The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC) was the recent recipient of a $18,000 check from the Friends of McLeod organization. The funds will be used at McLeod Plantation Historic Site, which is set to open in spring 2015.
A 501(c)(3) educational non-profit organization, the Friends of McLeod (FOM) was founded in 2004 to help oppose the threat of development of historic McLeod Plantation. In 2011, CCPRC became the owners of the historic site located on James Island. Since that time, FOM has continued to be advocates for the property, working together with CCPRC to help with the site’s success through volunteering and fundraising.
On Nov. 17, members of FOM’s board of directors, Dr. Jerry Owens and Mr. Rick Little, presented the check to CCPRC commissioners. The $18,000 will be used for the purchase of benches for public use at McLeod Plantation Historic Site.
“Now that CCPRC owns McLeod Plantation, FOM will continue to be advocates of McLeod. FOM will be working together with CCPRC to ensure that McLeod Plantation remains a treasure for all, and for all time,” said Tom O’Rourke, executive director for CCPRC.
McLeod Plantation is a 37-acre property located on James Island. It was a site of nearly 300 years of continuous agricultural use, and was associated with Revolutionary and Civil War activities. Currently, the site is undergoing a construction project to build a welcome center, parking area, and other improvements to allow it to be opened for public access. McLeod Plantation Historic Site is expected to open in spring 2015. In the interim, it is closed to the public.
The McLeod Plantation property features an outstanding collection of historic buildings, oak allées, and a rich archeological record. Perhaps the most significant aspect of the site is its connection to enslaved African Americans, Gullah Geechee culture, and their efforts to achieve freedom and social equality. “Transition Row,” featuring six houses built for the enslaved at the property, was home to generations of African Americans from the late 1700s through the 1980s. Federal troops were quartered in these houses as well. Immediately following the war, the main house served as a regional office for the Freedmen’s Bureau and the row of small houses provided homes to freedmen and their families.
CCPRC acquired McLeod Plantation from the Historic Charleston Foundation in February 2011 with the goal of opening it as a county park at a later date. Since acquiring the property, CCPRC has worked with consultants, a steering committee and with public input to create a master plan for the historic property. The 21-member steering committee includes members from the Historic Charleston Foundation, the Friends of McLeod, the National Park Service, as well as historical, agricultural and preservation organizations and members of local, state and federal government. Other work at the site has included an extensive inventory and analysis of the property, and a stabilization project to secure and seal its historic buildings. For details on the progress of the site, visit www.CharlestonCountyParks.com/McLeod.
For more information on the Friends of McLeod, visit their website at http://www.mcleodplantation.org.
PHOTO CAPTION: Members of the board of directors for the Friends of McLeod (FOM) present a check to commissioners from the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC) for use at McLeod Plantation Historic Site. Pictured, from left to right, are: Front Row - Teddy Manos (CCPRC), Andrew Thomas (CCPRC), Ravi Sanyal (CCPRC), Mattese Lecque (CCPRC), Rick Little (FOM), Lisa King (CCPRC), Dr. Jerry Owens (FOM). Back Row: Benjy Cooke (CCPRC), Collin Bruner (CCPRC), Tom Delaney (FOM), Herb Butler (FOM).