22 March 2017

The Dead House

Dead House, North Charleston, SC  
Anything named the Dead House has to be mysterious, right? I can't find any real reason it is called that but the small brick structure on the old Navy base in North Charleston may be it's most historic structure. I sure do wish they would take off the No Trespassing sign since so many of us show up to take photos. Sheesh.

This information is from the Navy Yard Blog:
The Navy called it the Dead House, and that name “Dead House” appears on an 1895 survey of the area done prior to the design of the Chicora Park on the site by Olmsted Brothers. So the building pre-dates the Navy and Chicora Park. Before that the land was a plantation. Navy Architect Randy Guy’s research identified 15 different landowners from the first land grant in 1672 through 1895. There are many periods of local history when storing powder around the fringe of Charleston would have been called for, but no specific information has yet been found. Of the land owners, one stands out. His name was Sir Edgerton Leigh. He owned the property from 1767-1771. He was the first customs officer and the first postmaster for Charleston. In his customs capacity, it is thought that he assessed a tax on gunpowder carried by arriving ships. How this possible gunpowder connection may tie into the building on the Base is unclear thus far. Graduate student Chris Ohm from the College of Charleston has been researching a number of leads about the building and time will hopefully tell us more of the story.
Mr Hugh’s own theory on the Dead House name is that it stems from the use of the old powder magazine as a temporary place to put bodies until burial was arranged. On the old plantation grounds, this building would have been the coolest place.

20 March 2017

Blooming bottle brush tree

Bottle Brush/Callistemon
The bright colors of the blooming bottle brush tree caught my eye as we wandered the old Navy base this weekend. The bush is thriving next to the historic restored Quarters H-I mansion.

19 March 2017

Old Naval Hospital - North Charleston

Old Navy Hospital, North Charleston, SC    
I've brought you to the abandoned Naval Hospital in North Charleston before but this time I walked around the entire property and realized how large the facility was. It's a beautiful old Spanish style building and it is sad to see it falling into disrepair. Many people have memories of working or being inside the building when it was a lively and bustling healthcare facility. Now the lower windows are boarded and the outside is marked with graffiti.
The Charleston Naval Hospital Historic District is nationally significant as an example of the United States effort to mobilize medical support for the Navy during World Wars I and II and the Navy's ability to create a permanent and professional medical service for Navy personnel and their dependents. These healthcare facilities were placed at the Charleston Navy Base and planned in a manner consistent with military protocol to organize medical treatment, support services, and residential units. The district is also architecturally significant for buildings and structures that reflect the time periods in which they were constructed corresponding to large building periods at the Charleston Navy Base during the First and Second World Wars. The majority of buildings have a unifying architectural language which incorporates both Spanish Colonial and Mission style forms with Modern details and materials. Two residential buildings and support structures date from the First World War and exhibit Craftsmen Bungalow features. The Charleston Naval Hospital Historic District is an intact collection of thirty-two buildings located in the northwest corner of the former Charleston Navy Base. There are three groups of buildings that comprise the District: treatment facilities centered on the main hospital complex, service related buildings located to the east of the main hospital, and residential buildings largely located to the west and south of the hospital. The earliest extant structures in the district date from 1917 during construction of hospital facilities to serve an increased labor force at the base during World War I. 
Postcard - U.S. Naval Hospital, Charleston
It appears they left a few patients inside when it closed.

18 March 2017

North Charleston Riverfront Park Sculpture Exhibition

Outdoor sculptures, North Charleston Riverfront Park, North Charleston, SC   
I love wandering the old Navy base area in North Charleston and catching up on the latest sculptures added to the exhibition area at the Riverfront Park. We don't have too much modern sculpture in Charleston and this is a treat. I met a few friends this morning for fish and chips at the CODfather on Reynolds Ave. and then enjoyed the park. 

More details on the artists and their award winning work here. You too can submit a piece of art and win prizes! 
Sculptors from across the nation are welcome to submit an application for participation in the National Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition. Up to 14 sculptures are juried into the exhibit and compete for cash prizes totaling up to $19,750. The deadline to apply for the 2017/18 exhibition has passed (February 25, 2017). Call the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843-740-5854 for more information, or to be added to the application mailing list for 2018/19.
This one is actually the performance stage

17 March 2017

Leprechaun rounds

Charleston's own leprechaun, Charleston, SC  
Every year I anticipate a call from my Leprechaun as he promises to show up if I have a basket of candy ready. The week before St. Patrick's day everyone at the hospital asks if the Leprechaun is coming. He missed last year after his wife passed away but he met me this morning and made his rounds. He is frailer now but he was a good sport giving out candy and hugs and posing for pictures as I walked him all over the hospital. 

Thanks for the smiles!

16 March 2017

In the belly of the tree

Sago Palm Tree, Charleston, SC 
What the heck? I've taken pictures of the inside of a sago palm before but I've never seen it looking like this. Oddness abounds, my friends. In fact the one next to it looked nothing like this.

I am so enjoying the lighter evenings and being able to walk later. Thank you daylight savings time. This little mini library is close to my house and I see it as an optical illusion in this shot. It appears to be floating in mid-air. In truth it rests right on the ground under the oak tree. I'll have to look closer next time and see if they are children's books in easy reach.

Bed time, kids!

12 March 2017

Old Sheldon Church Ruins

Old Sheldon Church Ruins, Yemessee, SC  
We were to get a bright and sunny Saturday and a dreary rainy Sunday for the weekend and my friend Sharon had offered to do a road trip to the Old Sheldon Church ruins so we hit the road on Saturday morning. I've brought you here before but never tire of this beautiful spot. It was a lovely day and the dogwood trees were in full bloom.

Sadly grave markers from this historic spot have recently been stolen. It's hard to understand.

We followed our visit to the church with lunch in Beaufort and the ritual praline stop at the Chocolate Tree on the way out of town. It makes for a perfect day trip.
Old Sheldon Church RuinsSheldon Church has lain in ruin for more than 120 years. Its gable roof, pediment, windows, and interior have disappeared, but the classic simplicity of its design still remains. One of the first Greek-Revival structures built in the United States, Prince William's Parish Church, erected 1745-55, was once one of the most impressive churches in the Province. During the Revolution, the Patriots are believed to have stored gun powder in it. In 1779, when the British General Augustine Prevost invaded the Lowcountry, the church was burned by a detachment which according to tradition, was commanded by the flamboyant local Tory, Andrew Deveaux. Rebuilt in 1826, the church was again burned by Sherman's men in 1865. The ruins are nevertheless a picturesque site from which the visitor can visualize the grandeur of the pre-Revolutionary church.

11 March 2017

Spring in Charleston

Avenue of oaks, Charleston, SC 
I woke startled from a dream where a tree cutting machine went down my street with a long blade out and cut down every tree on both sides of the street. Oddly, as dreams are, the logs were neatly stacked in all of our yards. A gentleman was running behind the vehicles yelling back at us saying, "I'm gonna take care of it, I'm gonna take care of it!"

So there. Maybe that is what motivated me to leap out of bed and get a picture of this avenue of oaks with the azaleas in bloom before the glaring morning sun hit it.

Have a good weekend kids!