Fort Fremont Site Protected (SC)

November 9, 2004
South Carolina

Beaufort County, 11/9/2004: The Trust for Public Land acquired and conveyed to Beaufort County two tracts of land totaling 14.2 acres in the Lands End section of St. Helena's Island. The property includes the remains of the Spanish American War Fort, Fort Fremont, and approximately 630 linear feet of beach adjacent to Port Royal Sound.

The land is covered in marine forest in addition to the remains of Fort Fremont, constructed in the late 1800's during the Spanish - American war to protect Port Royal and Beaufort from a sea invasion along the Beaufort River.

Although after the war, Fort Fremont remained staffed until the early 1900's and was eventually de-commissioned in 1938 and sold to private interests by the Federal Government. Most of the area known as Port Royal Sound Estates was originally a part of the area occupied by the Army attached to Ft. Fremont.

"We knew the historic nature of the site and knew the community was very interested in protecting it," says Slade Gleaton, South Carolina director of the Trust for Public Land. "The fort is one of only two existing Spanish-American War fortifications that retain their character from that period; others along the eastern seaboard were extensively modified during World War I and Word War II. Aside from protecting this historic landmark, we'll also be able to establish public beach access in an area currently grossly under served."

The Dowling family and Clarence and Patricia Stewart, the former owners, made generous contributions to TPL for the planning and development of the property, most of which will be granted to Beaufort County for construction of improvements including beach access, trails, shelters, parking and restoration of the Fort. The County's acquisition cost will come from its $40 million Rural and Critical Lands Program approved by Beaufort County voters in 1999.

After restoration is complete, Fort Fremont will be re-opened to the public-- offering residents of the Lands End Community and St. Helena's Island beach access and a new park.

The Trust for Public land has been managing the County's Rural and Critical Lands Program for a year. To date, TPL has acquired and conveyed three tracts to the County under the program totaling 222 acres valued at more than $11 million. Since its inception in 1999, Rural and Critical Lands Program funds have been used to acquire 9 properties totaling nearly 8600 acres and valued at a fair market value exceeding $17,660,000.