Ports Authority donating $104K to Chapel of Ease preservation

The blue box indicates the Chapel of Ease site. (Source: SCPA)
The blue box indicates the Chapel of Ease site. (Source: SCPA)

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The South Carolina Ports Authority is donating $104,000 in funding to help reserve a historic site in Berkeley Count, the St. James Goose Creek Chapel of Ease.

The donation comes as part of the $2 million donated to the protection of historically significant properties, which is part of the port's $12-million mitigation program for the new container terminal on the former Charleston Navy Base.

Already, $1 million has been dedicated to the conservation of Morris Island.

An additional $1 million was pledged to protecting property within the East Cooper watershed.

Working with the Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust, the Ports Authority is closing on several properties, including the Chapel of Ease site.

Over its storied history, the 22-acre Chapel of Ease site has been host to a number of important events.

The location was a site of a battle during the Yemassee War in 1715, then later, after a brick cruciform chapel was constructed, home to a convenient site for worship by early traders and colonists.

That building burned down during the Revolutionary War and Bethlehem Baptist Church was built near it on the grounds and was moved to its final destination around the 1880s. The graves that are still there, as are the archaeological ruins from the Battle and churches that stood there.

The site includes 16 acres of rare, freshwater wetlands vital for water quality and as a habitat for fish and wildlife. These wetlands, in their natural state, will now be permanently protected.

The donation will be handed over to Goose Creek Mayor Michael Heitzler just before noon Wednesday.

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