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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

December 23, 2014Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve Friday tours from Jan. 16-Feb. 6

Archaeological excavations and tabby restoration are taking place at Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve, a three-acre preserve in Beaufort County owned and managed by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The public is invited to visit the preserve on Fridays from Jan. 16 – Feb. 6, 2015 for free guided tours. Two tours will be offered each Friday begin at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Please call Meg Gaillard, DNR Heritage Trust archaeologist at (803) 734-0658 to schedule groups of 20 or more. Visitors to the preserve will learn about the history of Fort Frederick, how to make tabby, and what the archaeologists are discovering.Fort Frederick

Fort Frederick was built by the British colonial government to protect approaches to Beaufort Towne from the Atlantic Ocean by way of Port Royal Sound and the Beaufort River. The fort was completed in 1734, and abandoned by 1757 for Fort Lyttelton.

In 1785, the fort and its surrounding lands were sold to Captain John Joyner and became known as Smith’s Plantation. By 1860, the history of the fort is assumed to have been forgotten as people called the fort Old Spanish Fort or Smith’s Fort.

The fort was occupied by Union forces following the Battle of Port Royal in November 1861, and became the headquarters for the African-American 1st South Carolina Regiment of Volunteers, after which the site was renamed Camp Saxton for General Rufus Saxton.

In 1863, the fort and its surrounding plantation land were sold by the U.S. government for non-payment of taxes. The amount owed on the Old Fort plantation was $93.40. The U.S. government purchased the property for $1,000.

In 1949, part of the site was developed as a U.S. Naval Hospital, which is still located next to the preserve.

Fort Frederick was nominated and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
The preserve was acquired in 1997 by the DNR with funds from the Heritage Land Trust Fund and by donations from the National Park Service’s Federal Land to Parks program.

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