Interview by Valerie Perry of Arthur Lawrence who lives in Charleston's West Side. Mr. Lawrence reminisces about growing up on the West Side when it was primarily an African-American community. He recalls day-to-day life in the West Side, referring to businesses, grocery and corner stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and hotels/boarding houses. He also talks about the changes to both Charleston and the West Side community and reflects on gentrification, segregation, integration, housing, and heirs' rights, about the roles of hotels for African-American visitors during segregation. Mr. Lawrence, who was president of the neighborhood association for 20 years, worked with Mayor Riley and the Chief of Police on efforts to improve the community. He discusses the efforts and its successes. He also touches upon the importance of the church in the community. Grants from both the South Carolina Humanities Commission and the Employees Community Fund of Boeing allowed HCF to proceed with this initiative and several oral history interviews have been conducted that focus on specific neighborhoods and the changes these residents have experienced over time.
Interview by Katherine Pemberton of Daisy Prince Walsh, long time resident of West Ashley. Mrs. Walsh reminisces about her childhood and also about life in Charleston before, during, and after World II. She was one of nine children. Her mother's family owned Cameron & Barkley and a metal factory. The family lived on St. Philip, Coming, and Pinckney Streets, and later in Garden Hill, an extension off of Rutledge Avenue. Mrs. Walsh recalls her day-to-day life when the family lived downtown: going to school, going shopping, going to Folly Beach, etc. She talks about shopping on King Street and recalls various shops, department and grocery stores, movie theaters, etc., recalling how King Street seemed to be racially based on being above or below Calhoun Street. She also mentions driving on the Old Cooper River Bridge and the origins of the Knights of Columbus Thanksgiving Day Race (now known as the Turkey Day Race). She also recalls life during World War II including rationing, "blackouts," and being afraid. She talks about meeting her husband. After they got married, she and her husband, who was in the Navy, lived in Buffalo for a time but then moved back to Charleston. In 1957, moved to a house on Yeamans Road in Byrnes Down in West Ashley, a neighborhood that had been developed in the 1940s as housing for Charleston Navy Yard workers during World War II. As her family grew, they moved to a second house on Yeamans Road. (She and her husband had eight children.) Then in 1965, they moved to a fairly new neighborhood in West Ashley where she still lives. She recalls life in West Ashley and the changes she has seen there, from the 1950s when it was mostly farmland and how it developed over the years as more and more people moved to the suburbs, including Harrison Acres, Lenevar, North Bridge, and Byrnes Down. She has witnessed many changes in Charleston during her lifetime: how it began as a "small town" and now after so many people from Charleston have left and after so many newcomers have arrived, commenting especially on the traffic. Grants from both the South Carolina Humanities Commission and the Employees Community Fund of Boeing allowed HCF to proceed with this initiative and several oral history interviews have been conducted that focus on specific neighborhoods and the changes these residents have experienced over time.
Interview by April Wood of Erica and Dan Lesesne who purchased their home on Warren Street in 1989 from Historic Charleston Foundation through its Home Ownership Program (revolving fund). They are now some of the longest-term residents in the neighborhood in Radciffborough. The Lesesnes talk about the changes they have observed in the neighborhood including the demographics. For example, there had been many more older families who lived in there but they have moved out, and also are fewer African-American families than there used to be. They also describe the neighborhood as eclectic, which appealed to them. They discuss their experience purchasing the house from HCF and how they appreciate that it is protected by a covenant. They reminisce about Charleston architect Randolph Martz and also about Robert Ballard, who was the president of the neighborhood association and very involved in civic affairs. The Lesesnes also discuss their backgrounds. Mrs. Lesesne was an English teacher at Porter Gaud and an acting teacher. They also talk about spearheading an effort to preserve the family cemetery on Daniel Island. Grants from both the South Carolina Humanities Commission and the Employees Community Fund of Boeing allowed HCF to proceed with this initiative and several oral history interviews have been conducted that focus on specific neighborhoods and the changes these residents have experienced over time.
Interview of Jane P. de Butts (formerly known as Jane Hanahan), a direct descendant of General Pinckney and niece of Josephine Pinckney. In this interview, she discusses her and her first husband's families and the circumstances of their move from Richmond to 43 East Bay, where they lived and raised a family. She speaks about her daily life at 43 East Bay Street and Charleston in general: raising a family, socializing, recreation including summers at the Isle of Palms, Hurricane Hugo, and her association with Historic Charleston Foundation as a trustee and later as its first woman President. She discusses memorable HCF efforts such as the purchase and restoration of the Missroon House, acquisition of McLeod Plantation, and the Revolving Fund, and comments on how Charleston has changed over the years, specifically the changes brought on by tourism. She also speaks about each of her now grown children, one of whom (Anne), now lives in the George Summers House with her family.
Interview with Herbert A. DeCosta, Jr., former trustee, about Historic Charleston Foundation, historic preservation in Charleston, and life in Charleston throughout the years. Mr. DeCosta discusses growing up in Charleston in the 1920s and 1930s and his role in the city's preservation movement. He recalls childhood memories of living on Smith Street and on Sullivan's Island and his school days, including his attendance at the Avery Normal Institute. DeCosta's grandfather founded DeCosta construction in the 1890s, and Herbert speaks about the many historic properties in Charleston the company restored during his time as head of the company, including work completed for Historic Charleston Foundation's Revolving Fund. He goes on to discuss his family's ancestry and his involvement in St. Mark's Church and the Brown Fellowship Society. Interviewed by Kitty Robinson at the Missroon House on June 24, 2003.
Interview with Emily Whaley Whipple, long time Charleston resident living on the lower peninsula in the South of Broad neighborhood. Whipple recalls growing up South of Broad at 58 Church and the change that took place over the past 75 years. She discusses her parents and their involvement in Charleston, both in city issues and the social scene. Her father, Ben Scott Whaley, was an attorney for the County Council, President of the South Carolina Bar Association, served in the South Carolina legislature, and was a charter member of Historic Charleston Foundation and its President for 13 years. Her mother was the chairwoman of a large annual church event and she started a dancing school with a family friend that met in Hibernian Hall and eventually the school was turned over to Whipple. She paints a beautiful picture of what it was like to play in the neighborhood, go to Charleston Day School, be one of three sisters, come home for 2 p.m. dinner, summer on Isle of Palms, vacation in Flat Rock, and spend weekends out on family plantations. Whipple provides commentary on Historic Charleston Foundation's home and garden tours. She mentions all of the people who were employed by her family and where they lived. Whipple also talks about various natural disasters that hit Charleston and how the city has changed to become much nicer looking but says that does mean that the city has not always been beautiful. She remarks, "Charleston is like a well-tended and cherished garden. That is what the city of Charleston is like. Certainly there are some plants that need to be pulled up or changed or rooted. But we love it. I'm so proud of the next generation and what they are doing to keep it this way. My mother always said that Charleston's adornment were its children, because we were all over the street." Interview conducted by Anne Blessing in Mrs. Blessing's home, on July 18, 2017. Recorded as part of HCF's "Changing Neighborhoods" series, made possible by a grant from the SC Humanities Commission.
Interview by Katherine Pemberton of Yvonne Evans who was born in New York but her family quickly moved back to her father's hometown of Charleston when she was a baby. Mrs. Evans has lived her entire life in the Harleston Village neighborhood of the city, growing up on Queen Street, attending the Cathedral School, Bishop England High School and then the College of Charleston. She talks about her childhood, shopping on King Street, and biking everywhere. After marrying and starting a family, Mrs. Evans returned to the College of Charleston for a degree in Business Administration. She became active in a local "Town and Gown" committee designed to improve relations between the campus and the adjoining neighborhood of Harleston Village. This spurred her to run for Charleston City Council where she represented District 8 for 20 years, serving from 1999-2009. During her time on city council, she worked on issues related to tourism, the arts, and city planning initiatives. Grants from both the South Carolina Humanities Commission and the Employees Community Fund of Boeing allowed HCF to proceed with this initiative and several oral history interviews have been conducted that focus on specific neighborhoods and the changes these residents have experienced over time.
Interview by April Wood of Joyce Howard, a woman who grew up in the North Central neighborhood of Charleston. The interview focuses on Ms. Howard's experiences growing up in the neighborhood, what her childhood house and neighborhood were like (and how it has changed), where she was allowed to shop and go to as a young woman. She talks about having been recruited for college, her experiences during the Civil Rights era in Charleston and in Alabama where she went to college, and also voting and registering to vote, including how people had to pass a literacy test. She recalls times when Black entertainers who come to perform in Charleston and where they'd be able to stay, and going to Atlantic Beach (near Myrtle Beach) because Charleston area beaches were segregated. (She mentions Mosquito Beach but not as a "water beach" but one with clubs and houses.) She also reflects on the shootings at Emanuel A.M.E. Church and the impact the City on the nation impressed by the local response and as an impetus for many people to move here. Ms. Howard is a long-term member and leader of New Israel Reformed Episcopal Church. Grants from both the South Carolina Humanities Commission and the Employees Community Fund of Boeing allowed HCF to proceed with this initiative and several oral history interviews have been conducted that focus on specific neighborhoods and the changes these residents have experienced over time.