- Beaufort, South Carolina
official_name = Beaufort, South Carolina
mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location of Beaufort, South Carolina
unit_pref = Imperial
area_total_km2 = 60.7
area_land_km2 = 48.2
area_water_km2 = 12.5
area_total_sq_mi = 23.4
area_land_sq_mi = 18.6
area_water_sq_mi = 4.8
population_as_of = 2000
population_total = 12950
population_urban = 46227
population_metro = 66308
population_density_km2 = 268.6
population_density_sq_mi = 695.7
timezone = Eastern (EST)
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
elevation_m = 3
elevation_ft = 10
latd = 32 |latm = 25 |lats = 55 |latNS = N
longd = 80 |longm = 41 |longs = 22 |longEW = W
Beaufort is a city in Beaufort County,
South Carolina, United States, situated on the Beaufort River. Chartered in 1711, it is the second-oldest city in South Carolina, behind Charleston. The city's population was 12,950 in the 2000 census (46,227 total pop. of Beaufort Urban Cluster). It is the county seatof Beaufort CountyGR|6 and part of the Hilton Head Island–Beaufort Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Beaufort (pronEng|ˈbjuːfɚt "byew-furt", unlike its counterpart in
North Carolina) is located on Port Royal Island, in the heart of the Sea Islandsand Lowcountry. The city is renowned for its impressive harbor along the Port Royal Sound, and for maintaining a historic character through its impressive antebellum architecture and streetscapes, which have helped it attract tourists and new residents alike.
Beaufort has one of the richest and deepest histories of any community in the United States, with historical accounts spanning over four centuries in length. The city's history has had a significant impact not just on the community itself, but also the Lowcountry, the state of South Carolina, and the United States as a whole.
Exploration and early colonization
Before the arrival of
European explorers, the Lowcountryregion was inhabited by small Native American tribes that have since yielded their names to geography, including the Yemasee, the Coosawhatchie, the Coosaw, the Datha (Dataw), the Edisto, the Ashepoo, the Kiowa (Kiawah), and Combahee. Several of these tribes were rivals and intertribal alliances and attacks occurred frequently before and during European colonization.
The Spanish were the first Europeans to explore the Port Royal Sound and were the first to attempt to establish a colony. Landing on [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_18#Holidays_and_observances|St. Helena's day] (Santa Elena), the colony of the same name did not survive long, as disease, starvation, weather, and attacks from tribes dissuaded the settlers and their efforts. Upon the explorations of
Giovanni di Verrazano, France became the next European power to establish a presence. Nearby Parris Islandwas the location of Charlesfort, France's first colony in the New World, founded by Jean Ribaultin 1562. Alarmed by its rivals intentions, the Spanish established St. Augustine in modern-day Florida in 1565 as a counter to French aspirations. As with Santa Elena, the French colony disappeared quickly due to similar circumstances.
The Carolana (Carolina) colony was chartered by King Charles II in 1670 to the eight
Lord Proprietors, who began the first major attempt to settle modern day South Carolina. Observations of the Port Royal Sound and immediate area had many on the initial expedition call for the first English settlement and capital of the colony to be located in Beaufort. However, tribes in the area suggested an area further up the coast, and the settlers later chose the area what became Charleston to become their capital and principal city.
The Port Royal Sound however was too enticing not to be settled however, and continuous efforts were made. Upon the demise of the French efforts, the first Scottish settlement in what is now the United States, known as Stuart Town, was founded at modern-day Spanish Point in 1682, only to be destroyed by Spanish forces from St. Augustine in 1684. Continuous concerns about Spanish incursions into the new colony led to calls to create a town and port that would serve as a buffer against Spain and provide a closer harbor to area planters, who were becoming successful in their efforts to produce cash crops, especially rice.
Early settlement and the American Revolution
Beaufort was chartered in 1711 as the second major settlement in South Carolina and named after
Henry Somerset, 2nd Duke of Beaufort. The settlement grew very slowly, due to a major attack by the Yemassee in 1717 and the threat of Spanish invasion. It was not until 1733 and the founding of Georgia as a buffer colony did Beaufort truly grow in population and prestige. Though most administrative powers during the early Carolina colony was focused in Charleston, the city gained a reputation for its excellent harbor and the establishment of several church congregations, most notable being St. Helena's Episcopal. By 1776, the city became well known for its shipbuildingenterprises, its rice and indigotrade, and was home to a new circuit courtfor the colony.
American Revolutionsplit loyalties in the community, with several families supporting the Torieswhile others favored independence. Many men fought in battles elsewhere in the state, though little warfare was conducted in and around Beaufort. The young republic was unable to provide adequate naval defense of the City and fell under British occupation in 1780 without much resistance or damage. It was not until hostilities flared in Virginia did British occupation end in 1782, a year before the Treaty of Pariswas signed. The Treaty of Beaufortfixing the boundary between South Carolina and Georgia was signed in the city in 1787.
antebellumperiod, the rise of Sea Island Cottonbrought enormous wealth to Beaufort and the surrounding plantations. By some historians' accounts, Beaufort was arguably the wealthiest city in the United States prior to the Civil War and was often considered to be the "Newport" of the South. Although Charleston and Columbia were the leading cities in the state, much economic and political influence was reared by Beaufort. Lowcountry planters in the city and the surrounding islands were among the most ardent supporters of state secession, first during the Nullification Crisisin the 1830s and then in the 1850s. At the eve of secession, Beaufort was arguably at its cultural, economic, and political zenith, with a population of about 4,000, excluding slaves. Like modern-day Beaufort, the city attracted many residents from beyond the state, with many Northerners and Europeans residing in town and operating successful businesses.
Civil War and Reconstruction
American Civil Warhad a dramatic effect on Beaufort, as an amphibious attack and subsequent occupation of the city made it one of the first communities in the Deep South to be held in Union hands, as early as November 1861. Though much of the town was spared from physical destruction, there were many incidents or arson and looting as a result of Union occupation and the early liberation of the substantial slave population. In a historic effort that pre-dawned American Reconstruction, the Port Royal Experiment provided a test case for the education of freedmen. In addition to educational advancements, the city made some political ones as well. Robert Smalls, a native son and leading figure in post-war Beaufort would later become one of South Carolina's first elected African-Americansto the United States Congressand remained a prominent civic leader in the state and in Beaufort until his death in 1915. Due in part to the large African-American population and also Small's leading role, Beaufort remained one of the last outposts of Republican Party power in the Solid South.
Several of Beaufort's most prominent families returned to the area but never regained the enormous wealth that slave-based agriculture provided. As the influence of cotton declined, the lure of aqua
phosphatemining increased. By 1890, Beaufort had regained some of its wealth and prosperity from phosphate. It had also retained its position as county seat during that time. However, a series of events would bring Beaufort into a steady economic decline for over half-century.
On August 27, 1893, a Category 3 hurricane slammed into the Lowcountry, killing over 2,000 area residents and causing immeasurable damage. Although only four individuals died in the city itself, Beaufort was heavily damaged and its phosphate industry was ruined. A fire that damaged much of the downtown area in 1907 continued to inflict economic and psychological harm to the city. A final blow to the area was gradual; the
boll weevildecimated most of the cotton crop, which had for over a century been the major commodity of the community. By 1910, Beaufort had lost almost 40% of its population from ten years earlier. Though the city retained its political status as county seat, Beaufort became one of the poorest communities in the state through the 1940s. The growth of lettuceand tomatoin addition to shrimpingbecame the major facets of the economy during this time.
Beaufort's economic recovery in the latter half of the 20th century can be contributed to three major influences: military investment, resort development, and downtown reinvestment. Although Parris Island was continuously occupied after the Civil War, it retained a limited role in military affairs until 1917, when it was selected as a permanent home for the
U.S. Marine Corpsrecruiting station. The onslaught of World War I, World War IIand especially the Cold Warbrought new people and income to the area. A naval air station was established during World War II and transferred to the Marine Corps in the 1950s, thus cementing a major military legacy for the region. A U.S. Naval Hospital located in neighboring Port Royal was also constructed during the war.
New investment in the form of resort and lifestyle development on nearby
Hilton Head Islandand Fripp Islandalso had a some economic contribution to Beaufort and the Lowcountry starting in the 1960s. However, significant economic improvement came upon the completion of a downtown waterfront park in place of abandoned docks, championed by then-mayor Henry Chambers. The park (now named after Chambers) spurred the redevelopment and reinvestment of adjacent Bay Street and downtown Beaufort, propelling land values and garnishing the attention of real estate investors, national media, and Hollywood, through the form of successful and well-known films. In recent years, renovations to the park, countless renovations to private homes and businesses, and several streetscape projects have continued to improve the overall quality of life in Beaufort.
Unlike most communities of its size in the south, Beaufort escaped much of the turbulence of the
Civil Rights era. Jim Crowlaws were gradually eased during the 1960s. Schools began the process of desegregationin 1964 and became fully integrated by 1970. Beaufort also elected its first African-American to city council (since 1910) in 1967. The city has experienced other demographic shifts, thanks in part to the city's military presence, its status as a retirement destination for residents from the northern United States and Canada, and a demand for migrant workers, primarily from Latin Americannations and mostly for seasonal agriculture.
Beaufort is located at coor dms|32|25|55|N|80|41|22|W|city (32.431853, -80.689515)GR|1.
According to the
United States Census Bureau, the city is amid a marshy estuary, and has a total area of 23.4 square miles (60.7 km²), of which, 18.6 square miles (48.2 km²) of it is land and 4.8 square miles (12.5 km²) of it (20.57%) is water.
Downtown ad historic district
The original settlement of Beaufort can be found in the downtown or historic district area. convert|304|acre|km2 of the town have been designated a National Historic Landmark. With approximate dimensions, downtown is defined as anything upon the peninsula jutting into the Beaufort River that is located east of Ribaut Road (US 21). Further defined, downtown is broken into several distinct neighborhoods:
* The Point, also known as the Old Point is home to some of Beaufort's largest, oldest, and most expensive homes. Defined as the land between Carteret Street and the Beaufort River, this portion of downtown does not follow the major street grid.
* Bay Street & Waterfront Park is centered along Bay Street, Beaufort's main downtown commercial street. Located between the Beaufort River and Bay Street is the newly renovated Henry Chambers Waterfront Park, which overlooks the Beaufort River and is home to many of Beaufort's festivals. An eclectic mix of restaurants, art galleries, and other tourist-oriented shops can be found along Bay Street, Port Republic Street, Scott Street, West Street, and Charles Street, which had originally served as Beaufort's original commercial center. Many non-tourist commercial services have since relocated to areas along Boundary Street.
* The Old Commons neighborhood is located in the northeastern portion of Beaufort's original street grid, defined as the area between Carteret Street on the east, North Street on the south, Charles Street on the west, and Boundary Street to the north. Originally home to a hodgepodge of medium-sized homes, graveyards, and chapels, this section of downtown is undergoing reinvestment and redevelopment, yet retains a southern style of architecture.
* The Northwest Quadrant is located in the northwestern portion of Beaufort's original street grid, loosely defined as the area between Charles Street on the east, Prince Street to the south, Ribaut Road on the west, and Boundary Street to the north. This area has for generations been the center of Beaufort's African-American community and is composed of turn-of-the-century homes, many in a shotgun architectural style. Bladen Street serves as the principal street through the community and is currently undergoing a streetscape renovation to improve utilities, sidewalk access, landscaping, and lighting.
* The Pigeon Point community is located immediately north of Downtown Beaufort. It is centered around two major city parks: Pigeon Point Community Park and the Basil Green Recreation Complex. An area with smaller homes and mostly one-story early twentieth-century structures, Pigeon Point has experienced a renewal of development interest, with many homes being "flipped" or renovated to create an attractive neighborhood.
* The Depot community is located west of Ribaut Road, south of Boundary Street and north of the Technical College of the Lowcountry campus. It has been the focus of recent redevelopment efforts with regards to home improvements. Formerly concentrated around the Beaufort rail station (the depot), the neighborhood has similar characteristics to the Pigeon Point community and has many military families living in it, due in part to the proximity of Beaufort's military institutions.
Once the outer edge of town, the corridors along Boundary Street (
US Highway 21), Robert Smalls Parkway ( SC Highway 170), and Ribaut Road on the east now serves as Beaufort's principle commercial gateway. Several major shopping centers in addition to numerous dining establishments and lodging facilities are the standard business types in this area.
* The City has annexed a sizeable portion of Lady's Island, though does not have complete jurisdiction of the entire area. Most of the City's holdings are upscale residential areas and the Beaufort County Airport.
* Spanish Point is a residential area near the TCL campus which has medical-oriented commercial establishments (due to the proximity of the Beaufort Medical Center) and several upscale residential neighborhoods.
* The Mossy Oaks community is at the southern edge of the city limits (along the border of Port Royal). There are some commercial establishments in the area in addition to residential neighborhoods ranging from apartments to smaller single-family homes and duplexes.
Beaufort's major daily newspapers are the "Beaufort Gazette", "Beaufort Today" & "The Island Packet". Lady's Island also has a weekly newspaper known as "Lady's Island News".
Several radio stations have transmission feeds originating or duplicating in Beaufort.
Beaufort has one local television station,
WJWJ-TV( PBS). Beaufort is part of the Savannah, Georgia Designated Market Area, and additionally receives Charleston television stations.
Books and film
Beaufort has been the setting for several novels by native son
Pat Conroy, and a popular [http://www.imdb.com/List?locations=Beaufort,+South+Carolina,+USA&&tv=on filming location] for major motion pictures, including "The Big Chill", " The Prince of Tides", " The Great Santini", "Forrest Gump", "Something To Talk About" and " GI Jane". Lady's Island and the slave trade is the subject of an award winning novel, "Someone Knows My Name"(aka The Book of Negroes) written by Lawrence Hill.
Tourism and events
Beaufort is a romantic and popular tourist destination. Major festivals and arts events include the Water Festival which is a well-known, two week extravaganza in the middle of July. The Shrimp Festival, celebrating the local and traditional industry, is in the second weekend in October. Kaleidoscope: Film, Food, and Fine Arts in late February screens independent films, such as Brats. A Taste of Beaufort, presented by Main Street Beaufort, is held on the first Saturday in May and features 20 local restaurants, fine wines and live music. Chalk on the Walk at Beaufort Town Center is an interactive festival focusing on bringing street art to and by the people, and is produced the Arts Council of Beaufort County.
Beaufort has been named by some sources as one of "America's Best Art Towns". Close to 20 galleries operate within the City with hundreds of local residents contibuting to the arts scene.
The University of South Carolina-Beaufort has a performing arts center which attracts regional and national acts to the community.
The Arts Council of Beaufort County [http://www.beaufortcountyarts.com] , located on Boundary Street in uptown Beaufort, nurtures the arts by offering resources to artists and audiences: free roundtable discussions (for example, Artist-Gallery relationships); Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers; public art projects such as the Big Swim: 31 Mermaids; Quarterly Community Arts Grants, and the Ever Expanding Arts Calendar, which brings artists and audiences together; emerging artists initiatives, and more.
ports and recreation
Through the city's recreation department, junior and intramural athletics are sponsored year-round. Activities include football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, and cheerleading.
The city is home to many Christian denominations, with several churches located in the downtown area. A Jewish house of worship, Beth Israel Synagogue, is also in the downtown area, adjacent to the Beaufort Arsenal and Museum. Other religious faiths have houses of worship in surrounding communities, especially in Charleston, Hilton Head, and Savannah.
The location of the City to other fast growing areas including
Hilton Head Island, and Bluffton as well as good access to Savannah, Georgia, the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, and a future container portto be built on the Savannah Rivermake the city a desirable choice for residential and business development opportunity.
As of the
censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 12,950 people, 4,598 households, and 3,034 families residing in the city. The population densitywas 695.7 people per square mile (268.7/km²). There were 5,080 housing units at an average density of 272.9/sq mi (105.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 69.41% White, 25.14% African American, 0.32% Native American, 1.07% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 1.98% from other races, and 1.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.39% of the population.
There were 4,598 households out of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.6% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.0% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.6% under the age of 18, 19.5% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 114.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 117.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $36,532, and the median income for a family was $42,894. Males had a median income of $22,465 versus $23,474 for females. The
per capita incomefor the city was $20,501. About 11.5% of families and 13.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.3% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.
Beaufort is the center of an urban cluster with a total population of 46,227 (2000 census), comprising the city and its surrounding towns and unincorporated areas including Port Royal, Burton,
Lady's Island, Shell Point, Laurel Bay, and Parris Island, among others.
Beaufort is also part of the larger Hilton Head Island-Beaufort Micropolitan Statistical Area which includes Beaufort and Jasper counties and had a total population of 159,247 in 2005 (U.S. Census Bureau estimate). According to the more detailed data available in the 2000 census, the population included in this micropolitan area (which actually was designated after the census itself) was 64% urban and 36% rural. It included the urban clusters of Beaufort (2000 pop.: 46,227), Hilton Head Island (34,400), Bluffton (6,136), and Ridgeland (3,585).
Beaufort is classified as a "city" according to the South Carolina Secretary of State. The city is governed by a five member city council under the council-manager form of government. The current mayor is George O'Kelley, who took over the position from Bill Rauch, who resigned in July 2008 after allegations of
insider tradingsurfaced, [ [http://www.npaper-wehaa.com/bluffton-today;see-8VDXT9OwYvi8M1Zb#c-49958 Bluffton Today by Wehaa ] ] [ [http://www.thestate.com/crime/story/467479.html The State | 07/22/2008 | Mayor quits amid controversy ] ] [ [http://www.charleston.net/news/2008/jul/21/beaufort_mayor_quits_after_insider_trading_charge/ Beaufort mayor quits after insider trading charge ] ] [ [http://www.wcbd.com/midatlantic/cbd/search.apx.-content-articles-CBD-2008-07-16-0030.html Beaufort mayor charged with insider trading - Search - Charleston, SC ] ] . The other council members include Donnie Ann Beer, Gary Fordham, and Mike Sutton. Council members serve on staggered four-year terms.
The City provides police, fire, sanitation, recycling, parks, events management, planning, zoning, building codes, and downtown parking as some of its services. The City has a web site at www.cityofbeaufort.org
In October 2007, voters approved a $15 million bond referendum that will allow the city to construct a new city hall and other municipal buildings at the intersection of Boundary Street and Ribaut Road.
Public K-12 education is administered by the Beaufort County School District, which was established in the 1860s and legally completed desegregation in 1970. Schoolchildren in the city attend the following schools:
* Beaufort Elementary School
* Broad River Elementary School
* Coosa Elementary School
* James J Davis Elementary School
* Joseph Shanklin Elementary School
* Lady's Island Elementary School
* Mossy Oaks Elementary School
* Port Royal Elementary School
* Shell Point Elementary School
* Whale Branch Elementary School
* Beaufort Middle School
* Lady's Island Middle School
* Robert Smalls Middle School
* Whale Branch Middle School
* Battery Creek High School
* Beaufort High School
* Whale Branch High School (opening 2010)
Private K-12 education is supported by the following schools:
* Agape Christian Academy
* Beaufort Academy (located on Lady's Island)
* St. Peter's Catholic School
* Eleanor Christensen Montessori School
* Thomas Heyward Academy (located in Jasper County)
Libraries and museums
Beaufort has close to 70 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in addition to the entire historic downtown being listed as a historic district.
The Beaufort Arsenal and Museum serves as both the city's major museum and a point of interest in Beaufort's history. The Verdier House at 901 Bay Street is one of the oldest homes in the city and the only home open to the public that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Located in downtown, the Beaufort County Library serves residents of Beaufort and northern Beaufort County. Additional branches are found elsewhere in the county. The University of South Carolina Beaufort also has a campus library, located in the original Beaufort College building.
Three local institutions comprise the current extent of higher education in the Beaufort area. Both the
University of South Carolina BeaufortMain Campus and the Technical College of the LowcountryBeaufort Campus are located within the city limits. Clemson Universityalso operates a university extension office in the city with ecological and agricultural programs.
The following major roads are important transportation links in Beaufort.
* "', is the major connector through the city and the principal route to the Sea Islands. It is also known as Trask Parkway west of the SC 170 intersection, Boundary Street, and Ribaut Road. Originally going through downtown and across the Robert Woods Memorial Bridge, US 21 was rerouted to the south upon the completion of the taller and wider J.E. McTeer Bridge in the 1980s. Once rejoined with "Business 21" on Lady's Island the route is known as Sea Island Parkway and travels through Lady's Island, St. Helena Island, annd Harbor Island before ending to become a county route on Hunting Island, which continues to the private Fripp Island community.
* Business U.S. Highway 21, also known locally as "Business 21" or more specifically as Boundary Street and Carteret Street is the major arterial through downtown Beaufort. Starting at the US 21 split, the route travels eastward along Boundary Street to the Bellamy Curve at the edge of the peninsula, then turns sharply towards the south along Carteret Street until reaching the Woods Memorial Bridge (drawbridge) over the Beaufort River. The route continues onto Ladys Island before rejoining US 21.
* S.C. Highway 116, also known as Laurel Bay Road connects the Marine Corps Air Station with the military housing community at Laurel Bay, as well as other communities such as Laurel Bay and Habersham
* "', also known as the Robert T. Smalls Parkway serves as the primary connection between Beaufort and southern Beaufort County, Jasper County, and Savannah.
* S.C. Highway 280, also known as the Parris Island Gateway runs along the western fringes of the City Limits, connecting U.S. 21 with S.C. Highway 802, creating a western bypass of downtown Beaufort.
* S.C. Highway 802, also known as Lady's Island Drive connects Lady's Island and the eastern Sea Islands with Port Royal, Parris Island, Shell Point, and points west. It provides an alternative reliever route so motorists can avoid downtown Beaufort. The route is co-signed with US Highway 21 over the McTeer Bridge.
* "' is the closest interstate highway to Beaufort and is located about 25 miles away. Beaufort can be easily accessed via exits 8, 33, 38, and 42, depending on the direction of approach.
Local public transportation and
dial-a-rideservice is provided by Palmetto Breeze, a regional transportation authority run by the Lowcountry Council of Governments, which serves as the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization(MPO). [http://www.firsttransit.com/FirsttransitView.php?id=106]
Other transportation options include the following:
* The Downtown Marina is Beaufort's nautical gateway to the Intercoastal Waterway and the surrounding Sea Islands.
* The Beaufort County Airport, located three miles east of downtown on Lady's Island provides general aviation services. Larger airline-service airports are found in Charleston and Savannah.
* The Port Royal Railroad served Beaufort and surrounding locales with freight rail service until the closing of the South Carolina Port Authority terminal just south of the City in 2004. The rail at one time also had passenger service and was used by Marine Corps recruits to reach Parris Island. Currently closed between Yemassee and Port Royal, there are continuing discussions about the future of the rail line.
* [http://www.cityofbeaufort.org City of Beaufort]
* [http://www.beaufortgazette.com Beaufort Gazette]
* [http://www.beaufortcountyarts.com Arts Council of Beaufort County]
* [http://www.tcl.edu Technical College of the Lowcountry]
* [http://photos.placesphotographed.com/v/scbeaufort/ Photographs of Beaufort, South Carolina]
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