Completion of Historic Wetlands Conservation Project (Phase 1)

By Eric Becker, Manager of Landscapes, Horticulture, and Modern Facilities

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In 2013, an initiative began to evaluate and produce management plans for the preservation and conservation of some of the historic rice fields and ponds on Drayton Hall property.  Historically, rice production was likely occurring here sometime around the end of the 17th century. The use of the fields and ponds for this function continued until the redevelopment of the property by John Drayton in the 1740s. Over the years, maintenance and use of the entire pond system had greatly diminished and the natural environment crept back in, attempting to reclaim a long-lost ecosystem. Unfortunately, this system (shown above) was unhealthy, lacking in good water quality and control, overgrown and breeched impoundments, and infested with invasive aquatic and wetland plants.

Working with Folk Land Management, the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust evaluated and adopted a management plan for this historic system to re-establish the integrity and function of the impoundments; replace, add and increase the water flow capacity, pond depth and holding capacity; reduce and remove invasive plants; add habitat for colonial bird species while increasing the seasonal water surface and food sources for migrating waterfowl; and to better allow access and interpretive potential in the future (Phase II). Work on Phase I began in March of this year and finished in August; it was supported, in part, through funding from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, the Dominion Foundation and Gail and Parker Gilbert. The results of these partnerships speak for themselves in the images below.

With the challenge of the recent Hurricane Matthew, the system was not only put to the test, but finally provided the necessary water, assisting to refill the ponds. The impoundments held, and although overwhelmed by this major event, the water control systems functioned much better than last year’s more impactful flooding.

 

 

 

A Historic Survivor

by Carter C. Hudgins, President and CEO

Drayton Hall Ponds

Drayton Hall welcomed Hurricane Matthew to the Lowcountry with secured windows, barricaded doors and a decade of preventative tree maintenance that resulted in relatively few damages to the property. Thanks to the ongoing stewardship efforts of staff and a focus on disaster preparation and management, only minor amounts of rain entered the historic main house, and less than 30 trees were toppled. Though record rains and a significant tidal surge resulted in the ponds overflowing and eroding portions of the entrance road (shown above), none of Drayton Hall’s historic live oaks or magnolias were impacted, and I strongly believe this stands as a testament to our recent efforts to proactively prune, fertilize and stabilize the site’s horticultural gems. Without the generosity of the Friends of Drayton Hall and their support of our historic trees, the storm could have resulted in the loss of significant landscape features.

Still, hurricane cleanup is/and will continue to be part of the daily routine for Drayton Hall’s landscape staff and partners, including Bartlett Tree Experts, shown below as they help us to remove a downed tree. For now, the roads have been resurfaced, the site has returned to normal operation and we look forward to welcoming you onsite in the days ahead.

Matthew’s impact from preparation to damage and clean-up to restoration:

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Drayton Hall In The News

 

AFA Summer 2016 Cover

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Written by Drayton Hall’s President and CEO Carter C. Hudgins, Ph.D.,  a 2006 Wood Family Fellow, the article describes the significant impact that one committed donor can have on an institution. It also shows how each of the Fellow’s work has informed the next and has led to many remarkable discoveries over the past ten years–helping to shape a new era of acquisitions, expansion of our museum collections, and site interpretation. Read the entire article here.

 

“The Best Portico: Rehabilitating an Architectural Icon”

3. Drayton Hall-Photographer Ron Blunt

Drayton Hall, an icon of colonial America, with its rare double portico.

The 2016 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series – Thursday, February 18th

  Speaker: Trish Smith, Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, Drayton Hall

Venue: South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC

 

Five years ago, Drayton Hall launched the portico rehabilitation project: an effort to remedy serious threats to the portico’s preservation and to visitor safety. After years of careful study and planning, the final construction phase is drawing to a close. Join Drayton Hall’s Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, Trish Smith, as we take a look back at what makes Drayton Hall’s portico so special and how an international team of professionals came together to bring this momentous project to completion.

Trish_Headshot - resized for webPatricia “Trish” Lowe Smith is the Curator of Historic Architectural Resources at Drayton Hall. After graduating with a B.A. in Art History from the University of South Carolina Honors College, Smith received her M.S. from the Clemson University and College of Charleston joint graduate program in Historic Preservation. Smith came to Drayton Hall in 2010 as a Wood Family Fellow, and joined the staff permanently upon completion of her fellowship. In 2013, Smith was awarded a residential fellowship at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Digital History Center to study the application of 3D visualization technology for the documentation and interpretation of cultural heritage sites. During her tenure at Drayton Hall she has assembled the site’s first preservation archive, carried out several architectural conservation projects, launched a digital restoration of Drayton Hall, and is currently managing the rehabilitation of Drayton Hall’s iconic portico.

About Drayton HallFounded in 1738, Drayton Hall is the nation’s earliest example of fully executed Palladian architecture and the oldest preserved plantation house in America still open to the public. After seven generations, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and numerous hurricanes and earthquakes, the main house remains in nearly original condition. A National Historic Landmark, Drayton Hall is a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is administered by The Drayton Hall Preservation Trust.

When the National Trust acquired Drayton Hall in 1974, it made the decision to “preserve” or stabilize the site. This action—unprecedented in its day—set Drayton Hall on a course unique among historic sites: it preserved its authentic, centuries-old timeline of history rather than restoring it to one specific period. Because it has never been modernized with electric lighting, plumbing, or central heating or air conditioning, the main house remains unfurnished, allowing the beauty of the architectural details to come through.

Click here for information on all of our 2016 Distinguished Speakers.

Doors open at 5:30pm with a Wine and Cheese Reception.
Presentations start promptly at 6:30pm.
No advance reservations; please arrive early as seating is limited.
The 2016 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series
is sponsored by The Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, SC.
Francis Marion Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

Drayton Hall in the News – January 2016

 

Drayton Hall 2013

Photo by Jack Alterman

Enjoy these two recent articles about Drayton Hall, its staff, and the work we’re doing to preserve this architectural masterpiece.
Online: January 2016 – Charleston Mercury – “Drayton Hall’s ‘Bad Boy’” by Robert Salvo or download the pdf version: ChasMerc DraytonHall’s bad boy fullarticle
Online: January 17, 2016 – Post & Courier – “At Drayton Hall, a New Solution to an Old Problem” by Robert Behre or download the pdf version: P&C Drayton Hall’s Portico full article

 

 

 

 

Mark your Calendars: the 2016 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series

Website HeaderThe Friends of Drayton Hall are pleased to present the third season of the Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series. Beginning with the opening event of the 2016 season, you’ll experience a range of thought-provoking presentations related to America’s history and culture by some of today’s most respected historians, archaeologists, and curators. Speakers will also highlight the connections of Charleston and Drayton Hall to their research interests, and answer questions from the audience. For additional information on this year’s speakers, please visit the Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series website.

The 2016 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series is sponsored by The Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, SCFMlogo

SPRING 2016 SERIES

Thursday, February 18, 2016
Patricia Lowe Smith, Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, Drayton Hall Preservation Trust
The Best Portico: Rehabilitating an Architectural Icon

Thursday, March 24, 2016
Dean Jonathan Holloway, Dean of Yale College and Edmund S. Morgan Professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies
Curating the Black Atlantic: Race, Memory, and Museum Making

Thursday, April 21, 2016
Henry Noltie, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
John Hope: Botanist of the Scottish Enlightenment

FALL 2016 SERIES

Thursday, September 15, 2016
Sarah Stroud Clarke, Archaeologist & Curator of Collections, Drayton Hall Preservation Trust
What Lies Beneath: The Archaeology of the pre-Drayton Era

Thursday, October 20, 2016
Dr. William M. Kelso, Director of Research & Interpretation, Historic Jamestowne
Jamestown, The Buried Truth

Thursday, November 17, 2016 – SPONSORED BY CHIPSTONE 
Dr. David S. Shields, Carolina Distinguished Professor and the McClintock Professor of Southern Letters, University of South Carolina
Creating the World Orchard                              

 LOCATION

South Carolina Society Hall
72 Meeting Street, Charleston SC 29401

Ample on-street parking and public lot parking
is available within a block of the South Carolina Society Hall

Doors open at 5:30 pm with a Wine and Cheese Reception.
Presentations start promptly at 6:30 pm.
No advance reservations; please arrive early as seating is limited.

For more information, please contact: Tara White Odom, Development Events Coordinator, 843-769-2627 or by e-mail

Unexpected Discoveries at Drayton Hall

Nov 20 - Interior Face of Brick Core

Interior face of brick core taken from south side of basement wall showing decorative grapevine joint. Photo credit: Drayton Hall Preservation Trust

Enjoy this fascinating piece by Trish Smith on the National Trust’s Preservation Leadership Forum Blog. Posted on November 20, 2015, news of the discoveries related to the rehabilitation of Drayton Hall’s iconic double portico has already lit up social media with many thousands of posts, shares, and tweets.  

“The nature of the space below the portico stairs has always been a mystery. It was thought that the space may contain rubble fill as is the case below the stairs on the opposite side of the house, but no one knew for sure. When the core drill punched through the brick wall into open space, everyone’s curiosity was piqued. What was on the other side of that wall? If we could find a way to get a camera in there, what might we see?”  – Trish Smith

For more background on the project, read Part One.
You can also follow our weekly portico updates on Facebook.

 

Drayton Hall, a National Historic Landmark and property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Charleston, South Carolina.

Drayton Hall, Charleston, South Carolina.

The Significance of Drayton Hall’s Iconic Double Portico  –  Drayton Hall’s iconic portico is the only one of its kind in the world as it both projects from, and recedes into, the front of the house. While most early American houses of the period were built with centered gables to simulate a pedimented portico, Drayton Hall’s portico was fully executed in the Palladian fashion, representing a sophisticated understanding of classical architecture. As such, visitors to the site expect to hear that Drayton Hall’s main house was designed by a famous architect; instead, they’re surprised to learn that Drayton Hall was likely designed by John Drayton (d. 1779) himself, who founded and built Drayton Hall.  Please visit our website for more information.

Patricia "Trish" Smith

Patricia “Trish” Smith is curator of historic architectural resources and the project manager for the Portico Rehabilitation Project. She holds a master of science in historic preservation from the Clemson University & College of Charleston joint Graduate Program in Historic Preservation.

 

 

 

 

 

Job Announcement: Wexler-Funded Curatorial Fellow

Colonoware-photo-courtesy-CWF-1020x799

Circa 1740 Colonoware cooking pot created by enslaved people and used at Drayton Hall. Photo credit: Colonial Williamsburg

Under the supervision of the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust Archaeologist + Curator of Collections, the Wexler-Funded Curatorial Fellow (WFCF) is responsible for generating high-quality digital data on archaeological artifacts, excavation contexts, and site plans, with the use of detailed classification, measurement, digitizing, and coding protocols developed by the Monticello Archaeology Lab and the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS). The WFCF is responsible for cataloging the legacy archaeological collection at Drayton Hall in order to contribute to a greater understanding of the material culture of the past inhabitants of the Drayton Hall property. The fellowship is a funded position with funding expected to last for approximately 24 months.

Duties

  • Mastery of DAACS protocols and data structures for artifacts and context data and their instantiation in the DAACS database.
  • Expertise in the material culture of the early-modern Atlantic world, especially ceramics and a basic understanding of stratigraphy, soils, sediments, archaeological survey and excavation techniques.
  • Knowledge of current scholary literature in historical archaeology.
  • Ability to communicate effectively through writing, informal tours, and professional presentations. Fellow is expected to work with supervisor to present results at professional conferences and to communicate with Deborah and Peter Wexler on the status and progress of the fellowship.
  • Excellent organizational skills with extreme attention to detail and diligent and patient work practices.
  • Be a team player and be able to lead, follow, and/or support colleagues in a tactful, positive way.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree in anthropology or related discipline, preferably with a concentration in archaeology.
  • Graduate degree in anthropology.
  • Previous DAACS training by the Monticello/DAACS staff a plus.
  • A minimum of two years’ experience in archaeological research.
  • Must have strong oral and written communication skills.

Position Details

  • Department: Preservation
  • Reports To: Archaeologist + Curator of Collections
  • FLSA Status: Non-Exempt
  • Employment Status: Full Time

Please send a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references who can support the applicant’s ability to perform the duties described above, to:
Drayton Hall Preservation Trust
Attn: Sarah Stroud Clarke, Archaeologist + Curator of Collections
3380 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414
Or you may email your application materials to sstroudclarke@draytonhall.org
No phone calls, please.
The Drayton Hall Preservation Trust is an equal opportunity employer.

Preserving the Past, Preparing the Future: Celebrating Ten Years of Wood Family Fellows

 The Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series – Thursday, September 17, 2015

Stephen Wood photo black and white

Stephen Wood at Drayton Hall, 1980

Presented by Carter C. Hudgins, Ph.D., Acting President and Executive Director, Drayton Hall Preservation Trust

One of the most significant contributions to the initiatives of Drayton Hall has been the establishment of the Wood Family Fellowship, which was created by Anthony C. “Tony” Wood in 2005 in honor of his parents Leonard and Tanya Wood, and in memory of his brother Stephen Wood.

In August 1980, Stephen was a young preservationist who was repairing Drayton Hall’s main house as part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Restoration Workshop when the scaffolding that he was on gave way. He fell to the ground below and later that day succumbed to his injuries. Some 24 years later, misfortune revisited the family as the lives of Tony’s parents Leonard and Tanya, who reared their children on the lessons of history and the value of preservation, were claimed by a car accident while traveling east of their home in Charleston, Illinois.

To further the legacy of his brother and parents in a manner that would build on the Wood family’s values and dedication to education and historic preservation, Tony and his husband, Anthony Badalamenti, established the Wood Family Fellowship at Drayton Hall in 2005. By design, the Fellowship is intended to foster the care and research of Drayton Hall while providing guidance and inspiration to rising scholars in the fields of history, historic preservation, anthropology, decorative arts, and architectural history.

L-R: Sarah Stroud Clarke, Carter C. Hudgins, Trish Smith

L-R: Sarah Stroud Clarke, Carter C. Hudgins, Trish Smith

Such an experience continues to lend to the advancement of Drayton Hall as past Fellows Carter C. Hudgins, Sarah Stroud Clarke, and Trish Smith presently serve as the site’s Acting President & Executive Director, Archaeologist & Curator of Collections, and Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, respectively. These three former Fellows will join Drayton Hall Preservation Trust Board Member Anthony C. Wood to celebrate ten years of success with an eye towards the future of the program.

This event is sponsored by Richard and Jill Almeida.

Members in the Friends of Drayton Hall will find more about the history and impact of the Wood Family Fellowship in the Spring/Summer 2015 (Vol 34, No 1) edition of their members newsletter, Interiors.

 

Drayton Hall’s Fall 2015 Distinguished Speakers Series Starts September 17

Website Header

The Friends of Drayton Hall are pleased to present the 2015 fall season of the Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series. Beginning with the opening event on September 17, you can expect thought-provoking presentations related to American history and culture by some of today’s most respected historians and curators. Speakers will also highlight the connections of Charleston and Drayton Hall to their research interests and answer questions from the audience. All programs will be held at South Carolina Society Hall.

For more about the fall series, visit the Distinguished Speakers’ website.

Carter Hudgins headshot 2013 - bwSeptember 17th – Dr. Carter C. Hudgins, Drayton Hall, will celebrate Ten Years of the Wood Family Fellowship — one of the most significant contributions to the stewardship and advancement of Drayton Hall. Past Fellows include Hudgins, Sarah Stroud Clarke, and Trish Smith who presently serve as the site’s Acting President & Executive Director, Archaeologist and Curator of Collections, and Curator of Historic Architectural Resources, respectively. Sponsored by Richard and Jill Almeida.

Portrait of Suzanne Hood; August 13th, 2014.

October 15th – Suzanne F. Hood, Colonial Williamsburg, will present China of the Most Fashionable Sort: Chinese Export Porcelain in Colonial America, including ceramics owned and used in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century America with a particular emphasis on archaeological ceramics, Chinese export porcelain, salt-glazed stoneware, and British pottery.

Inaugural Chipstone Lecture:

Milestone Portraits; Cary Carson; 30 Years;

November 19th, Cary Carson, Ph.D., Colonial Williamsburg, retired, to present All Dressed Up, But No Place To Go, which examines the extraordinary archaeological discovery of three of Colonial Virginia’s most lavish structures: over-the-top, eye-popping plantation houses, similar to the colonial stature of Drayton Hall — except that their owners never resided in their grandiose mansions. Why? Dr. Carson will unravel the mystery. Sponsored by the Chipstone Foundation.

 

All programs will be held at South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street 

Doors open at 5:30pm with a Wine and Cheese Reception.
Presentations start promptly at 6:30pm.
No advance reservations; please arrive early as seating is limited.
The 2015 Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series
is sponsored by The Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, SC.

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