Gullah Festival Offers Interactive Look Into Beaufort’s Upcoming Reconstruction Era Monument
Several sites in Beaufort County are now a part of the National Park Service. These sites include Darrah Hall and Brick Baptist Church (within the Penn School National Historic Landmark District); the Camp Saxton Site, on U.S. Navy property in Port Royal; and The Old Beaufort Firehouse located in the midst of downtown Beaufort.
Memorial Day weekend, visitors to the Annual Original Gullah Festival in Beaufort, will have the opportunity to learn about the importance of these places.
The Old Beaufort Firehouse, Darrah Hall, and the Camp Saxton Site are not yet accessible to the public. Brick Baptist Church is privately owned and supports an active congregation.
Since the January 12 establishment of the Reconstruction Era National Monument, the National Park Service has created tangible items to educate the public about the upcoming sites.
"One of the products we've developed is an official handbook, that you would traditionally find in any National Park Service site," said Michael Allen, community partnership specialist for the National Park Service in Charleston.
Two visitors centers (one within the visitors center in downtown Beaufort and another within the visitors center at Penn Center) were also created.
"We want individuals to know that we're working through a process. It's a work in progress, but these are tangible products that we have that you can take away, if you come," Allen said.
The National Park Service does not have a timeline for when the sites will be completed, but Allen said one of the next steps in this process is hosting a community engagement meeting.
Allen said, the purpose of the meeting will be to "begin to put together the scope, the interpretive planning, the management planning, and how we think, in conjunction with the public, this park should look and operate."
National Park Service (South Carolina) Reconstruction Era Webpage: https://www.nps.gov/reer/index.htm
The Original Gullah Festival: http://theoriginalgullahfestival.org/