You read that right! Ten dollars!
The current owner, the South Carolina State Ports Authority, agreed to sell the fort and grounds to the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) Camp 1269 for what you must agree is a very, very fair price.
The Ports Authority acquired Shutes’ Folly back in the 1950s when the site fell off the list of sites under consideration for national monument status. Facing budget concerns, the Ports Authority agreed to transfer the property to the SCV camp.
I’ve visited Shute’s Folly many years back. Certainly the remotest site of the Charleston, South Carolina forts. Although the brickwork has crumbled and deteriorated, I was able to learn a great deal about the architectural aspects of the fort despite the overgrowth.
At one time the Ports Authority used the island as a dredging spoil site, but I don’t think any of the historical structures were affected. Over the years I’ve heard a number of attempts by the Ports Authority to introduce preservation efforts. But none seemed to take root. Hopefully this time the SCV’s efforts will bear fruit.
Speaking to the Charleston Post and Courier the SCV Camp’s commander Philip Middleton stated, “We didn’t want to see something out there like a sports bar, with neon lights.”
Another camp member, Bill Snow, added, “Our ultimate aim is to preserve this facility in a respectful and dignified way, to provide a visible link to the past for future generations in the Charleston area. The fort is a part of our Lowcountry heritage and will be honored as such by the Fort Sumter Camp of the SCV.”
The fort was the first such installation occupied by South Carolina troops, and a significant event in the road to war. And at the end of the war, it was among the installations in Charleston manned by US Colored Troops. Those are a couple of reasons I’ve always considered the photo below among the most telling from the war period:
I do hope the SCV is able to stabilize the site. However I think restoration of the fort is out of the question for now. But even in the current condition, the location might make an interesting “extended stop” for those on Fort Sumter tours. Heck, I’d pay an extra $5 on the normal boat tour price for that stop. Get one more of you to join with me, and the SCV camp breaks even!
(Photos and illustrations courtesy of Henry de Saussure Copeland, linked from a Flickr collection.)