[image-1] A Charleston preservation group’s effort to preserve Mosquito Beach, a gathering place for African American residents and visitors during segregation that has historical significance as a community hub, are moving forward thanks to the completion of work funded by the National Park Service (NPS).
Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF) said Wednesday that a 2017 grant from NPS helped the group document the historic James Island community’s impact during the civil rights movement.
Out of the five historic “black beaches” in Charleston County, Mosquito Beach is the only that remains virtually intact, preserving an area that serves as a reminder of the American South during the years of Jim Crow when public beaches were segregated, reserved for white residents. In September 2019, the site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Later this month, historical markers will be installed nearby.
The preservation group also announced they will work toward a second NPS grant, hoping to rehabilitate the Pine Tree Hotel on Mosquito Beach into “an educational and entrepreneurial hub for the local African American community,” William “Cubby” Wilder, owner of the hotel, said in a press release. The building’s resiliency has been tested by extreme weather over the decades, including Hurricane Hugo. Although it has pulled through past storms, advocates say their increasing frequency and flooding in the Lowcountry have “escalated the concern for the hotel’s continued endurance.”