Phillips Community meets 5 criteria outlined in ordinance to become Historic District

Charleston County News

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – On Tuesday, the Charleston County Council heard their first request for the designations of a historic district. The area in question, known as the Phillips Community.

The Historic Charleston Foundation, familiar with the ordinance that would declare the Phillips Community a historic district announced at the public hearing that the are meets a total of 5 criteria that is defined in the ordinance. The Historic Charleston Foundation went on to note that only one is required for standard qualification.

Those still living in the community stood up in the Beverly T. Craven Council Chambers, Lonnie Hamilton, III Public Services Building to voice that they have been in the community for generations and look to continue that tradition for more generations to come. 

Fred Smalls, a Phillips Community Member said his community (Phillips) was established in 1875 by former slaves, free black men, and women, who planned and organized the community.  

With military lineage from the civil war to the current day, and claims to the birthplace of two South Carolinian governors, the community has much to be proud of. “History is strong. It is tied to this country. We’d like to see it preserved we would like to see it told and we would like to tell it,” said Smalls.

But in order to tell it, community activists explained that the land must remain intact and not cut be through by Charleston County’s plans of expansion for Highway 41. 

Richard Habersham, the President of the Phillips Community Association said the action being taken on Tuesday, is a direct effort to avoid the very same fate of communities who once surrounded them. 

Habersham said, “I don’t know if a lot of people are aware, but the 4-mile community, which was town center, there’s no community there. You look at the 7-mile community further down on 17, they are hanging on, but they are just about gone. The 10-mile community down there they on life support. This will give us a little chance and give our next generation to have a quality of life.”

The hope for more generations rang through both the Historic Charleston Foundation and the Preservation Society of Charleston, as calls for protection ended the night. 

Erin Minnigan, with the Preservation Society of Charleston, explained that given the mounting pressure from growth and development surrounding Phillips, the Society feels this is a critical time to designate it as a historic district to help protect it for future generations.

Next up for the community is a Planning and Public Works (PPW) committee hearing will be held on June 17th for the council. The PPW committee will meet ahead of 3 readings for the designation of the Historic District Application. 

The Historic Charleston Foundation, the Preservation Society of Charleston, and the Phillips Community Association are also continuing to effort a National Registry for the historic area.

If and when a decision is made, we’ll be sure to update you both on-air and online.

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