SC Revolutionary War Fort Now Open to Public

Fort Fair Lawn is one of 5 gateway parks on The Liberty Trail

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. - The Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust and the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust today celebrated the public opening of the historic Fort Fair Lawn, the most pristine, intact, original Revolutionary War fortification in South Carolina.

Following acquisition in 2016, the property has undergone extensive archeological work, a park master planning process, and trail construction. “Acquiring Fort Fair Lawn took many years of effort by our staff, community leaders, and those who fully understood its significance. Securing the fort and surrounding acreage was critical to ensure that this unique, historic property remains protected forever,” remarked Chris Vaughn, executive director, Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust. “This public opening celebrates the improved accessibility to the site and opens the door for the community to walk in the steps of history.” Improvements to the 80-acre site include 1.75 miles of gravel walking trails, boardwalks, park benches, a gated trail connection to Old Santee Canal Park, and direct access to the fort structure.

In 1780, the British had the momentum as they defeated the partisan American forces in a string of battles and skirmishes throughout Georgia and South Carolina. They had already captured the city of Savannah and were poised to take Charles Town – one of the wealthiest in all the American colonies. But after a decisive rout at Sullivan’s Island four years prior, the British opted to avoid a direct naval assault on the city and instead planned to lay siege to it.

Photo left to right: Raleigh West, director, SC Conservation Bank David Dennis, Mayor Pro Tem, Town of Moncks Corner Shanda Phillips, board president, Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center Doug Bostick, CEO, SC Battleground Preservation Trust Ryan Wenzel, board chair, Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust Johnny Cribb, Berkeley County Supervisor Brad Sale, Park Manager, Old Santee Canal Park Sylleste Davis, SC House of Representatives

Their plan to siege Charles Town required securing the Cooper River, which served as the principal transportation route to the backcountry, a supply route and means of escape for the Patriot army. In April 1780, the British routed American cavalry and infantry stationed in Moncks Corner and established their headquarters at Fair Lawn Barony – the only home constructed by a Lords Proprietors’ family. The home was located about one mile away from the last navigable point on the Cooper River at Stoney Landing. There, they constructed Fort Fair Lawn to guard the landing and fortify their position at the head of the Cooper River. The British held this position until late 1781, when they withdraw their troops to Charles Town.

“Of the more than thirty forts constructed during the American Revolutionary war in South Carolina, only two remain in their original condition: the Ninety-Six National Historic Site and Fort Fair Lawn,” commented Doug Bostick, CEO, South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust. “The significance of this site has led it to be a gateway for the statewide Liberty Trail. In addition to the interactive Liberty Trail app that was launched this Spring, we look forward to providing additional onsite interpretation to help these stories come to life.” Moncks Corner – based, Home Telecom, provided a generous gift to support the interpretation.

Berkeley County Supervisor Johnny Cribb joined community leaders to celebrate the opening. “Berkeley County boasts a rich history, and Fort Fair Lawn is an iconic piece of that local and national history we are so greatly honored to commemorate and celebrate today,” Cribb remarked. “Seeing all of these community partners unite for this monumental initiative is a true testament to the depth of dedication and passion we all feel in wanting to remember those that paid the price fighting for our Independence.”

This weekend’s public opening of Fort Fair Lawn, coincides with Colonial Days, hosted by the Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center, Old Santee Canal Park, and Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust. Colonial Days will be held Saturday, September 24 beginning at 10 AM. For more information, visit the Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust Facebook page.

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