Port Royal Historic Walking Tour – Description of Stop
The Tour is written so that it begins at the corner of Paris Ave and 10th Street, but you can start anywhere along the tour. Below is a map of the Town for reference. Please scroll below it to find the beginning of the Tour.
Carpenter’s Hall – 933 Paris Avenue
This commercial building was built in 1880 and originally was located at the corner of 7th Street and Paris Avenue. In 1996 it was moved to it’s current location. Originally it was a General Store, but since that time it has been used as Town Hall, a temporary school, housing for social events and by the Ground Observers Corp during World War II. The Carpenter’s Union acquired the property in 1947 and occupied it until 1963.
709 Paris Avenue
This Folk style commercial building was built in 1880. It has a front facing gable V-crimped metal roof and board & batten siding. The facade has a central entrance flanked by double hung windows and a shed roof awning with a V-crimped metal roof, vertical board siding at gable ends, and sawtooth board trim. Originally this building was one of two similar-size buildings connected by a breezeway. It was used as a grocery store and the other as a dwelling. The dwelling portion was separated around 1920 and later demolished.
Town Hall – 700 Paris Avenue
This is the current of many Town Halls that have served Port Royal over the years. During the week, the building is open between the hours of 8:30 to 5:00. There are public restrooms located inside and free WI-FI service is available here. Please feel free to stop in if you have any questions regarding the Town.
Appleton/Metcalf Store – 703 Paris Ave
Built by the Appleton family as a residence in 1866, this now commercial building has a front facing gable roof with pedimented gable ends and round arched louvered vents. The store front has 3 oversized windows above a paneled bulkhead along with a continuous bracketed cornice. It has served many purposes including a general store, a boarding house, a meat market, warehouse and a theater. Today, it is more fondly remembered as the Metcalf store or more simply “The Met” when it was used as a theater.
The Customs House – 610 Paris Avenue
Original building of brick was constructed for use as a Customs House around 1838. Robert Smalls worked out of this location when he was appointed U.S. Collector of Customs (See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Smalls). By 1890 it contained a bakery and then it became the headquarters for The Palmetto Post newspaper now known as the Beaufort Gazette. In the 1940′s it was used as a Masonic Lodge and later as a tavern. Notice the bolts in the sides of the building. Their purpose is to hold the building together in case of an earthquake. In 2005 it was renovated and restored to it’s original brick.
The Port of Port Royal – End of Paris Ave
This area at the end of Paris Ave, is the Port of Port Royal. Closed by the SC State Ports Authority in 2003, it is the site of a planned Commercial & Residential redevelopment effort. The history of the Town of Port Royal, The Port, The Railroads and Military are tied very closely together through the years. The need for a shipping port in this area to transport items such as cotton, indigo, lumber and phosphate brought the railroads which purchased land in order to lay rails and build the required docks. They also purchased much of the surrounding land, laid out streets and plots of land and created the Town of Port Royal.
The Sands – End of Sands Beach Road
The Sands provide public access to the waters surrounding Port Royal. There is a small beach area, a Public Boat Ramp maintained by Beaufort County and a public boardwalk which extends over the waters of Battery Creek. At the boardwalk, there is an observation tower than can be climbed which provides panoramic views over the surrounding waters, marshes and Parris Island. Quite often you’ll find Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins feeding in the waters here.
F.W. Scheper Sr. House – 906 8th Street
This home was originally built in 1900 by F. W. Scheper Sr. and then left to his son F. W. Scheper Jr. It is of the Folk style with a front facing gable roof and weatherboard siding. The roof has a historic ridge vent, an interior brick chimney and boxed cornice w/returns. At one time it was a two-unit apartment and then it reverted back to a single-family dwelling which was the Dockmaster ‘s home. In 1998, a new generation of Schepers purchased and renovated the home.
Scheper’s Store – 918 8th Street
Known as the Scheper store, this building was built in 1885 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. This rectangular 2 story frame building has a whipped roof which retains two historic ventilators at its ridge and a boxed cornice. The storefront extends across the front facade and wraps to the side. It has a splayed recessed central entrance flanked by storefront windows and a projecting cornice with bracketed eaves that extends across the storefront. Scheper moved from Germany to Charleston in 1868 and, in partnership with Jonathan D. Manett, operated a successful mercantile business. They established a store in Port Royal in the late 1800s. That building burned in 1883 and the present store was build about the time Scheper bought out his partner’s heirs in 1885. The store originally provided provisions to ships that docked in Port Royal Harbor and sold groceries, grain and hay to local residents.
The Eichberg House – 931 9th Street
Built for Alfred S. Eichberg a prominent and famous architect from Atlanta and Savannah in 1891. This house is of the style Folk/I-house with a lateral gable roof and shiplap siding. Insurance maps from 1905 to 1924 show that this house once had a two-story porch that ran across the entire façade. Note the raised panel front door flanked by transom and sidelites.
The Appleton House – 923 9th Street
Built by Mr. Appleton in 1873, this is the oldest house in town. It is a good example of “balloon” construction; there are no weight bearing interior walls nor a central ridge beam in the roof. Roof rafters rest opposing each other at their peak and rest on a 12” x 12” sill which tops each wall.
906 9th Street
Built around 1915, this Shotgun-style 1-story house has shiplap siding along with a front-facing gable roof covered in corrugated metal with boxed cornice and returns. The facade has a single entrance and a full porch with posts and apron wall which is covered by a shed roof. This house is typical for the era as a residence of a common worker.
The E.A. Scheper House – 917 9th Street
Built in 1885 by J.C. Mardenlon who came to Port Royal to mine phosphate. This Folk style house has a front facing gable roof, weatherboard siding and a full facade two story porch with hipped roof which retains chamfered posts and slat balustrade. The entrance has transom and sidelite windows. The magnolia trees in the yard were taken from the grounds of the U.S. Naval Hospital and planted here in the 1930’s.
904 9th Street
This Shotgun-style 1-story house, built around 1910, has a front-facing gable roof covered in corrugated metal with boxed cornice and returns. Facade has a single entrance and a full porch with posts and railing which is covered by a shed roof. This house is typical for the era as a residence of a common worker.
The Port Royal Buoy – London Ave & 9th Street
On or about April 20, 1970, this buoy broke from its mooring in Port Royal Sound and traveled 6,000 miles to Scotland.
One year and one day later it was observed off the coast of Scotland and towed by a British ship to port. The buoy was returned to Charleston in late 1973 at a cost of $92.00. The buoy was returned to Port Royal by the Port Royal Clay Company.
In June 1992, the buoy was placed in the Fraternal Order of Police Memorial Park on London Ave, where its light is kept burning in commemoration of all fallen police officers in the United States.
The Harter Houses – 903 & 909 London Avenue
Both these Folk style homes were built in 1920 and are known as the “Harter Houses”. These houses were originally identical with front facing gable roofs, weatherboard siding and two story porches with chamfered posts and slat balustrade railings. The only difference between them is 903 has a shed roof and 909 has a hipped roof over the porch. Py Harter, a former Mayor of Port Royal and other natives have lived here over the years.
1003 London Avenue
This house, built in 1895, features weatherboard siding with lateral gable, a raised-seam metal roof and porch with chamfered post covered by a shed roof. According to the current owner, the addition in the back was the summer kitchen, which later was moved closer and joined to the main structure.
Tea House – 816 11th Street
Built by H. R. Walker, of Augusta, Georgia on two lots he purchased from the Port Royal Company in 1900 for $237.25. He sold this Victorian home in 1914 for $500 to Mr. Caleb Emerick. In 1926 Mr. Emerick lost it to the unpaid mortgage of $300 and in 1928 it was sold at a public tax auction to Thomas Calhoun for $40. Past and current residents and visitors have claimed to witness several ghosts, the most prominent of which is a little girl. Recently it housed a “Tea House”.
Gullah Monument – Richmond Avenue & 11th Street
The Gullah Monument here symbolizes the contribution of the Africans who were brought to this area to work in rice, indigo and cotton fields. The inscription reads, “Dedicated to those who were taken from the Motherland. Know the teachings. Respect the elders. Keep the unity. Maintain the faith.”
Art Deco House – 1206 Richmond Avenue
This two-story block dwelling built in 1952 features a large portico with carving around the door frame. Note how vertical it feels in comparison to the other homes in Town. One of the only Art Deco structures in Port Royal, it served as a residence for Mayor Ritter who held office for over 40 years.
Duck Blinds – Richmond Avenue and 12th Street
Duck Blinds is a recent development centered on a egret rookery. As you pass by, keep a lookout for herons, egrets and other water foul and wildlife.
Cypress Wetlands – 14th St between Richmond and London Avenues
At The Lower Cypress Wetlands, venture down the boardwalk for a look at a cypress swamp. Knobs emerge from water dark with tannic acids. Cypress wood was a popular building material in historic times because it was highly resistant to insects and rot.
Live Oak Park/Oyster Shed – London Avenue & 14th Street
Many Town and social events are held here in Live Oak Park and Family Activity Park. The Helen Foster Oyster Shed, a public area for roasting oysters is also located here. Oyster Roasts are a popular form of entertainment on the South Carolina coast. Shells from the processing of millions of bushels of oysters lie at the base of many of the causeways you drive over between the islands and peninsulas of this area.
Port Royal Elementary School – 1214 Paris Avenue
Port Royal Elementary School, built in 1911, began as a two-story brick building housing six grades in two rooms with a library consisting of 3 bookcases. It was heated by a pot belly stove and its three feet thick walls were built to withstand hurricane force winds. It had a fountain in the hall along with a sink and faucet on the back porch. The bathrooms, were outside on separate ends of the building. This is the oldest active school in Beaufort County and the third oldest school in South Carolina still in continuous operation. It is considered one of the last true neighborhood schools in South Carolina.
In March of 2014, the School was accepted on to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Jernigan House – 1203 Paris Avenue
Built in 1887 by Jules Jernigan, who moved from Georgia to Port Royal as an engineer on the Port Royal Rail Road. It is a Folk style house with lateral gable roof and round arched louvered attic vents. The 1 story gable porch has chamfered posts and slat balusters while the front entrance has transom & sidelights and retains historic door with 2 arched lights over 2 panels. The initials “J. J. Jernigan” are found on all door casings. The house is referred to locally as “The Safe House” after 43 Port Royal residents took refuge here during a hurricane in 1940.
1115 14th Street
This rectangular 2 story frame dwelling, built in 1910 has a raised seam metal, lateral gable roof. The shed roof porch only extends across the entrance bay which has a central door with transom and sidelights, flanked by single 6-over-6 windows. In the rear-center of the house, there was a separate 1 story kitchen building that is now attached by infill.
Friends of Caroline Hospice – 1110 13th Street
This Folk style L shaped house from 1900 is now the headquarters of The Friends of Caroline Hospice. It has a cross gable raised seam metal roof with rear L wings at the sides. The front facade has a full porch with chamfered posts, slat balustrade & sawn brackets covered by a hip roof.
Edmunds Boarding House – 1102 11th Street
Built in 1895 and known as Edmunds Boarding House; more recently called Kirkland’s Boarding House. It served as a boarding house for railroad workers. Made of weatherboard with raised seam metal hipped roof, turned posts and gingerbread. The facade has a central entrance with transom & sidelights flanked by two double hung windows. The original entrance door has two arched lights over 2 raised panels. Windows stretching from the ground to the ceiling captured cool breezes on hot days. Interior is claimed to be original. The ghost of Kate Kirkland is said to visit this building on occasion.
Shrimp Docks/Blue Channel Corp. – End of 11th Street
This area was the site of the Blue Channel Corporation, one of the major blue crab canneries in the United States. The company started operations on Lady’s Island in 1938 and moved its business to Port Royal around 1940. During the early days, fisherman caught crabs on trot lines. The invention of crab pots in the 1950s allowed the factory to grow. The site is currently used as a seafood dock and processing house, retail fish market and a restaurant. Port Royal operates the only Public Shrimp Dock in the State. Always ask for local shrimp when eating out.
The Union Church – 1004 11th Street
The Union Church of Port Royal was completed in 1878 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The church is sited on a lot donated by David F. Appleton and its cost was about $1000 to build. The church, originally named The Free Church of Port Royal, is an example of rural, late Victorian church architecture with occasional Italianate details. It is a one-story wood frame building with a central entry and portico, as well as a cupola containing the church’s belfry with a vented lantern and fluted metal roof. The windows which are original, are nine-over-six, single-hung, weighted sash with stilted arch surrounds and keystones on both the interior and exterior The painted standing seam roof is original to the building along with the heart of pine floors. The Historic Port Royal Foundation currently uses it as their headquarters and has a Museum located inside. Tours of the building along with access to the Museum are available Tuesday through Friday from 10:00am to 3:00pm.
1103 Paris Ave
This house, built in 1920 is a Folk style house with a front gable roof line covered in raised seam metal. It features a full facade 2-story engaged porch w/chamfered posts & slat balustrade. There is also a hipped porch across the full side with chamfered posts. The symmetry of the front indicates the porch once had a 2nd tier or other access.
The anchor here in Mariner’s Park on Paris Ave was recovered off the entrance to Port Royal Sound and is believed to be from circa 1850. This park was dedicated in 1976 to all seafarer’s past and present. The plaque by the anchor reads:
Old Fashioned Anchor
Found At A Point 14 Miles Off Fripp Island, SC
At A Depth Of 50 Feet
Recovered In 1974 By The Shrimping Trawler
“Bobby’s Young N” Of Port Royal, SC
And Loaned To The Town By Her Captain,
June 19, 1976
Cypress Wetlands Overlook – Richmond Ave
This short boardwalk located on Richmond Ave between 17th St and the YMCA allows you to venture out for a closer look at the wildlife in the Cypress Wetlands. There is a free telescopic viewer located here which will allow you a close-up view of the birds and wildlife. Please be quiet and respect the birds, especially in the late spring and early summer when they are nesting.
Cypress Wetlands Amphitheater – Paris Ave
Take a break here at the Cypress Wetlands Amphitheater and enjoy the distant view of the roosting and nesting birds. You can also stop in and grab a bite to eat at one of the near by restaurants. Pubic restrooms are located next door in the recently renovated Port Royal Police Department building. When you are ready to continue, follow the trail to either your right or left which is a 6/10 of a mile loop around the Wetlands. Along the way, there are interpretive signs which will describe the floral, fauna and wildlife you can see. Part of the path extends out along the Wetlands which will allow you a close up view of the birds, turtles and other wildlife. You might even get a glimpse of an alligator.
Please stay on the path and respect the rules which are posted.
This completes the walking tour.
We hope you have enjoyed visiting Port Royal. Thank you and come back soon!