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Thursday, October 1, 2015
11:30 AM


The Slave Dwelling Project


Mr. Joseph McGill, Jr. is a history consultant for Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, SC and the founder of The Slave Dwelling Project, Inc.  Sleeping in extant slave dwellings, this project has brought much needed attention to these often neglected structures that are vitally important to the American built environment.

 Prior to his current position, Mr. McGill was a field officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation working to revitalize the Sweet Auburn commercial district in Atlanta, GA and to develop a management plan for Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area.

For the past five years, the simple act of sleeping in extant slave dwellings has brought much needed attention to the need to preserve, interpret, maintain and sustain these structures. To that end, Joseph McGill has been joined by the descendants of the enslaved and slave owners in over seventy sites in fourteen states for these educational overnight sleepovers.

Thursday, October 8, 2015
11:30 AM


The Shrinking Colonial Common


Dr. Nic Butler, Ph.D. is an interdisciplinary historian with an infectious enthusiasm for Charleston's colorful past. A native of Greenville County, South Carolina, Dr. Butler attended the University of South Carolina before completing a Ph.D. in musicology at Indiana University. He has worked as archivist of the South Carolina Historical Society, as an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston, and as an historical consultant for the City of Charleston. Since 2005 he has been the archivist, and now historian, for the Charleston County Public Library.

On 12 April 1768, Governor Charles Greville Montagu and the South Carolina General Assembly ratified a law directing that a large expanse of vacant marsh land at the west end of Broad Street "shall forever hereafter be reserved and kept for the use of a common for Charlestown." Later sources describe this public common as a tract of about forty acres, bounded on the south by Tradd Street, on the north by Beaufain Street, on the east by Rutledge Avenue, and on the west by the channel of the Ashley River. Today, most of this land is actually private property, in contradiction to the intent of the 1768 law. How did large parcels of this supposedly protected public land slip into private hands? The answer to this important question is a complicated tale of battling interests, punctuated by a trail of litigation that stretches from the late colonial era to the present day.

Follow Dr. Butler's blog at

Thursday, October 15, 2015
11:30 AM


Sleuthing in Your Own Backyard


Ms. Juliana Falk is a native of Lancaster, PA, Juliana Falk moved to Charleston in 2010 seeking a walkable city with less winter weather. Taking up residence in the c. 1810 Simon Jude Chancognie House, she never imagined the adventures in historic preservation that awaited her. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the University of Virginia School of Law, she is the owner of Blankets From Emma. 

How much do you know about the history of your house? Have you ever wondered who built it or what it looked like originally? What started as a brief inquiry into the history of the c. 1810 Simon Jude Chancognie House led to in-depth research projects on historic elements of the house including original wallpaper and plaster ornament and a deeper look at the unique history of the man who built the house, the French consul to Charleston. Sleuthing at the Chancognie House sometimes means literally digging in the backyard – this is part of an ongoing effort to determine what original outbuildings might have looked like, including a mysterious bathing house. 

Copyright © 2015 Preservation Society of Charleston, All rights reserved.

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