Seashore Farmers' Lodge Museum @ Sol Legare - sollegare

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Welcome to Sol Legare...

Welcome to our site, which is dedicated to the restoration of the Sol Legare Seashore Farmers' Lodge 767 located on James Island, SC just outside Charleston.  In 2007, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and now we are trying to restore it to its former glory!  We are always looking for volunteers and appreciate anyone's efforts to help in the rejuvenation of this piece of American history.  Please take a look at all of the pictures of our progress and feel free to comment or contact us for more information - you could even stop by for a visit! 

Our hours are by appointment, though we are usually around on the weekends. Please feel free to contact us for more information!


phone: 843.327.2213

Directions: From Charleston, take the James Island Connector towards Folly Road. Turn left on Folly Road. Continue several miles towards the beach (appx 5) until you come to an intersection that has a large Piggly Wiggly shopping center anchoring it. Turn right onto Sol Legare Rd. Follow approximately 1/2 mile and the Museum is on your right.

Latest news...

150th anniversary

Eagle Scouts

I got a phone call from Susan Milliken the other day - she is a James Island resident and her husband teaches at CofC. Her son was looking for an Eagle Scout's Project to give back to his community. She called because she knew there must be something we needed done at the Lodge.


At first we thought we would want Joel to paint the lodge.... BUT guess what that doesn't count towards servicing your community - too easy.

SO, Ernest is working with The Eagle Scouts to reconstruct the outhouse/privy. Pics and details to follow! In the meantime let us know if you want to help Joel!

Best Of, Charleston

I got a message the other day that The Lodge Restoration received BEST HISTORIC RESTORATION in this year's City Paper Best Of awards. WOW. Thank you Ms. Pandolfi for such a lovely article. Check out the link to the right!

The Heart of Sol Legare - City Paper article

Our friends from Lowcountry Africana called last week to see if we would be willing to give a quote of sorts on the importance of genealogy and what they are doing to increase awareness. Of course we jumped at the opportunity to help - they have been instrumental in many of the records we found just before our opening in April 2011. (has it REALLY been two years?)

Nevertheless, they intereviewed us and I guess Ernest blew them away with the story of the Lodge Restoration mission and the story of Sol Legare. They ended up featuring the lodge and Sol Legare on the cover.... Click the link to the right to read it!

Thanks LA for always brainstorming ways to propel our mission forward!

Ernest and Corie take part in StoryCorps

StoryCorps has been in town and will be here until next month. They are a nonprofit organization that encourages interviews and discussions about most anything you want! Our friends at Lowcountry Africana encourage Ernest and Corie to take part in this initiative and record our story. So we did!

Today, Ernest and Corie headed over to Ansonborough Field where the StoryCorps bus is situated for the next month. It was so cool! There is a makeshift studio and a moderator records your conversation - I told Ernest I felt like we were on a train!

THe result of StoryCorps is pieces of the interview may be used on NPR, Etv Radio, and more. It ends up that they will archive our interview in the SMithsonian's Anacostia museum as well as the Library of Congress. What a great experience!!! Ernest will have the disc if anyone wants to hear it.

Here are the questions I asked him:

1.   Tell me your name and a little bit about yourself, where you were born etc.

a.   What generation descendant are you

b.   What does this mean to you

2.   Can you tell me a little about the Sol Legare neighborhood and its roots?

a.   Here I suggest we delve into the timeline of the neighborhood and how it came to be:

Civil war and JI’s role in playing an integral backdrop to the war– battle of sol legare -- emancipation proclamation – settle land – thriving community – sea and land farming to survive– familial bonds, etc. – relying upon one another to survive --  erection of seashore farmers loge and why structures like it were significant to the survival of young African American communities trying to survive.

3.   Explain the ideas of  “societies/brotherhoods”  like the seashore farmers’ lodge and why they were important during the time of post civil war.

4.   Can you tell us about the Seashore Farmers' Lodge and how it was a focal point for community life in Sol Legare?

5.   You recently restored this lodge after a long and very successful community effort.

a.   Explain it’s condition upon the project’s implementation

b.   How did the restoration project come about?

       i.   I think that we really want to stress how passionate Cubby was in 2005/2006 about figuring out a way to make this happen

c.  What sort of community pride did the project entice

d.   Did you learn new things about your ancestors and/or community?

e.   Can you go over who was involved in drafting a plan to restore such a historical structure?

f.  What roles that they played? We probably really want to gush over the city of JI and their 50,000 grant, coastal community center, trademark for televising it, construction consultants for doing at cost, vance’s passion (what better way to describe his attitude), etc.

g.   How did this make you feel.

h.   Do you think your ancestors would be pleased with the final product and everything it represents?

6.   You have won several awards for your preservation efforts. What were your reactions when you learned of the awards? 

a.   SC African American Heritage

b.   Palmetto Trust

c.  National Trust for Historic Preservation (maybe talk about those we shared the stage with here – boston opera house, frank Lloyd wright, etc. huge projects and our modest representation shone through….)

d.   The one from Georgette Mayo

7.   What is next for the Seashore Farmers' Lodge and the community of sol legare?

8.   ONE LAST QUESTION WE NEED: You said earlier that one of your exhibits at the seashore farmers’ lodge is living history. Can you do one of your skits for us here? {then I think do the civil war monologue since you do that one so well alone}

Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor

The management plan for the GGCHC was released this past week. You can view it online here:

Make comments and suggestions quickly!!! Our first one will be why is the Lodge listed as a cultural treasure but isn't in the management plan!?

James Island Messenger

Our friend, Warren who works for The JIM, recently ran a great article commending us for our awards! we will try to get this scanned and uploaded today.

Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor

Oh, and we nearly forgot to mention! Our friends with the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor have chosen to feature us at their cultural treasure (for the time being - not sure how long as they implied the treasures will be rotating.)

Check this brand new website out!

update: Charleston Mag and Carolopolis

I know that it has been quite some time since we have had an update on here, but never fear: we have been hard at work. Several great things have been going on. First, Charleston Magazine did a feature article on our project for their Giving Back section. This was such an amazing honor that they chose to feature the our hard work with such beautiful words - the article is aptly titled Heart & Sol.

Then, much to our surprise two weeks ago, Corie received a phone that the project won a Carolopolis award for which it had been nominated. Wow. We were featured among winners as College of Charleston, the City Market, and several other properties. This was an honor for us and as a result, we will hang the esteemed Carolopolis plaque on our porch for all to see. If you are interested in seeing the nomination form, please feel free to ask!

Ernest and the 54th guys have much planned for the month of February, including some lecture series and an encampment at Magnolia Plantation. We just got finished making an informative DVDrom, which they will have available for purchase at these events (it includes a lecture, essay, lesson plan and more!)

February 16 marks three years since our start date of construction - we are thrilled with the outcome.

National Day of Listening 2011

Corie took part in the National Day of Listening via a blog interview with our friends at Lowcountry Africana. Here is what she had to say about the lodge restoration:

National Day of Listening Interview IV: Corie Hipp, Seashore Farmers’ Lodge


Q: Can you tell us about the Seashore Farmers' Lodge and how it was a focal point for community life in Sol Legare?

A:  The community of Sol Legare is very unique and has a very intriguing history. It is one of the last remaining of its kind in the south and the majority of the community are descendants of the original settlers.


During the Civil War, the 800 acre island housed many federal troops, including the 54th Massachusetts who would later make their mark on history in the famed yet fatal battle of Battery Wagner under the leadership of General Robert Gould Shaw. This regiment would pave the way for African Americans as the first military group to fight - July 1863. The community of Sol Legare was also the host to many battles during the war including the Battle of Sol Legare.


Flash forward 30 years - the area was settled by the now Freedmen and they made a life for themselves by truck farming. The plats of land were narrow and long - the house was in the front and the crops in the back. The families of Sol Legare would continue to make their living by utilizing the sea and land around them. It was a completely self-sufficient farming community at the turn of the Century.


The Seashore Farmers' Lodge was significant because it was the heartbeat of the community - erected in 1915 through the sweat equity of its members; the brotherhood supported its own in times of need. If one member grew ill, the other members would come together to care for their family, carry their crops to market and in the worst of scenarios, handle the burial and funeral arrangements. Each member held a $500 insurance policy as one of the perks of membership.


The Lodge was one of three in the area - but it was the "master," the example others followed. In a time when not much else was certain, the support of the Seashore Farmers' Lodge was the backbone of this small farming community. The structure served as church, funeral home, school, insurance - it was the strength.

However, as time moved on and many generations of African Americans migrated north and/or farming was not such a way of life, weather and time took its toll on this sacred structure, and it slowly fell into disrepair. 

Q: You recently restored the lodge after a long and very successful community effort. How did the restoration project come about?

A:  In 1998, the Lodge members - Ed Wilder, Art Wilder and Bill Cubby Wilder (a 4th generation descendant) began focusing on ways to save the structure, which was a small tropical storm away from demise. Fundraisers were held, but the structure was in pretty bad shape and estimates were astronomical.


Flash forward to 2006 - I met Cubby while working with Trademark Properties who at the time had a hit reality TV show, Flip This House. The Seashore Farmers' Lodge was the actual beginning building in the intro of the TV show. The after was a figment - so it only seemed appropriate for it to be one of our projects.  Along with Vance Sudano, Richard Davis, owner of Trademark Properties, appointed me to work with Cubby and the community to oversee the restoration of this sacred structure. Cubby is a pretty inspirational person - his past is pretty important to him and he loves his community and the history it holds. 


In 2006, Vance and Cubby and I got inside the building and shored it up by using 2 x 4s and creating a wedge that literally pushed the building out as gravity was pushing it inward. Later, our contractor Mike Riffert said had we not done this, it never would have been possible to save it.


At this point, I found Karen Nickless through Joe McGill - she was with the Edisto Historical Society at the time - but was a grant writer. I met with her and immediately hired her (Richard and Trademark footed the bill here) to write our nomination for the National Register of Historic Places. She came out and interviewed Cubby and his mom and wrote a very successful nomination. One year later - 2007, we were listed on the National Register. We still work with Karen now - she has been a huge support for us.


However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the project was drawn out and almost didn't even get filmed at all but was put on hold in 2006.



Yet, Cubby forged onward. James Island formed its new township, attempting to incorporate as a town the first time and Cubby was successful in obtaining a $50,000 history grant which would later be the launch pad for the matching funds. He and Mary Clark were INSTRUMENTAL in the birth and infancy of this project - without that initial $50,000 the rest was a dream.


In 2008, all of the stars aligned when Ernest Parks (a 5th generation descendant) moved back to town from Atlanta. He was not only the perfect candidate to oversee the project but also an historian with an avid interest in preserving and presenting the history of his community for others. He and Cubby had reassembled a team of volunteers to move forward but everything seemed near impossible.


The day after Christmas, I got a call from Richard that the TV show started up again and Sol Legare would be our first project -- again I was to be in charge of PR, marketing and fundraising and Vance (Sudano) would oversee project management.


After many crazy bids - some in excess of $400,000 - committee member Chris Wilkerson brought a guest to one of the meetings - Mike Riffert, owner of Construction Consultants, LLC and a Folly Beach resident. He would end up being the backbone of the project and completing the majority of the restoration in 36 days - only charging his cost and not making a penny otherwise. After that initial 36 days, we ran out of money and had to forge on piece by piece.


On Feb 16, 2009, we began filming the restoration of the Seashore Farmers' Lodge at Sol Legare for an episode of the Real Estate Pros. The good part about this, was the cameras caught the entire major parts of construction in perpetuity. But honestly, otherwise, we raised all of the money on our own - the exposure the TV show offered was priceless but all of the funds were raised through fundraisers, grants, private donations, the town of course, and us - the volunteers who worked for FREE for the past 5 years.


And seriously, the rest is history. This project is a result of several like-minded people with a goal in mind who work well together. We officially opened the doors on April 16, 2011 - the Sesquicentennial of the commencement of the Civil War.


Q: You have won awards for your preservation efforts. What were your reactions when you learned of the awards? 


A:  2011 was a great year for us and brought us many great accolades for our hard work - it was really nice to be progressively acknowledged for our work - the icing on the cake if you will.


The first award was from The SC African American Heritage Commission. They have been great supporters of us since day 1, especially Joe McGill - I bet he didn't know what he was getting himself into when I met him in the summer of 2006. This award was the Preserving our Places in History award. We won it and our committee got honorable mention for people making a difference.


The next award was an Honor Award from the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation - a statewide award, too.


The last was the pinnacle of them all - an honor award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation - one of fourteen chosen nationwide - and we were among groups like the Boston Orchestra - I mean REALLY!????


My immediate reaction for each award was legitimate shock. I was the one who applied us for these awards - chalking it up to nothing left to lose but wasting my own personal time. When I got the call from SC African American Heritage I screamed, called Ernest, he thanked God, prayed, I cried, we laughed - we called the others - hysterically. This was the same reaction for the Palmetto Trust.


When I got that email that we won the National Trust award, I almost hyperventilated. I called Ernest, he was speechless at first and then he thanked God, prayed. I kept crying, we laughed, and called the others to tell them Sol Legare would be going to NY but only for a visit to bring home the coveted honor award for our hard work and approach towards restoration, education and history.


We were one of over 200 applicants nationwide. I still can't believe they picked us. The whole story is an inspirational outcome of what can happen when a team of people work hard towards a goal. Our group picture at the NTHP award had a rep from each of the previous awards accepting it with us.


Q: What is next for the Seashore Farmers' Lodge?


A:  An interactive museum that explores the contributions of Coastal African Americans at the turn of the Century and to the present. Through living history and interactive skits, we will tell a story many wouldn't otherwise experience - we are preserving the past to educate the future. 



Sol Legare episode

Many people have asked about the Sol Legare episode from when The Real Estate Pros aired a portion of the restoration on their TV show... I have just posted it in segments for y'all to see. It initially aired in August of 2009.

article we wrote for Folly Current

Five members of The seashore farmers lodge museum and cultural center at sol legare adhoc committee traveled to buffalo, NY this past week to accept an honor award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation at its annual preservation conference.


Theirs was one of twenty four national awards presented at a ceremony Thursday evening at historic Kleinham's Music Hall. Stephanie Meeks, president of the NTHP, noted the group's approach towards unique educational opportunities is what set them apart from the over 200 nominations received nationwide. Glenn Keyes, local architect and NTHP member presented the award to Concerned Citizens of Sol Legare President, Ernest Parks; Folly Beach resident and contractor, Michael Riffert; James Island residents and volunteers, Vance Sudano and Paul Hedden; and volunteer Corie Hipp who initially nominated the project for the award back in February.


They were on the same stage as a 55 million dollar project to restore Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin house, the Mayor of Boston for his revitalization of the lower Washington Street theater district and the group that recently thwarted Walmart's attempt to expand on a Civil War battlefield site. People who had built bridges to join communities and others who had restored an abandoned East Baltimore brewery to its glory years. 


"To have even been considered for such an award was an honor in itself, but to actually win an award and in turn educate Americans nationwide as to what we are doing on Sol Legare was such an accomplishment for our restoration committee, the community of Sol Legare, and James Island. It just reinforces the fact that if you have a goal and a team that works well together, you can accomplish anything your heart desires." said committee leader Ernest Parks.


The group traveled to Buffalo Thursday morning to attend the awards ceremony and even found a chance to visit the majestic Niagra Falls.


For more information

Buffalo - surreal and unbelievable

It is still unbelievable to us that we were selected to win this award. Ernest, Corie, Paul, Vance, and Mike (almost half of our committee) were able to make the trip to Buffalo, NY to attend the National Trust's annual conference and receive 1 of 24 awards - one advisor who was on the judging panel said there were over 200 applications/nominations. Ours was the only in the Southeast and we were honored with several influential projects and people.

Glenn Keyes, local architect and advisor to NTHP from SC, introduced us and NTHP President Stephanie Meeks and NTHP Chair Carolyn S. Brody presented the award to Ernest Parks. It was just great to hear the applause from the theater filled with people. The acoustics were just great.

We were on the stage with our friend Evan from the Preservation Society, the mayor of Boston and his revitalization of the Washington Street district, the recently regaled (and successful) attempts to thwart Wal-Mart's attempts to build on a Civil War battleground, those that literally bridged two cities, restored the architectural phenom, Andrew Lloyd Wright's Darwin Martin house, a renowned philanthropist, and more... I'll post a complete list later, but for now that gives you an idea!

Our friends, Karen Nickless (NTHP and our National Register of HIstoric Places nomination author), Joseph McGill (NTHP and Company I reenactor), Michael Bedenbaugh (Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation), and Ralph Johnson (Florida Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor Commissioner) joined us for our group picture - it was so much fun to share this with those that have worked with us over the years. We can't wait to get home to share it with everyone else who has been such an integral part of the overall success.

After the ceremony, we went to eat dinner at the home of the original Buffalo Wing - The Anchor Bar - but we still think Jeff may have had one up on them at Buffalo South :) After a long day of flying and attending awards ceremonies, we turned in for the night. THe next day was going to be a fun one with a trip to Niagra Falls before Vance and Mike took Corie and Ernest to the airport to return home. It was amazing but COLD!

We met several new friends on our route to Buffalo and the experience can only be explained as a wonderful feeling to know that our hard work has been honored on a national level.  Thank you again to all those that have supported us through the years and made this dream come true.

We won a national award!

Dear Friends:

I write to you with great pride and joy to tell you that the restoration of The Seashore Farmers' Lodge @ Sol Legare has been selected to receive an honor award at The National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual conference to be held this week in Buffalo, NY.

I, along with 4 other members of the restoration committee, will travel to Buffalo to accept our award this Thursday! We are so honored to have been considered for this award and are even more honored to have been one of 24 recipients selected, nationwide.

Please take a moment to read the below press release. We will be certain to update our blog, with information and pictures as soon as we return.

Thank you for your support over the years. We are truly humbled.

Ernest Parks
(on behalf of the Seashore Farmers' Lodge 767 and its Ad-hoc Restoration Committee, The Concerned Citizens of Sol Legare Foundation, and The Community of Sol Legare)


Seashore Farmers Lodge in Charleston, S.C. to Receive
Preservation Honor Award
National Trust for Historic Preservation to Present Award at Its National Conference
Posted October 17, 2011 | Contact or 202-588-6141
Washington, D.C.—The National Trust for Historic Preservation will present its Preservation Honor
Award for the restoration of the Seashore Farmers Lodge in Charleston, S.C. The project is one of
23 award winners to be honored by the National Trust during its 2011 National Preservation
Conference next week in Buffalo, NY.
In the years after the Civil War, the Seashore Farmers' Lodge served as the community center of the
South Carolina Low Country community of Sol Legare. The wooden, two-story structure served as
school, church, meeting place and emotional center for this thriving African American community. By
the mid 2000s, it had a gaping hole in the center of the roof.
Thanks to a true community effort, the Lodge has been restored and is once again central to the
community, serving as a cultural center and museum, telling the story of African American soldiers who
fought in the nearby Civil War and the vibrant black community that sprung up in their wake.
“While each is unique, this year’s outstanding award winners all reflect the importance of protecting
what is special and irreplaceable,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic
Preservation. “Whether it’s the restoration of a brewery in Baltimore or the redevelopment of a classic
roadside motor court in Tucson, this year’s award winners demonstrate how preservation is bolstering
local economies and creating jobs in communities across the country.”
The award will be presented to the Seashore Farmers’ Lodge 767 at the National Preservation Awards
ceremony in Buffalo, New York, on Thursday, October 20, at 5:30 PM EST. Co-recipients are:
Backman's Seafood; The Coastal Community Foundation of Charleston; Community of Sol Legare,
South Carolina; Concerned Citizens of Sol Legare Foundation; Construction Consultants LLC; The
Corinne Company; J&G Tours; Moutz Architects; Rosen and Associates, Engineers; Town of James
Island, South Carolina, Office of the Mayor, and Trademark Properties.
The National Preservation Awards are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations,
public agencies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their
communities through preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage. These efforts include
citizen attempts to save and maintain important landmarks; companies and craftsmen whose work
restores the richness of the past; the vision of public officials who support preservation projects and
legislation in their communities; and educators and journalists who help Americans understand the
value of preservation. The winners of the National Preservation Awards will appear online at


Great things are happening left and right for us, still. It's amazing how much support our community gives us. We are working on making an infomercial of the history one can experience at the Lodge Museum and more!!!! We will also be formulating extensive marketing packets containing our mission, as well.

We have made a friend in Atlanta that we found through the Gullah-Geechee Heritage Corridor and she will be featuring the Lodge on her preservation website - we will be certain to post the link when it is active!

You may also wish to check out this link and its plethora of historical facts:


A friend recently wrote an article on the lodge's grand opening and titled it: A day in the sun. This couldn't be more true and poetic at the same time. The weather on April 16 was supposed to be the most ominous of the week.... people suggested we postpone the event. However, we had a problem - 50 lbs of chicken which had been cleaned and prepped to cook for our crowd, in addition to weeks of advertising and lining up our special guest speakers, etc.... No, the event could not be postponed so we had to rely on faith that everything would work out after two successful years of perseverance - a little tornado threat couldn't stop us now!

The preparation for our event started on Thursday with an interview for Gullah Nation TV where Ed, Arthur, Cubby and Ernest regaled stories from the Seashore Farmers' Lodge's century-old history. Friday was a gorgeous day, made even more beautiful by Salley's exhibit she donated - a glorious painting of the Lodge members marching in the 1938 Labor Day parade, something they did annually. You'll have to see it for yourself to see the beauty of it but I have posted pictures to give you an idea. The rest of the day was spent hanging pictures, arranging furniture, and preparing the grounds for our event the next day. Vance, Mike and I finally made the decision to order a 40 foot tent at about 5 PM when it looked like the odds were stacked high against us.

The morning of the event began windy, cloudy, rainy and dark - my heart was heavy but we had to push forward... Vance's friend Don of R&D Stamps in DC made some fabulous signage for us - we decided to be as vague as possible so as to reuse them for future events. The morning was spent getting ready and waiting for the tent to arrive, which it finally did at 1215. Because of this we ended up being about 45 minutes behind schedule, but ended up to be ok. Gullah Geechee Commissioner Campbell spoke, Mayor Woolsey, Mayor Goodwin, and past and present town council members; Bill Saunders even came to our event, as did the director of the SC Historical Society and some of their board members.... The highlight was our special guest, Michael Bedenbaugh of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, and he presented the lodge members and committee to restore it with an award commemorating their preservation work. The turnout was excellent and ended up not a cloud in the sky and a sunny spring day that is the setting of many fairy tales - the lodge ancestors were sure to have been proud watching over our progress.

The day ended with a reenactment of the Battle of Sol Legare between Massachusetts Reg Co I and The Citadel Military Living History Society.

Great Show!


I must really say that all of the parts fit together to make a whole. We have had great success in getting the details for the event under way and should have a nice crowd on Saturday - Even the Gullah Geechee Heritage chairperson will be present.

Ernest, Cubby, and Corie will go on a radio talk show tonight to discuss the project and significance of communities like Sol Legare and their impact on not only  Charleston but America as a whole. web address is:
Then, on Thursday, Ernest and Corie will reappear on Lowcountry Live with an update on our progress. You may remember, we visited them in January 2009 and I'm sure they'll be surprised to see our progress over the past two years!!!!

Saturday's event is a monumental one in that not only have we accomplished a feat in restoring the building, but we have succeeded in creating a place to tell the many stories that may otherwise not have been told. Hope to see you all Saturday!

Lowcountry Africana

We have really found great resources with Lowcountry Africana, a non-profit group dedicated to preserving the generations of resources available to trace African American family history, roots, etc. They have helped us find a host of documents pertaining to the Freedman's Bureau.... Super cool. Thanks LA.




In light of the pending sesquicentennial commemorations of the Civil War, the grand opening of the Seashore Farmers' Lodge Museum and Cultural Center will be held on Saturday, April 16, 2011 from 1 – 4 p.m.  The Lodge is located off of Folly Road on Sol Legare Road on James Island.


As part of the Grand Opening, the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation (, a prestigious preservation group (South Carolina’s statewide partner of The National Trust for Historic Presentation), will present a preservation honor award to the members of the Sol Legare community who have worked diligently to preserve this historic structure.


To celebrate the Grand Opening, other events are planned including:

A $10 Lowcountry Meal available at 1 PM

A Re-enactment of the Battle of Sol Legare at 2 PM

Presentation of Palmetto Trust Award at 3 PM

A sneak peek at The Ghosts of Sol Legare, at 3:30 PM


A massive 2-year restoration has been completed on the structure and it is now ready for its next role as a museum.
The museum
will offer visitors a look at the impact Coastal African American communities, such as Sol Legare, had in shaping Post Civil War America and that which transcends to the present.
The museum, anchored by a large-scale diorama of the 54th Massachusetts’ siege on Battery Wagner, exhibits a series of relics and living history skits - relevant to the survival of these small, African American agricultural communities, as well as their role in the Civil War.


In conjunction with the grand opening, there will be a re-enactment of the Battle of Sol Legare - a little known skirmish that held great impact on the events of The Civil War. On July 16, 1863, one of America’s first African American Army Regiments was organized in the North, led by Union General Alfred Terry.  During the Battle of Sol Legare, the troops bravely risked their lives fighting for the cause – 14 men lost their lives, 17 were wounded, and 13 were missing. Sol Legare was also a center point to many battles fought in the area and at one point housed 5200 Federal troops, including the famed 54th Massachusetts Regiment.


The Union soldiers of The Massachusetts 54th Regiment, Company I and the Confederate soldiers of

The Citadel’s Military Living History Society will be dressed in period clothing and relating stories. The women of the 54th Massachusetts will be on hand as well.  The finale will include a performance of the living history skit “The Ghosts of Sol Legare”, an interaction between two African American farmers set in the early 1900’s.


Lunch will be available for $10 per plate and include fried chicken, sweet tea and various sides.  All proceeds will benefit the museum, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.


*The Seashore Farmers’ Lodge Museum is located off of Folly Road on Sol Legare Road.

From Charleston, take Folly Road towards the beach and turn right at the Piggly Wiggly intersection. Continue approximately ½ mile and the Lodge is on your right hand side.


Please email or phone Corie Hipp with any questions or comments or 843.327.2213

Please visit for more information and an in-depth blog detailing our efforts.

Emergency Exit

The emergency exit is D-O-N-E!  Next step, Certificate of Occupancy! Ernest, Douglas, James, and Jim commandeered the old buckboard wagon donation and transported it to the Lodge. It is placed by the historical marker and looks very authentic! I'll post some pics ASAP.

Everything is on schedule for the April 16 opening. We are excited!

Feb 27 update

Check out the new pictures of the Lodge construction - the ramp is complete! Only the emergency exit is left!

Our committee meets tonight to discuss the official grand opening - currently slotted for either April 9 or April 16.

finishing up construction - almost two years to the date!

February 16 marks our two year anniversary - it also marks the days prior to our completing this project. Vance and Mike intend to complete the emergency stairwell this weekend and as soon as that is done, we can gain a Certificate of Occupancy. (Mike finished the handicapped ramp last week)

Mr Ed Wilder and Mr Art Wilder have been working diligently completing the gas stove and fireplace which are reminiscent of the original.

Before too long, we will have a finished project where all can come to learn more about the Sol Legare area and revel in our accomplishments!

Palmetto Trust - February 23, 2011

Today I received a call from The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation. They chose our project as an Honor Award Recipient. This is such a true honor and we are so grateful.
I will post more as details unfold.


So many wonderful things have been happening over the past two years, we can hardly believe our current position and the reality of things to come! Just a quick update, Ernest had a wonderful trip to Texas, where he was chosen as a Diversity Scholar. The contacts, experiences, and knowledge gained are hard to put a value upon. 

The Lodge grew one step closer to gaining a Certificate of Occupancy when we activated the electricity, lights, and Exit signs.  At this point we have several small items that need to be addressed to finally receive the CO.

We had a plant donation and as a result have landscaped around the perimeter of the lodge with indigenous plants - this lends a beautiful aesthetic to it's appearance maintaining the local feel while remaining relevant to the era.

In December, we received a final donation, which will enable us to complete the construction of The Seashore Farmers' Lodge, keeping us on track for participation in the sesquicentennial celebrations of The Civil War... a goal we had set early on.

January found us receiving the Preserving Our Places in History PROJECT award from the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission. We are so appreciative of their support and selection of our project for this prestigious honor.  We will continue to make them proud. We will accept our award on Friday, Jan 28 and will post pictures as they are available.

There are several papers in the area who want to feature our story in relation to Black History Month coming up in February - we are so lucky to have such a huge community backing.

Our two year anniversary of the day we started construction is fast approaching - Feb 16. We had hoped to have a grand opening at that point, but looks as though it will get pushed back a month. 

More to come as details unfold.

Congratulations Ernest!!!

Today we received notice that Ernest was awarded a diversity scholarship through the National Trust for Historic Preservation!!!!! As a result, he will attend the Preservation Conference in Austin Tex - way to go, E!

Trip To SC State University

On September 17, Ernest, James and Corie traveled to Orangeburg, SC to speak to several Museum Studies students regarding our efforts in renovating and converting the Lodge to its current state - a museum focusing on Sea Island African Americans at the turn of the century. We gave a brief presentation on the renovation process and then James and Ernest performed two  living history skits, after which we took questions. Afterwards, we toured the archive storage where the university keeps their items not on display - amazing.  Their archivist even came to Charleston the next day to check out some of our exhibits to see if they may be a decent fit for a series next month: From the holocaust to Jim Crow. Overall, a really neat experience.


Several great things have happened to us over the past few weeks since the soft opening. Mr. Behre ran two great articles AND the 54th Mass, Ernest and James were featured in The Greenville News and The State Paper - super cool. Our friends at The Smithsonian Museum have led us to the path of SC State University and we are headed up there this Thursday to not only give a speech but to discuss other partnerships as well. Through the NTHP, we have entered a contest to win $25,000 - This Place Matters. Right now, we are in the top 60 but still have a ways to go so hopefully we can rally the support we need to push us to the top of that list.  We will be sure to post pictures from our adventures in Orangeburg ASAP!

Our Sneak Peek

THe Museum looks great. Absolutely great.  I think that we had a round number of 100 or so people filter through the Lodge throughout the day and Live 5 covered the event. Mr. Behre also wrote a very nice article on the 54th's endeavors and their Civil War duties.  The overall event was a success and we sold several bricks for our commemorative patio.

Sneak Preview of Sol Legare Museum and Cultural Center!

Sneak preview of the Sol Legare Museum and Cultural Center

Friday July 16, 2010

On the heels of a massive restoration and in conjunction with the encampment reenactment of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment Co I and their first fight at Battle of Ft. Wagner, The Seashore Farmers’ Lodge Museum and Cultural Center will hold a SOFT opening of its much anticipated Museum & Cultural Center this Friday, July 16, from Noon to 3 p.m. Visitors will be allowed inside to take a sneak preview of a few of the exhibits, relics, and progress on this once dilapidated, century-old structure. The museum will focus on Coastal African American communities at the turn of the century ranging from The Civil War to present.

The soldiers will be dressed in period clothing and conduct several skits and interactive sessions with visitors. The women of the 54th Massachusetts will be on hand as well, dressed in period clothing and hosting stories. The event will run from 12-3 and at 3 PM the 54th Massachusetts soldiers and the ladies will march down Old Sol Legare Road and board a boat to the Fort Wagner where the battle will commence. There are still spots available to join the troops at Fort Wagner for the battle re-enactment.

The lodge is located off of Folly Road down Sol Legare Road. For more information email us at

July 11, 2010

We have been working very diligently to prepare for Friday the 16th's soft opening. Corie created some great story board panels with history of both Sol Legare Island as well as The Seashore Farmers' Lodge. Check those out in the pictures section.  James and Ernest have been chugging right along with the staining of the interior and the painting of the exterior. We should have a great product to share with everyone come Friday.

Saturday, we did a small skit titled "Ghosts of Sol Legare" for Jim's Dad - he was 95 that day.  I have included pictures from our day on the pictures page.  Hope to see everyone Friday!


Several great things have happened over the past few weeks. First and foremost, we received another grant for $1000!  Also, we have launched our brick campaign which will entail the engraving of bricks slotted to ultimately form the patio around the 54th Massachusetts monument. They are only $35 a piece enabling us to have $13 profit per brick. We only need to sell 50 to break even on the cost of the flagpole, etc.  

On another note, Cubby and I attended a diversity planning forum hosted by our friends at the SC African American Heritage COmmission and the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor Commission. This was extremely informative and helpful in guiding us through the ultimate plan for the museum.  Additionally we were able to forge many great contacts. We saw Mr. Freeman, who is working perilously to save Jennie Moore, an African American school outside Mt. Pleasant; Ms. Harriot, Mr. Love, Mr. Allen, and many more. Ms. Harriot put on a nice presentation and we hope this will help us to make new relationships that will ultimately benefit the museum's life!

Then on Monday, June 28th, we returned to the seminar so that the 54th Massachusetts could present the colors.  Check out the pictures as they were great!

We've ordered the shellac to stain the interior of the lodge and James Brown is spending the week pressure washing and painting the exterior.  Also, we have decided to wait on the ramp and emergency exit since we will only be allowing guests in for a sneak preview on the first floor.  We are right on track for our soft opening, which is basically a fancy word for letting the public inside to check it out!

McLeod Plantation

The guys spent a night at the McLeod Plantation Slave cabins Saturday in conjunction with a presentation our friend Joe McGill is working on. The news came out and of course I was there to take pictures of them doing their thing - see on the pictures page. 

This experiment is part of a series Joe is doing to really delve deep into the lives of the African Americans who were living in these cabins and their daily experiences ultimately preserving the structures as historical monuments. He is going to forge all of his experiences into a presentation on the matter.

Ernest and Joe spend the night in slave cabins at McLeod!

This weekend, ERnest will be joining our good friend, Joseph McGill, in spending the night in the McLeod Plantation slave cabins. THis is part of a series that Mr. McGill is doing in an effort to preserve the historical significance of these structures. More to come!

June 14, 2010

At the meeting tonight, we decided that to host a soft opening of the Lodge in conjunction with the 54th reenactment camping which occurs annually prior to the Battle at Fort Wagner. We luckily have just received a grant from the NEW Fund which is going to enable us to reach these goals. 

This week, the handicapped ramp and emergency exit stairwell go in!  In addition, we are going to stain the downstairs in an amber schalacke - going to be amazing!

May 31, 2010

Did you know that the very first Memorial Day celebration was actually held in Charleston at Hampton Park?  There was a service at the park this afternoon where the 54th Massachusetts regiment presented the colors and marched us to the place where the plaque commemorating this event was unveiled. Pretty cool - hope you enjoy the pictures!

May 3, 2010

We had a fantastic meeting last night and everyone was present for the most part! The sink and bathroom are up and working and our newest committee member, MR. Davis donated a period piece mirror which will accent the decor!  We have several grant applications under way which are going to help with the museum portion of our process.  We have a strict deadline for the completion of construction set as mid June, with a proposed deadline of October for the museum, then another 8 weeks to work our kinks out before the sesquicentennial celebrations begin!  I should have pics of the progress posted soon.

April 1, 2010 - April Fool's Day, Not So Much!

Today was an eventful day at the Lodge and after what was a long, long, lonely winter we are back on track with a fresh goal in sight!  The remaining beadboard siding for the interior was delivered today and has a new home safe inside the Lodge.  

Mike, Mackey, Vance, and some neighborhood guys, Arthur, James and Johnry plan to get reengaged to complete the interior!  A few things left to do and we are almost ready to go on to the next phase - a completed Lodge ready to transform into a museum!  What a feat we have accomplished in such a short amount of time!

Updated details and pictures to be displayed next week!

March 17, 2010 -- update!

Well, it has been an unusually cold winter in Charleston (as with everywhere else!) We actually got close to 5 inches of snow in early February which is definitely not normal for our subtropical climate!  Nevertheless, we have been doing some work on the Lodge while waiting for the contractor to finish up on one of his paying jobs to complete the remaining items on our to do list.  Luckily, we have plenty of funds in place for the remainder of the restoration work so at least that is a relief!  

James Brown, Art Wilder and some other community members have been digging the sewage line from the lodge to the tap in point but the weather has not been super cooperative as of lately.  We are hoping that the weather holds up for a few weeks so we can knock out the exterior work while waiting for Mike and his crew to clear up their schedule.

On a lighter note, we have just received a generous grant in the amount of $1000 from the Joanna FOundation towards our museum initiative.  More to come soon, as we are on a huge deadline to have the museum ready in time for the Sesquicentennial celebrations for the Civil War!

March 2, 2010; J&G Tours conduct a trial run of its Civil War Tour

Committee Member, Paul Hedden (J&G Tours) conducted the very first trial run of its Civil War tour of James Island, which included the Lodge as one of its stops.  There were eight people present and had a great response.  The official first tour will be slotted for April 13, 14, and 15, with the 14th being the day to focus on Sol Legare and the rich history it has to offer. For more information:

February 16th - Vance and Ernest's test run

Not only is today the one year anniversary since we began the restoration, it also marks the first demonstration/exhibit.  Ernest (dressed in his 54th Massachusetts regalia) and Vance conducted a field trip for some students from James Island High School. The students were very receptive of all these guys had to teach and I feel like the future holds great promise for live exhibits such as these!  Plans are still a go for a large scale re-enactment in early 2011 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Civil War.

January 18, 2010 -- Annual MLK Day Parade

What a great day! Everyone had such a grand time - especially Ernest, Jose and James Brown who had the crowd chanting along!  We marched all the way from Burke High down King and ended in the heart of downtown Charleston. As you will see from the pics, there were people everywhere! 

Martin Luther King Day

Well, due to the holidays, etc. work has been put on a minor standstill but we are gearing up once this FREEZING weather subsides.  

This weekend we are participating in the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Parade. The nice people at Pro Legal Copy just printed TWELVE large posters of our progress to display on the float while Ernest and the guys will be on foot leading us dressed as their ancestors.  

Right now, the weather looks like it is going to cooperate -- we will make certain to post pictures!!!!

October 29, 2009

Today, Ernest called to tell me that we got another generous donation in the amount of $300 from The Stempoint Memorial Cemetery. We are so lucky to have so many people believe in our mission. More to come regarding the sewage status!

October 26, 2009

WE HAVE RUNNING WATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a fantastic feat! Updated Sewage to be negotiated in the next week!

Right now, we have scheduled an unveiling fundraiser to be held on December 5 in honor of Pearl Harbor Day. Details to follow but will most likely include oysters and local Sol Legare favorites to name a few! 

October 19, 2009

Great news, we have just received word that not only has the Town Of James Island granted us the $5000 we requested earlier this month, BUT a donor from the upstate has donated $6000 towards our cause! 

This fantastic news means that we are now due to start the work again to finish the Lodge Hall.  Remaining items to take care of are: plumbing, sewage, electrical inspection, and installing the interior beadboard walls. Ultimately, we will need to allocate funds to purchase exterior light fixtures as well as construct an ADA compliant ramp off the side entrance.

Overall, we are moving full steam ahead with a projected completion date by the end of the year!

October 6, 2009

This evening, Ernest and I went before the Town Council of James Island to hear their thoughts on our request for assistance with the plumbing and sewage costs. I feel like we were able to make a great case and as a result, they have agreed to donate $5000 towards our endeavors to open not the first museum on James Island! We hope to be back to work in the next few weeks!

September 24, 2009

Last weekend we lost an instrumental member of our restoration team, Mr. Joseph Balliet. He was an upstanding citizen who's bright smile and caring nature was a consistent fixture within our daily routine. His support and advice were second to none and he will be gravely missed but most definitely not forgotten. Joe, our thoughts and prayers are with your family and may you continue to watch over our project and shower us with blessings from above!

September 17, 2009

Today, Eddie Fennell of the Post and Courier published a fantastic follow-up piece on a story he ran just prior to our commencing the project. If you are in the area, pick up a P&C --- otherwise, check out the link to the right to see the internet version.  

We are currently at a standstill desperately trying to find additional funds to continue construction on the Lodge Hall. We hope to have details to share sooner rather than later.

September 1, 2009

Today, we went before the James Island Town Council to present our project and show them how far we have come in our endeavors. I do believe that they were impressed with our progress.  

August 22, 2009

We had another community work day today with a nice turnout. We will post pictures very soon but it mainly consisted of sanding, weeding, and installing locks on the windows and doors!

August 21, 2009

Today we had 2 interviews on the Lodge and her progress. Ryan Nelson of WCIV came out to do a follow-up story on the original she ran in January. Additionally, Ali Akhyari of The Folly Beach Current took some pictures and some interviews to do a feature in The Folly Beach Current! Its so nice to have such an interest in our project and it makes it so much easier to reach the public with the support we receive!

August 12 & 19, 2009

The restoration was aired on national hit TV reality series, "The Real Estate Pros" on TLC. I'm sure there will be a rerun and will keep everyone posted there! Overall, it was a great response and such a treat to see our hard work documented on television!

July 17, 2009

Today we used the Lodge for the first time in its restored state. In honor of the 146th Anniversary of the storming of Battery Wagner, The Massachusetts 54th staged a reenactment of the final hours leading up to the famed battle. Many would know this from the final scenes of "Glory", however many do not know that Old Sol Legare Road was the site where the soldiers marched to fight this important battle on that hot summer morning.


It was so HOT, but so nice to witness what is to come for the use of this structure.

We will definitely have the Lodge in its complete state of glory to celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary commemorating the Civil War.  



June 30, 2009

As I sat down to begin to type this memo, Crystal just walked over with the last of our pending donations.  Our anonymous donor's remaining pledge has arrived and not a moment too soon!  Due to his generosity and that of our "Grantors", we can move on to complete the last in a series of cosmetic reparations. 


Last night, at the weekly meeting, we unanimously decided to continue work with the exterior, cosmetic portion of the Lodge and concentrate on the conversion to modern day plumbing and water at a later date, of course prior to the CO being issued.


We hope to resume work on Monday July 6, in hopes of a semi-completed structure prior to July 18 (just in time for the commemoration of the Battle of Battery Wagner); with the only remaining items to be addressed being that of the updated plumbing and sewage.

June 25, 2009

Great news! Cubby called today to tell me yet another grant was approved and we have a check for $1000 just waiting for us to deposit!  This is great news b/c we still have to complete interior cosmetic work (approximately $6000) and then upgrade the plumbing and sewage to modern day requirements (approximately $4500). Its a huge relief to know that we only have to raise $10,000 or so to complete the restoration. At that point, we'll be ready for the conversion to a museum! 

June 18, 2009

We are at yet another minor standstill awaiting more funds to come in to continue work on the first level interior, conversion into current plumbing requirements, and ADA compliancy. Last week, we received word that we are going to be awarded a $2500 grant from the NEW fund (Neighborhoods Energized to Win) which will make us eligible for the remaining $3000 pledge from our anonymous donor. This should be just enough to help us to complete the cosmetic portion of the project - next step is setting up a financial plan to ensure continued maintenance, daily use of the museum and artifacts, and more!

June 7, 2009

What a day - just when people thought it could never be done, the lodge was able to host its first gathering in decades. With a beautifully landscaped front yard, ferns hanging from the porch, and a host of updated touches - the Lodge was open for visitors. 


The neighbors came over for lemonade, tea, cake, and to take a look at all of our hard work.  Bruce Faw, local artist, is going to sell us a painting he did in 2008 to hang in the museum. All is well as we move onto the next phase in this historical project - updating all the amenities to present day. This includes electrical, plumbing, and ADA compliant updates.  Shortly thereafter, we will delve into the historical portion, which will be the items we display to educate future generations.


1-2-3, Sol Legare!

June 6, 2009

Day 37:


Today, I mostly painted shutters, while Vance and Bobby Citrollo spread the gravel which Whitney and Colin donated. Mackey and Mike worked on finishing the beadboard siding on the second floor. Not too much excitement to report on, but much progress made towards a completed Hall.

June 5, 2009

Day 36:


Vance spent the entire day with Bobby C clearing my old college roommate, Whitney's driveway.  She and her family donated all the gravel to create a parking lot for our guests to park in as they visit the Lodge.  Vance must have made 10 trips with an old late 60's dump truck - it was fantastic. Everything is coming together and I think that we are going to invite the neighbors over to look at our progress on Sunday after church.


Friday night, Cubby, Ernest, and I were invited to attend The Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor meeting. This is a movement by James Clyburn and the National Park Service to preserve the African American Culture's contributions to American History by way of this corridor, which starts in Wilmington, NC and spans to Jacksonville, FL.  We plan to be very involved with the movement, but since its just starting up, its hard to say what our role will be.   For more information,

Day 35, June 4, 2009

Day 35:


We had another full crew today, but unfortunately due to the rain, we had to stop exterior work and concentrate on the inside.  The electricians are finishing up a job well done and as soon as we get the inspector to OK the work, we can put up the siding!


JimBo and Mike T worked on securing the floor with new boards getting it ready for an overall sanding and staining, while Harrison and Ed continued the brick work.


I left early, due to rain but will head back in a little while to catch up on the progress!

June 3, 2009

Day 34:


Today we had a full crew again. Ed and Harrison continued work on the brick steps and handicap ramp. I painted, which I seem to do best these days!  Should be another great day tomorrow finishing up the cosmetic work!

June 2, 2009

Day 33:


Today was a great day of painting and preparing the shutters and doors to be hung. Gary Norton dropped off our beadboard siding for the interior, which he milled to replicate the original. We will try to use as much original as possible, but of course will have to match it up with newer wood so as to stabilize the original structure.


Mackey secured shutters and doors on the lodge, while I painted ALL day. What a treat. Mr. Ed and his friend Harrison started on the brickwork steps at the front and the ADA ramp on the side. They will finish this tomorrow, as will Mackey and I on the painting of the shutters!


Oh and not to mention our VERY special donor advanced us a portion of his promised donation, so that work would not have to cease! We still need to find some money to complete the project, but overall a great day!


Not too much happened at the Lodge today. The electricians finished doing the "rough" work and hopefully will be finished before too long. 

Ernest and I had a great meeting with the JIPSD and they went over our options for tapping into the public sewer system. We'll discuss these at the meeting on Monday and decide our plan of action regarding the amount of "usage" we apply for.

Next week should be more interesting, as we move inside to complete the interior beadboard siding work. As for the exterior, its pretty much finished less a final coat of paint for good measure and the amber schellac(ing) for the porch floor.


Day 32:


Today was a great day with painting galore! THe heat was unbelievable and it makes the cold months we used to work at the beginning seem like forever ago.


Mr. Arthur came out to celebrate his birthday with us, as did Mr. Johnry, James Brown, Vance, Mike and Myself. David Key and his little boy came out to help paint later in the day.  Overall a fantastic workday of caulking and painting.  The old gal is instilling the value of a community working together even 100 years after she was built!


THe porch is completed, except for the amber schellac(ing) which MIke will do himself (I think that this is definitely NOT an amateur's job.)


Day 31:


This week we have been focusing on finding more money, as we are completely out! WE have applied for a couple of more grants in hopes that those funds will come in in time to contribute to the progress of the Lodge. We have such a momentum going, we would hate to have to stop work!


The electrical guys started to do the rough electrical work today. They are amazing and are donating their time on our project!  The plan is to convert the lighting system to can lights, due to the ceiling being so low.


Mike painted a lot and its starting to look more and more like the original. We are going to have a paint day tomorrow so the outside should be completed before too long!


Tonight we had our weekly meeting at the community center. To date, we have raised $545 in our neighborhood drive, with more collectors still having to turn their monies in!  Every little bit counts at this point and hopefully this will continue through the completion process!


Ernest, Jackie, and I are going to continue to work on some additional grants that Ernest has found in hopes that we can get some additional support for our endeavors.


Sherwin Williams has donated some paint and assuming the weather cooperates the neighborhood guys plan to paint some this weekend. 


Day 30: Today and yesterday, the guys focused on the inside bathroom area. The beadboard siding which would need to be milled to be a replica of the original is estimated to cost upwards of $4000.  Because we are at a standstill, money-wise we cannot continue inside work until we raise $2000.  That would put us at the crucial $10,000 mark to reach our anonymous donor's requested matching point. There are many grants in progress, most of which we will not hear about until early June.  Nevertheless, we move forward with doing as much volunteer work as possible to try to keep the gang moving forward.


Ernest and Arthur are going to the Heir's Property Fair this weekend to try to increase awareness of the Sol Legare area. We have made many great connections with the Center For Heir's Property Preservation, who try to ensure that areas like Sol Legare keep their heritage safe.


Day 29: The porch is framed and has a tin roof! We also "tore" out the original bathrooms today. The ultimate plan is to make the downstairs a unisex, handicapped accessible restroom and the original upstairs storage space will have one as well.


Next step is to prime and caulk the porch and paint the building. At the community meeting we decided to paint the exterior of the building white with light green trim and windows. 


At this point we are about 85% complete and money is the only thing that may hold us back! The community was able to raise $470 in their fundraiser drive which puts us a little closer to our total with the donor!


Days 23-28:


Well, after waiting a week for Oswalt to return to lower the Lodge to its resting place (which did happen on April 30) I went on a mini-vacation to Nebraska.  Eboni and Vance took over blogging and photo duty and did a great job!


Oswalt came to lower the building and everything was adjusted for the new piers to hold the Lodge in place. The guys started the porch and its moving along very smoothly. The outside should be complete in no time at all!


Today, they are felting the the porch to make way for the new metal roof to shade the new porch from the sun. At this point, its 85% complete and plumbing, electrical, and interior work are all that remain! 


Day 22:  Today Mackey and Jimbo laid the pier foundations of cement blocks along the nicely dried cement trenches. Either Thursday or Friday, Oswalt will return to lower the Lodge on its newer, stronger foundation.  I believe the Balliets are coming tomorrow to begin on the plumbing.


Day 21:


Great strides were accomplished in a short time period today. James Brown painted the entire back portion of the Lodge, so the whole building is primed and ready to go, now. The cement was poured and is in the process of setting over the weekend, getting the lodge ready to be placed on its much deserved continuous footer.  Next week should be a good one!


Day 20:


Today was an eventful day and everyone worked very hard! It mainly consisted of digging the trenches and laying the rebar for the footers which we will pour tomorrow.  Word is that the concrete man will be here at 1 pm tomorrow.  After it sets, we will lower the building onto its new continuous footer foundation, attach the plumbing and electrical work, and if all goes well, move onto the porch!  Looks like we are still shooting for a late April/early May completion.


Day 19:


Finally, after what seemed like weeks of waiting, Oswalt was able to fit us into their schedule and today was the day we lifted the Lodge into the air.  These guys are amazing and took their task very seriously! It was a lengthy process, which involved driving 5 I-Beams under the building equal distances from one another. Then five separate hydraulic pumps were placed under each beam and with the click of a button, each extended, lifting the Lodge 6-8 inches. The guys would place wooden railroad ties strategically under each I-Beam, formulating a support system, and then release the pump. After it was sturdy enough, they would replace the hydraulic pumps and start again, lifting another 6-8 inches, switching from front to back, until the building was a level 26" in the air.


Tomorrow will be another big day, where we will dig underneath the Lodge, laying the trenches for the footers!


Great news came today by way of a grant in the amount of $2500.00 from the prestigious Joanna Foundation ( We had filled out the application form and weren't really expecting to receive the money, so the fact that we were awarded such a grant is a tremendous honor. We will be certain to put the funds to get use! 


There is still one other grant that we have yet to hear from, in addition to one that is due to be turned in by April 30.  Its nice that money is finally not one of our biggest concerns in finishing the project in a timely manner!


We are at a bit of a standstill this week - waiting for Oswalt to arrive to lift the lodge.  The threat of rain doesn't seem to help this either, as he will not even contemplate it with a negative forecast. Once the foundation is complete and the lodge is set back down, the end is near!

Community Fishfry/Oyster Fundraiser 3.21.2009

On Saturday the community hosted a fish fry fundraiser/oyster roast. We had a nice turnout, considerng that there were a host of other events going on the same day!  With live music provided by Ermitt "Mr Blues" Williams Review, the day was a success.  The final amount raised was right at $2000 - which if you want to count our anonymous donor's contributions comes to $4000! As always, it was great to get everyone in the neighborhood together to hear their feedback on our progress, as well as their amazing memories of what the Lodge meant to them. Tomorrow, we go back on site full force for a week of transformation, as we are slotted to lift the house and pour the foundation - it should be a great step towards completion.


Day 19:  Today, the guys mainly focused on the completion of the windows. I was in Columbia at the quarterly meeting of the African American Heritage Commission and they are very intrigued by our project and cannot wait for me to send them e-packets of our progress. They hope to be able to guide us and be a part of making the museum portion of our project a huge success! I spoke with Mike on my way back into town and he confirmed that they have the front and two sides completed, window-wise. I cannot wait to see the progress and take pictures for everyone to see! 


Day 18:  Due to much rain and a delay in receiving the windows, we have taken a few days off site. Today, the guys are mainly concerned with preparing the windows and shutters for installation. I have to go to Greenville and then Columbia, so unfortunately, we won't have any pictures documenting this! Mike also spoke with Oswalt house movers and we are pinpointing next week to lift the structure, making room for the foundation to be laid!


Day 17:

Again, we continued the work on the back side of the building, completing the installation of the siding - which we finished today.  Window framing was completed yesterday and the building is taking more and more shape as the days progress! Oswalt came out to take a look to see what the status is for the "lifting" of the building which is due to take place very soon.


Day 16: We are completing the siding today and tomorrow, getting the building ready for the second community build day which is due to occur this Saturday. The guys also worked on the window frames. Everyone is geared up and ready to move and make the Lodge a reality for not only the neighborhood, but the community, too. We are taking Thursday and Friday off as the windows will not be ready until early next week.


Day 15:


Today we concentrated on the back half of the building - which is likely to take up the majority of the week, as it was in the worst shape! The day was spent measuring out the window openings along the first and second floors of the building. ON the second floor, an important addition will be added and that is a landing to accommodate an emergency exit, which is a requirement of modern construction. 


Community Build Day:


The Community came out today to help paint, caulk, and seal the Lodge. There must have been 3 generations of Sol Legare residents, all the way down to Cubby's 7 year old grandson, Isaiah. The ladies and I grilled hotdogs and hamburgers while everyone painted the Lodge.  Richard recruited the JI Highschool basketball team to help out, Logan was there and many other kids - they even started a pickup game of basketball about halfway through!  The Lodge is already serving its purpose before its even done - bringing everyone together as a community. Its finally a reality.





Day 14:


Today was a good day - we finished off the righthand side of the building, which was acutally the least damaged due to it facing away from the direction which most of the wind and rain come from. We got almost done with the roof, but three panels of tin were missing - looks like we will have to get those on Monday. Tomorrow is a build day and Vance will be BBQing burgers and hotdogs while everyone scrapes, caulks and paints the siding which was put up this week. The weather is on our side, and with the clocks going forward tomorrow, we are just moving faster and faster!


Day 13:


Finally, it got warm today and we were able to finish off the remaining siding on the front of the building as well as the righthand side. We were able to save most of the original siding, which is awesome. Tomorrow, we plan to finish the roof and hope to move onto the remaining siding on the rear of the building.  We plan to have a community build day on Saturday and invite the neighborhood out to help caulk, seal, and prime/paint the siding that is already installed.  Overall, we are looking really good for a mid April completion date.


Day 12:


And then there was roof... Today Vance drove up to Summerville to pick up the tin which will serve as the roof - of course it is the likeness of the original roof, which was blown off of the building sometime after the 50's.


When we arrived on site this morning, the roof had ice on it (due to this little cold spell we've had the past few days) so the guys had to wait until the afternoon. In the meantime, they continued re-framing the windows and placing the siding back onto the structure. It is coming right along and looking good!


TOmorrow we will finish the siding and the other side of the roof.  Saturday will be a community workday where we will begin priming and painting the siding!  It shouldn't be long now!


Day 11:

Another absolutely FREEZING day. We are still waiting for the roofing materials, so we really just concentrated on replacing the original siding on the front of the builidng. I was able to find a grant that was a good fit for our cause, however it was due by 5 PM today. I spent most of the day inside trying to complete the requirements, while the guys did their work on the front of the Lodge. Tomorrow is a busy day with Vance picking the tin up for the roof at 8 AM!


Day 10:


A huge winter storm swept through the southeast and today was absurdly freezing. We are going to be pushed back one day, due to the storm - because the tin roof was going to be shipped from the upstate.  So, now we're slotted to do the roof on Wednesday. 


We have picked up the new siding, which was milled to be an exact replica of the original siding. The plan is to have the front side be all of the original siding and then disperse any decent siding remaining at this point throughout the remaining parts of the Lodge.


Mike had to hook the building up to his car to hold it straight while the support beams were removed to make room for siding.  The goal is to have the siding hold the structure straight, once the car is taken away.


Side One of Four was completed today!  We'll continue on siding tomorrow, waiting for the tin's arrival!


Day 9:


Again, more of the same securing the foundation today. Most of the work was going on under the building and I'm starting to think that they like it under there.  I spent the majority of the morning finalizing a grant that Ms. Jackie and I've been working on all week - we got the paperwork in within a timely manner and hopefully we will hear from them sooner rather than later! We are still doing OK on money, but have a lot of very intricate activities scheduled in the next week, which total close to $15,000 - better safe than sorry.


The guys finished the building foundation work today (we still have to do the ground foundation work which the building will sit upon) and had many interludes with brown recluse spiders - so Mike gave Vance a bandana to shield his head from these "beasts".  They kept finding different things under the building and Vance found the time perfect to whip out his trusty old metal detector and see what he could really find. Take a look at the pics, they're great!






Day 8:


We just continued to secure the building and ensure that the weight of the roof and walls don't force it to fall to the sides again. Vance, Mike R, and Mackey climbed underneath and secured each rafter with new pieces of strong wood.   The original foundation was actually a tree trunk!

At the end of the day, Mike still wasn't pleased with the bit of lean the building was resorting to, so he hitched it to his car and towed her straight.  At that point, we secured it with wood planks and she seems to be standing tall and on her own.


We ordered the tin today - and the roof is slotted to be installed on Tuesday! However, the weatherman is calling for snow (?) on Monday, so that of course could throw us a curveball.


Day 7:


Today, we figured out that the original idea for a roofer was not going to work out. After a few calls, we were able to figure out a place that would give us tin at cost and Mike thinks he has a guy downtown that will handcrimp the tin in order to make it look as though it were made in the early 1900's. Mike and JimBo lined the wooden roof with a fiberglass felt that will protect it from the elements until the tin can be put on.


Mr Arthur came over and we cleaned up some of the cement blocks and trash laying around and then he and Vance actually dug up a tree which was growing within one of the sides of the building.  We continued to brace the building's foundation and Vance and Mackey were able to use metal bracing to secure the various pieces of wood along the base - he also was able to dig some out from underneath the building preparing the structure to be lifted as early as next week!


Day 6:

Today, we received the 2x8x20s and 2x8x10s from the Timber Shop and continued to use those to brace the ceiling in between the first and second floor.  The building is becoming more and more stable daily and the finish is in sight! I spent the majority of the afternoon writing a grant application to try to receive money from a Neighborhoods Designed to Win Association. While it appears as though it was not very eventful, today was a great day in securing the original structure of the building.  Tomorrow, we will need to make sure that the roofers are able to line the wooden rood the Mikes built or else we will defeat all the work we've done over the past few days and the wood will become wet and damaged!


Day 5:

The guys finished laying the rafters and wood for the roof today. They are moving at the speed of about three days to every one, which is fantastic. I've ordered some more wood from the Timber Shop so that they can work on the interior floor and ceiling tomorrow. Overall a good day, with a good outcome, just not too much information to report.


At 7:00, Mike R and I met with the committee and everyone was extremely pleased with our work thus far. I have volunteered to write and file a grant in hopes of securing some additional funds for the project. While we are doing alright with the bank, I want to make sure that there is enough in there to complete the project.  Cubby and Ernest are going to pass out flyers to the neighborhood encouraging residents to want to participate in the restoration.


Roofers should be here on Wednesday to hand-crimp the tin roof to the requirements of the original roof.


Day 4:

Today was a great day with many accomplishments. We (well I say we, it was really the guys) put up the rafters for the tin roof, which is slotted to be installed on Monday! Everything is moving so smoothly, under budget and much quicker than we had originally anticipated. Right now, we are scheduled to lift the building in order to pour the foundation on March 6. Mike thinks that if we build the majority of the lodge before-hand, it will be much sturdier for this move.  The community is coming out tomorrow to help clean up; we're taking Sunday off; and Monday, back to business. Have a great weekend!


Day 3:


Today we continued with securing the lodge. Vance is driving to St George tomorrow to pick up the lumber to use as the rafters for the new roof. Things are progressing and the hall is coming along nicely.


Ernest secured the diorama of the Battle of Battery Wagner from Fort Moutrie today - it was the first battle in which African Americans were allowed to take part in, a beatiful replica - make sure to take a look in the pictures on the next page. Its amazing and will serve as the first item in the museum!

At this rate, Mike R thinks we'll be able to have Oswalt come lift the house as soon as March 6th.

More tomorrow to come from Sol Legare.


Day 2:


Today, we continued work on the "skeleton" of the building, bracing it for the restoration. Mike, Mike, Mackey, and Jim Bo did a great job catching their work just before it would have stretched the structure's limit too far. Vance arrived at the site just in time to find some old bottles under the building - some from the Prohibition Era!  The guys dismantled the roof as gently as you'd think one could - Overall the building is standing tall and proud awaiting tomorrow's work. 


Day 1:


Today, we worked on securing the structure of the building by replacing rotten wood with new wood - this may sound like an easy task, but it was very involved. We had a great turnout to help out with the labeling of wood that was removed from the exterior of the building, in order to restore the original exterior.  Vance crawled under the building at one point and said that for the most part, its in pretty good shape.  The guys got very far with their work and it seems as though we can begin working on the footer in a more timely manner.


Fundraiser to Benefit the Restoration of Seashore Farmers' Lodge

On January 31, Trademark Properties, in conjunction with many other businesses has scheduled a fundraiser to benefit the renovation of the Seashore Farmers' Lodge. The restoration will be featured on Trademark's hit reality TV series to be featured on TLC in April of 2009.



In The News...

Best Historic Restoration
The Heart of Sol Legare | Features | Charleston City Paper
JIM article
Gullah Geechee Corridor New Website
Thanksgiving Article
Seashore Farmers Lodge in Charleston, S.C. to Receive Preservation Honor Award
The Very Best in Preservation
Preservation head honored | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment
Honoring those who fought at Battery Wagner | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment
Preserving area's civil rights sites | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment
Interesting events by our friends at The Smithsonian
Grand opening
A day in the sun, Joel Flores
Depiction of local Civil War battle finds new home at restored lodge | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment
Sol Legare resident selected as 2010 Diversity Scholar | The Folly Current
Keeping the memory alive - Local / Metro -
Sol Legare community restores history | The Folly Current
The Post and Courier - Restored, reopened - Charleston SC -
The Post and Courier - Massachusetts 54th - Charleston SC -
Man on personal quest sleeps in slave cabins | WCBD
The Post and Courier - Project seeks to save slave cabins - Charleston SC -
Do you know Ernest L Parks?
Folly Current's Account of MLK Day Parade
MLK Day Post and Courier
Folly Current - September 18, 2009
Post and Courier Article, September 17, 2009
Do you know Corinne ‘Corie' Hipp? The Post and Courier - Charleston SC newspaper
ABC News' Ryan Nelson's follow-up Story on The Seashore Farmers' Lodge 767 at Sol Legare
Post and Courier Article, July 2006
Post and Courier Article, July 2008
National Register Nomination
ABC WCIV News' Ryan Nelson's Coverage
"Count On 2" Coverage
Post and Courier Article, February 2009


6/17/2010 1:38:20 PM - 001024911195
THank goodness, we received a grant from The NEW Fund to aid us in the presentation of the museum - July 16 is the soft opening!
1/14/2010 9:08:20 PM - 001024911195
The Post and Courier just announced that we are a recipient of one of their esteemed grants - $1000 towards our renovation!
2/19/2009 1:11:11 AM - 001024911195
Today, we received fantastic support in the way of an anonymous donor who will match every dollar we raise, up to $10,000.00. Please contact us to see how you can help with the restoration!


Seashore Farmers' Lodge Episode 2 of 2
Check out when Sol Legare was featured on hit reality TV show, The Real Deal!
Seashore Farmers' Lodge Episode 1 of 2
Check out when Sol Legare was featured on hit reality TV show, The Real Deal!

ABC News - Sol Legare
Ryan Nelson interviews the Seashore Farmers' Lodge Museum restoration committee on her return visit to the site.

seashore farmers lodge received award in buffalo
The Seashore Farmers' Lodge receives award in Buffalo NY

Restoration of Seashore Farmers' Lodge
Sol Legare Seashore Farmers' Lodge 767 restoration initiative is an ongoing project with the final goal being to commemorate an integral piece of American history. The Lodge, located on a small 800 + acre island near Folly Beach is steeped in American history and is the site where the famed Massachusetts 54th Regiment camped the night before their first battle. This video is a tribute to the restoration of the Lodge spanning a course of 24 months. For More Information, please email us at

Sol Legare - Seashore Farmers' Lodge 767 News footage
--Lowcountry Live Segment Featuring Ernest Parks of Concerned Citizens of Sol Legare and Corie Hipp of Trademark Properties


Thank you to all of our sponsors!


Concerned Citizens of Sol Legare

Trademark Properties

Construction Consultants

Waste Services

Beachside Bed and Breakfast

Folly Beach Red Dot

The Charleston Crab House

The Kickin' Chicken

Tony Marra Designs

Charming Inns

Governor's House Inn

Piggly Wiggly

Super BiLo

Raih Ice

Hawthorn Suites, Greenville

Irvin House Vineyards

Pearlstine Distributors

Builder's First Source

R&D Stamp and Sign

Rosebank Farms

Ambrose Family Farms

Fairfield Inn, Myrtle Beach

Crosby's Seafood Company

The Timber Shop

Santi's Mexican Restaurant

The Crab Shack, Folly Beach










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4/23/2014 3:09:06 PM