State's 'Most Historically Significant' Site Protected
Funds from Ports Authority purchase 22 acres to preserve Chapel of Ease Historical Site.
Leaves litter the ground, hiding a sacred treasure. Tombstones decay among the trees, names and dates fading into the stone.
Here, hundreds of people died in an attack by the land's native people, who were turned away by immigrant settlers. In the Strawberry community of Berkeley County, this piece of land was the last holding point before the native people could march on Charleston.
Here, loved ones, Yemassee War casualties and Revolutionary War patriots were buried.
This is the Palmetto state's most significant historic site, according to Goose Creek Mayor Michael Heitzler. The St. James Goose Creek Chapel of Ease Historical Site rests just a few miles outside the city's limits and, for the first time in this land's storied history, it will be protected.
"Much of South Carolina has intriguing tales to tell but no other site in South Carolina has such historical significance," Heitzler said.
Fellow committeeman Justin Lynes agreed.
"This was the 'Frontier.' At the time, it opened up Western expansion for the United States to become what it is today," Lynes said.
The St. James Goose Creek Chapel of Ease Historical Site was purchased with the Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust and the S.C. State Ports Authority and protected it with a conservation easement. This week, the site's committee, which includes Heitzler, celebrated that protection by holding a committee meeting at the 22-acre site and inviting the media.
"We hope we can eventually open it for public viewing," Heitzler said. "We see this as stop-over between Moncks Corner and Goose Creek."
The S.C. Ports Authority donated $1 million toward the purchase of the site to offset its Navy Base Terminal project, which will create a new container terminal and add three berths to the port. The Chapel of Ease site is one of many wetland and historic locations the authority has donated along the Santee Cooper river basin.
To help raise funds for the site, bowties and scarves featuring historical map features from the Charles Towne area will go on sale prior to Easter. Click here to visit the Chapel of Ease store.
Want to help? The committee is hosting a work day 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at the site to help clear debris. If you're interested in participating, contact the mayor at 843-553-6066 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Chapel of Ease, visit its website by clicking here.