Lowndes Grove: Then and Now….

Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey, C.O. Greene, Photographer April 12, 1940
 (Kathryn Wagner)
Lowdenes Grove, November 2011.

“John Gibbes built a house and garden with greenhouses on The Grove before the Revolutionary War.[2] The house was probably located near Indian Hill on the Citadel campus. It was likely burned by British troops in 1779,[7] but the gardens remained. Around 1786, heirs of the Gibbes family divided the land into smaller tracts, and three of the northernmost parcels were acquired by George Abbot Hall. Since the 1791 inventory of Hall’s estate mentioned a house, it is assumed that the house was built around 1786.[3] The next owners were the Beaufain brothers of the West Indies who operated a small faming operation on the site. They sold the house, which they had named Wedderburn Lodge, to Mary Clodner Vesey. She, in turn, in 1803, sold the property to William Lowndes, who was elected to the U.S. Congress. He served in Congress until he resigned due to poor health in 1822.[3]

After several owners, a Charleston businessman, Frederick W. Wagener, acquired the house. He was the president and one of the chief promoters of the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition, which was held in 1901–1902. The exposition was held on his 250 acres (100 ha). The Lowndes Grove house was used as the Woman’s Building[3][8][9]” Wikipedia.

The swamps of the Francis Beidler Forest

 (Kathryn Wagner) (Kathryn Wagner)

“The Francis Beidler Forest is an Audubon wildlife sanctuary in Four Holes Swamp,blackwater creek system in South Carolina. It consists of over 16,000 acres (65 km²) of mainly bald cypress/tupelo gum swamp with approximately 1,800 acres (7 km2) of old-growth forest. It has an environmental education center and a 1.75-mile (2.82 km) boardwalk trail through the old-growth portion of the swamp. A free iPhone/iPod Touch app can be downloaded to provide information and images not available in the printed guidebook as well as species lists for plants and animals likely to be seen from the boardwalk. It is a favorite haunt of birdwatchers and is used for biological research projects by area schools. The Audubon Society which maintains the preserve has recently obtained funding with which to purchase additional adjacent land to expand the preserve. It is home to the largest virgin stand of cypress and tupelo forest, with some trees over 1,000 years old.” – Wikipedia

Charleston’s Gateway Walk: the Unitarian Churchyard

 (Kathryn Wagner)

A brick path winds between beds of wildflowers in Charleston’s Unitarian Universalist Churchyard, a part of the historic Gateway Walk.

As a professional travel photographer discovering hidden gems such as the Garden Club of Charleston’s Gateway Walk are a favorite part of the job. This peaceful, gorgeous meander takes one through several churchyards, and several hundred years of history in South Carolina. “While Charleston cannot boast as many oak-ringed parks as Savannah, the four-block Gateway Walk is just as beautiful, with a series of interconnected and semihidden gardens. The walk is lined with moss-laden oaks and takes you past the city’s most historically significant churches.” – 36 Hours in Charleston, The New York Times. This is the first in a series of garden images capturing this beautiful stroll. A guide to enjoying the walk firsthand is below, courtesy of The Garden Club of Charleston.

Pirates in the park?

 (Kathryn Wagner)

“In the course of five weeks, [in the Autumn of 1718] forty-nine pirates had swung from the gallows at White Point. Within a couple months, pirate Richard Worley and nineteen of his men met the same fate. While the leaves of White Point Gardens’ oaks calmly sway in the ocean breeze, their roots are feeding on the blood of pirates.” – Southern Spirit Guide


Knock, Knock – Charleston’s ornate front doors

 (Kathryn Wagner)

A historic home in Charleston, South Carolina displays an ornate door knocker on it’s front door. These functional ornaments are an interesting addition to the historic district streetscape.

“During the superstitious Middle Ages, door knockers took on gruesome faces, such as gargoyles, dogs and lions, to ward off evil spirits from entering the home.””Door knockers are pervasive throughout history in every culture. The doors of the Cizre-Great Mosque in Anatolia, Turkey, built in 1160, hold two dragon bronze knockers. Ancient Italians hung Medusa heads. English doors sported snarling lions.” -Ehow.

Rambling along Virginia’s Route 6

 (Kathryn Wagner)

The sun filters through an overgrown field along Virginia’s Route 6.

If there ever were a highway that held a special place in my visual heart it would be Virginia’s Route 6. Stretching along the James River from the Blue Ridge to Richmond, it was the scenic route most often taken to and fro, from college in Richmond to home in Charlottesville. I have always been fascinated by this stretch of highway, for in many ways it has remained the same as it was when the town of Columbia was a strategic outpost during the Revolutionary War. Stretching through much of the state and many historic towns in Virginia, Route 6 is a premium choice for a weekend drive.  View a map of this intriguing highway, and go for a ride!

Dusk on the Ashley River

 (Kathryn Wagner)

Dusk provides a vivid palette of colors over the scenic Ashley River, named for Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury.

“The Ashley River is perhaps unparalleled in its unique combination of historical significance and natural resource value as a relatively undisturbed tidal ecosystem. The Ashley River area contains 26 separate sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Ashley River is a tidal river. Its character changes with each hour of the day as the saltwater flows in and out of Charleston Harbor. This creates a dynamic ecosystem where saltwater and freshwater organisms reside within a few miles of each other. Wildlife and vegetation patterns shift longitudinally reflecting the influence of the saltwater wedge.” South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Fact sheet on the Ashley River (PDF) Brochure on the Ashley River (PDF – file size 2M) Maps of Ashley River and 2010 Water Quality Impairments (PDF)

Sunset over the Ravenel bridge

 (Kathryn Wagner)

The sun sets over the Cooper river and the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge in Charleston, South Carolina.

“The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, also known as the New Cooper River Bridge, is a cable-stayed bridge over theCooper River in South Carolina, connecting downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant. The eight lane bridge satisfied the capacity of U.S. Route 17 when it opened in 2005 to replace two obsolete cantilever truss bridges. The bridge has a main span of 1,546 feet (471 m), the second longest among cable-stayed bridges in the Western Hemisphere. It was built using the design-build method and was designed by Parsons Brinckerhoff.” -Wikipedia

Home every year to the Cooper River Bridge Run, and a lifeline for many in the Lowcountry, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge is a great illustration of how transportation in Charleston has evolved over the past century. The bridge has even been featured on television. Originally dubbed the John P. Grace Memorial Bridge for former Charleston mayor John P. Grace, the original span was 2.7 miles long and warranted a review by the Mayor and a three day party upon opening in 1929. Crossing the Cooper has not only been important for motorists and annual bridge runners; but also for those looking for a challenging workout involving an incline – sometimes hard to come by while living at sea level. The Ravenel bridge is able to provide just that, with a running/cycling lane walled off from regular traffic. Talk about a workout with a view!

 (Kathryn Wagner)

The John P. Grace Memorial Bridge on opening day, August 8, 1929. Via Wikipedia.