COLLETON CO., S.C. (WCBD) – The Colleton County Historical and Preservation Society (CCHAPS) is investigating damage to the Pon Pon Chapel of Ease, remnants of a chapel dating back to 1753.
CCHAPS says that over July Fourth weekend, they “discovered that the top of the front facade of the ruin” was toppled. They do not know the cause of the damage, but they have closed the property and asked the sheriff’s office to patrol the area as they investigate.
According to a historical marker at the site, the Parish was established in 1706, and “devastated by Yemassee Indians” in 1715. John Wesley, founder of Methodism, preached at the church in 1737. In 1753, officials decided a brick building should replace the original wooden building.
The brick building was built with structural integrity in mind. Through its lifetime, the chapel has endured centuries of wear and tear, including fires between 1796 and 1806, earning it the nickname
“The Burnt Church.” It also sustained damage in both Hurricane Gracie (1959) and Hurricane Matthew (2016).
CCHAPS has been working with structural engineers to develop a plan to stabilize and preserve what is left of the historic property. They are continuing their fundraising efforts, and hope to have a plan in place and reopen the property to the public soon.