Carmel Presbyterian.

Today, we are happy to announce the end of our restoration is 98% Complete!

The electrical systems have been updated and installed, along with a new chandelier placed in the center of the building. The only work that remains is the repair the stained glass windows, and we can’t wait to tell that story.

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Mar 12, 2022

PSC Advocates for Aiken's Historic Hotel

On March 1, 2022, Aiken's Design Review Board voted to approve the demolition of the Hotel Aiken in order to make way for a new hotel, apartments, parking structure, and conference center. The approval came with some conditions, including that no demolition would occur without fully approved plans in place and after adequate public input has been received. Almost immediately, some in the Aiken community, understanding that "historic fabric" cannot be replaced, reached out to Preservation South Carolina and asked for assistance.

Preservation South Carolina Interim President Mike Bedenbaugh summarized, "We are pleased to have been to take a closer look at this project to ensure that what is being said is in fact accurate: That the Hotel Aiken cannot reasonably be saved. Perhaps so, but as recently as a few years ago there were plans to retrofit and expand the landmark structure. Due diligence requires that we review what happened to those plans and why and reasonably ask if they should be refreshed.”

As of the date of this News Release, Preservation South Carolina is pursuing a stability study of the hotel by the renowned Historic Masonry engineer, Craig Bennett, and his team at Bennett Preservation Engineering of Charleston.

Preservation South Carolina is also requesting, via the Freedom of Information Act, information from the city of Aiken.

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Feb 7, 2022

Trinity Phase II Complete

We are excited to announce that we have completed phase II of Trinity Abbeville.

Trinity Abbeville, designed in 1860 by George E. Walker, is a neo-gothic building standing 125 feet tall just a block from Abbeville's Town Square. The exterior is composed of stucco overlaying locally made brick. The interior features William Gibson stained glass windows and a rare tracker organ designed by John Baker, one of only two remaining in existence. Trinity Abbeville is so important to history and continues today as a meeting place for worshipers and tourists alike. Trinity Church of Abbeville is not “just” an Episcopal Church; it is the heart and soul of the entire Abbeville community, and the number one tourist attraction for the charming town.

Since our lease of Trinity in 2019, we have made considerable progress in the stabilization and preservation of this city's landmark. We are excited to announce the completion of Phase II, the scaffolding placed three years ago, has been removed!

We look forward to partnering with the Diocese in strategizing the next phase of restoration. Although there is more work to be done, Trinity Abbeville is now open for worship and events. If you have a wedding or event, please contact Friends of Trinity at Anna@RestoreTrinity.org.

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Nov 28, 2021

Joanna Rothell Joins PSC Staff

We are excited to welcome Camden-native Joanna Rothell to the Preservation South Carolina team as our Director of Outreach and Preservation. At the College of Charleston, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Historic Preservation and a minor in Anthropology. She is dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of South Carolina’s distinct character and diverse historic districts, and looks forward to putting her skills to work in preserving South Carolina’s historic places.

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Oct 11, 2021

Fred Delk Joins PSC Board

Preservation South Carolina is pleased to announced that Fred Delk, long-time leader of the Columbia Development Corporation (CDC) has agreed to join the organization's board of directors. His willingness to serve on our Board of Directors; his experience in the development of historic structures and empowering economic development on local communities will be invaluable as our organization prepares for the next decade of preserving communities and places in South Carolina.

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Sep 29, 2021

Good Hope, Saved

Preservation South Carolina is pleased to announce that Good Hope, an historic church in rural Richland County, is now owned by a Black congregation long in search of a church home. Historically, Good Hope has long been a Baptist church with a congregation before the Civil War. The change of ownership, made possible by the generosity of the Columbia Metro Baptist Association, means that the Black congregation will be worshipping in the same church where the ancestors once worshipped in the slave gallery.

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Aug 13, 2021

Mike Bedenbaugh Receives Order of the Palmetto

Preservation South Carolina is pleased to announced that Fred Delk, long-time leader of the Columbia Development Corporation (CDC) has agreed to join the organization's board of directors. His willingness to serve on our Board of Directors; his experience in the development of historic structures and empowering economic development on local communities will be invaluable as our organization prepares for the next decade of preserving communities and places in South Carolina.

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