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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Preparing for Hurricane Season

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Preservation Coordinator Cameron Moon removing one of the 74 louvered shutters from the main house.

 

Hurricane season is officially upon us. Are you ready?

Staff members across all departments have been planning, preparing, and taking necessary steps now in the event a storm should be headed our way. Case in point: the preservation department’s removal of louvered shutters in the main house.

Trish Lowe Smith, curator of historic architectural resources, and Cameron Moon, preservation coordinator, with the assistance of volunteer Stan Younce (not pictured), have been getting their exercise as they removed the 74 louvered shutters from the windows in the house.

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Curator of Historic Architectural Resources Trish Smith after removing one of the louvered shutters from the main house. Volunteer Stan Younce assisted.

“These Victorian-era shutters are not as useful as they once were now that protective UV film* cuts down on damaging light and heat in the house,” explains Patricia “Trish” Lowe Smith. “More importantly, our custom window covers that protect the house during a hurricane cannot be installed with the louvered shutters in place. So, to save precious time if we find ourselves in the path of a hurricane, we’ve taken them down and stored them in a protected space–they can be reinstalled, but at this time we have no plans to do so.”

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Shutters will be stored in a protected area; they can always be reinstalled, but with the many practical advantages of the custom window covers, there are currently no plans to do so.

 

Below is Trish’s diagram explaining how the plywood/Tyvek custom window covers work. The window glass is sacrificial in this system. If it breaks, rainwater will sheet down the Tyvek and back out instead of blowing into the house.

Windows Diagram

*In response to questions about what kind of protective UV film we use: it’s Solar Gard SS50. We chose it because it’s removable, doesn’t drastically change the look of the glass, and cuts down a significant amount of UV light and heat. After four years, we’re very happy with it.

About Drayton Hall  Founded in 1738, Drayton Hall is an icon of colonial America and the nation’s earliest example of fully executed Palladian architecture. 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.

Lowcountry Giving Day – May 3rd

Lowcountry Giving Day is coming soon! When you select Drayton Hall as the recipient of your donation, you will help support critical preservation projects and educational programming.  Please help us preserve Drayton Hall for the future and schedule your donation today: http://bit.ly/24hO2lp

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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

Building Bridges Symposium Highlights Latest Research and Discoveries from Drayton Hall

header1Join us on January 29 and 30 for Breaking Ground and Building Bridges, a symposium that brings together leading scholars from Charleston’s preservation and history organizations to present new research on the material culture of the Carolina Lowcountry. Over the course of two days, speakers will discuss exciting initiatives and cutting–edge research projects related to archaeology, the decorative arts, social history, and post-Reconstruction Charleston. Critically-acclaimed artist Jonathan Green will give the Keynote Address at the Building Bridges Symposium.

This year, Drayton Hall will be represented in the program by Cameron Moon, Preservation Coordinator, who will present “The Caretaker’s House: Vernacular Architecture and the Postbellum African American Community at Drayton Hall” on Friday at 2:15 pm. Ms. Moon will speak about how her research of the caretaker’s house has led to a better understanding of the African American community living at Drayton Hall from the late 19th to mid-20th century and has helped to develop a more accurate portrayal of the tenant houses and landscape during phosphate mining.

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c. 1915, one of the earlier photographs of the caretaker’s house shows it in its original location next to the main house. This is a rare view, as it is of the back of the house and shows its original footprint before an addition on the back was built in 1923.

The Symposium is a collaboration between Historic Charleston Foundation, Drayton Hall Preservation Trust, The Charleston Museum and Preservation Society of Charleston to facilitate dialogue among many of the Lowcountry Institutions. All proceeds will benefit the sponsoring institutions. Symposium tickets are $125/person for the general public and free for students.

See full schedule and purchase tickets

 

Camerodrayton_hs_06n Moon is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a degree in Historic Preservation and Community Planning and a minor in Anthropology. Her honors thesis chronicled the adaptive reuse of the Cigar Factory on East Bay Street and its relationship with the surrounding neighborhood. Before joining the DHPT staff in September 2014, she worked for Edgewood Builders, where she learned construction, preservation, and restoration techniques at Medway Plantation and houses in the historic district. Cameron is currently working on ongoing Drayton Hall conservation projects as well as converting the museum shop, housed in the former caretaker’s house, into an interpretive museum space.

“All Dressed Up, But No Place To Go” – November 19th Distinguished Speaker Series

Cary Carson, Ph.D., Colonial Williamsburg, retired. Credit: Milestone Portraits

Credit: Milestone Portraits

Cary Carson, Ph.D., Colonial Williamsburg, retired

Inaugural Chipstone Lecture

November 19, 2015, Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series –  South Carolina Society Hall, 72 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC

Cary Carson served as the Vice President for Research at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation until his retirement in 2006. He received his professional training in early modern British and colonial American history from Harvard University and in American decorative arts, architecture, and material culture from the Winterthur Museum Program at the University of Delaware.

As Colonial Williamsburg’s chief historian from 1976 to 2006, he was the principal author of three interpretive master plans and was deeply involved in the Foundation’s many restorations, reconstructions, exhibitions, and publications. Among the latter, Mr. Carson contributed to and co-edited The Chesapeake House: Architectural Investigation by Colonial Williamsburg.

His written work focuses on the social history of colonial America and early modern Britain, Americans’ addiction to consumer goods, and the role that history museums play—or should play—in public education. He has served for many years on the National Historic Landmarks advisory board. Currently Mr. Carson divides his life between Williamsburg, Virginia, and The Hague, Netherlands.

Dr. Carson’s presentation will examine the extraordinary archaeological discovery of three of Colonial Virginia’s most lavish structures: Green Spring (ca. 1660), Fairfield (1694), and Corotoman (1726). Respectively built by a trio of the colony’s highest grandees, Sir William Berkeley, Lewis Burwell II, and Robert “King” Carter, scholars concluded that these buildings were over-the-top, eye-popping, plantation houses, similar to the colonial stature of Drayton Hall (ca. 1738). However, none of these Virginian elites resided in their grandiose mansions, choosing rather to live in the smaller houses they had been occupying for decades. This fact then begs the question: was there a different purpose for these extravagant, brand-new structures?

Dr. Carson answers the mystery through the introduction of the FFV’s amazing FPPs, the First Families of Virginia’s newly re-discovered, heretofore unsuspected, but indisputably Fabulous Pleasure Palaces.

ABOUT THE CHIPSTONE FOUNDATION

The mission of The Chipstone Foundation is to promote and enhance appreciation and knowledge of American material culture (emphasizing the decorative arts) by scholars, students and the general public. For more information, visit www.chipstone.org.

 

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

Sponsored by The Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, SC.

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Carter C. Hudgins Appointed President and CEO of Drayton Hall

Carter C. Hudgins, newly appointed President & CEO of the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust

We are beyond thrilled and proud that one of our own was the unanimous choice of the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust’s Board of Trustees after a national search.Read all about it in today’s Post and Courier and on our website.

Congratulations, Carter! Well done and well deserved!

Job Announcement: Landscape Technician

view-from-portico-dh-landscape-1020x377Reporting to the Manager of Landscapes, Horticulture and Facilities. the Landscape Technician (LT) will assist in the maintenance and preservation of Drayton Hall’s historic landscape. The LT will work with other Preservation staff contributing to the achievement, support and compliance of the established and future landscape objectives as outlined in Drayton Hall’s Landscape Master Plan or as new projects and plans are initiated.

Duties

  • Contribute to the overall success of Drayton Hall in achieving its mission.
  • Maintain and present the landscape according to the highest professional horticultural standards. Primary responsibilities include turf maintenance including: trimming, mowing, pest control, fertilizing; garden duties including proper planting techniques, watering, fertilizing and mulching; removal of invasive plant material and dead plant material; general knowledge of aquatics.
  • Operation, inventory and maintenance of assigned landscape tools, equipment and machinery.
  • Perform duties to the highest standards of landscape maintenance for maximum presentation of historic gardens, trees, parking lots, woodland walks and the cemetery.
  • Work with and monitor volunteers in assigned duties within selected landscape and garden areas.
  • Ensure that all property signs and garden interpretation are well maintained and unobstructed.
  • Assist in emergency storm preparations and recovery, as required.
  • Develop knowledge of the site and its history by attending enhancement programs and reviewing the site landscape plans and horticulture documents.
  • Attend all meetings as required and help ensure effective communications.
  • Become knowledgeable in site security procedures.
  • Assist with special events and programming as needed, including arriving early and staying late to open/close the site, some evenings, weekends or holidays might be required.
  • Work as a cooperative member of a team, and be willing to lead, follow, and support colleagues in a tactful, positive way.
  • May perform other duties as assigned.

Physical Demands and Work Environment

  • The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the functions.
  • While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to talk and hear. The employee frequently is required to use hands or fingers, handle, or feel objects, tools or controls. The employee is required to stand, walk, sit, reach with hands and arms; climb or balance; and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl. The employee may have exposure to moderate noise, crowds at functions or events, and at times variances in weather.
  • The employee must be able to lift items over 80 pounds and perform manual labor as required. The employee must be able to work outdoors. Specific vision abilities required by this position include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, and the ability to adjust focus.

Qualifications:

  • Technical Certification or Associates Degree or higher in horticulture/landscape maintenance or in a closely related field,  with 1 year applied work experience; or High School Diploma plus 5 years work experience in landscape/horticulture maintenance.
  • Demonstrated ability to operate and maintain landscape equipment including tractors, commercial mowers, and other power equipment.
  • Safe and current driving record.
  • Ensure all work is performed in a safe manner; also demonstrate an understanding of instructions and deadlines, yet take initiative and work independently.

Position Details

  • Department: Preservation
  • Reports To: Manager of Landscapes, Horticulture and Facilities
  • FLSA Status: Non-Exempt
  • Employment Status: Full-Time

Please send a resume and cover letter to:

Drayton Hall Preservation Trust
ATTN: Eric Becker
3380 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29414
Or electronically to ebecker@draytonhall.org.

The Drayton Hall Preservation Trust is an equal opportunity employer.

Image courtesy of Drayton Hall

McDaniel leaves admirable legacy at Drayton Hall

by Steve Gates, chair of the Board of Trustees for Drayton Hall Preservation Trust

First published on the op-ed page of the Post & Courier on July 9, 2015

At Drayton Hall, the sweep of history is measured in generations. We work every day to preserve an important historic house, the focal point of the property, built more than 250 years ago.

Dr. George W. McDaniel

Dr. George W. McDaniel

Drayton Hall has experienced prosperous times and lean times, but few people have had a greater impact than George W. McDaniel, Ph.D., executive director for the last 26 years.

George retired from his post on June 30, leaving a legacy of visionary preservation, education and community building.

We thank George for his distinguished service. Because of his leadership, the future of this irreplaceable historic site has never been brighter.

Incredibly, George’s first day as executive director was the Monday after Hurricane Hugo. Driving in from Summerville along Ashley River Road, George passed downed trees and devastated houses, unsure if Drayton Hall still existed as a physical structure.

The house was intact, but the grounds were severely damaged — the first of myriad challenges that George faced and overcame. Over the course of the next quarter century, George would become the driving force behind one of the most remarkable historic sites in America.

George’s outreach to both Drayton and African American family descendants and his conservation efforts in the Ashley River region now serve as models for other historic sites across the nation

He enhanced Drayton Hall’s financial sustainability and stewardship of the archival, archaeological and museum collections. Since its acquisition from the Drayton family in 1974, Drayton Hall had been owned and operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of its stewardship sites.

George, working with board members, was instrumental in engineering a co-stewardship model of governance and administration that created the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust, a new 501(c)(3) organization, that is now responsible for the operation, preservation, interpretation and enhancement of Drayton Hall.

Most importantly, George has been a tireless advocate of whole place preservation as he believes the preservation of both natural and cultural resources is essential to maintaining the character of places.

He strengthened Drayton Hall’s connections to the community, created a transformative experience for visitors and led the exemplary preservation of the site and the surrounding landscape of the Ashley River corridor.

In July, George is transitioning to president emeritus, a consultative position to our Board of Trustees. He will take a well-deserved (and long deferred) sabbatical through the rest of this summer.

Vice President and Deputy Director Carter C. Hudgins, Ph.D., will serve as interim executive director until the Board of Trustees makes a permanent appointment.

The Drayton Hall of today is very different from the storm-scarred property George inherited more than 25 years ago.

Thanks to his efforts, Drayton Hall’s place in the story of American history has been magnified and enriched.

So, too, has its responsibility in conveying its history — the history of all of its residents — to visitors from around the world. With that in mind, the Board of Trustees is dedicated to taking Drayton Hall into a new era of thoughtful preservation and interpretation, and planning has begun.

We encourage the Charleston community, friends of historic preservation and students of American history everywhere to join us in thanking George McDaniel for his tireless efforts.

We also ask for your support as we move forward into a new era, ever mindful of our storied and celebrated past.

Click here to read on the Post & Courier’s website.