Historical and Architectural Preservation Consulting

Since 2004, Eric has been contracted frequently by private individuals, corporations, and government agencies in South Carolina as an historical and architectural consultant for historical eligibility reviews and nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. While Eric often shepherds Register nominations through the entire process, including preparation of the formal nomination and presentation of the nomination to the State Board of Review, he also has assisted other individuals as an advisory consultant on nominations they wish to complete independently. Eric is a fierce advocate for responsible and sustainable historic preservation initiatives. Since his move to North Carolina in 2011, he has been working with local agencies and partners throughout the Carolinas and Virginia to develop new preservation projects.

The following are examples of the historic preservation projects on which Eric has served as a consultant. With the exception of the group-authored nomination for Columbia and those on which he served as an advisory consultant, Eric wrote the full text for each nomination and made the final presentation before the State Board of Review.

J. C. Richardson House, Jasper County, SC

Richardson House

The J. C. Richardson House, located at the heart of the Robertville community in upper Jasper County, is significant for its association with James Clarence Richardson, a prominent Hampton County and Jasper County farmer, businessman, inventor, and local/state politician who called this house his home for most of his adult life and ran an important general store for the community on a nearby parcel. In addition, the J. C. Richardson House is significant as a stunning example of a two-story, center hall, Folk Victorian home in rural upper Jasper County, replete with Queen Anne influences, cutaway bay windows, a gorgeous Chinese Chippendale balustrade on both its first and second floor porches, an ornate central hallway with its two-tiered, side-set staircase, and numerous rooms with tongue-and-groove wood ceilings, horizontal tongue-and-groove wood paneling, and decorative mantelpieces, all of which are original to the house or were added during its period of significance.

The J. C. Richardson House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service on September 22, 2014.

Port Royal School, Beaufort County, SC

Port Royal School, web
Image courtesy of the Historic Port Royal Foundation

The original Port Royal School building, constructed in 1911, is a two-story, Colonial Revival, solid concrete block, side-gabled building with prominent exterior chimneys and a four-sided cupola that originally served as a bell tower. Designed by the noted South Carolina architectural firm of Wilson and Sompayrac, the Port Royal School has been renovated on two notable occasions, in 1954 and 1997. A substantial addition was also completed in 2002. In addition, both the 1911 and the 1954 buildings at the Port Royal School reflect their direct association with Port Royal’s uniquely complicated history of racial segregation in the years following the collapse of the Port Royal Experiment initiated during the American Civil War. During the period from 1911 to 1954, the Port Royal School reflected the period’s conflicting approaches to school segregation and separate-but-equal funding of education in the state of South Carolina, including as a recipient of federal Impact Aid construction funds in the early 1950s and as a fixture of white advantage even after Equalization funds were finally expended on behalf of Port Royal’s black students in 1954.

The Port Royal School was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on April 21, 2014.

Lawtonville Baptist Church, Hampton County, SC

The Lawtonville Baptist Church in Estill, South Carolina, was built in 1911-12 by Savannah architect Julian DeBruyn Kops and is a remarkably intact example of an unusual architectural form for a Baptist Church in South Carolina. Built of brick in a Late Gothic Revival design, employing several pronounced Judeo-Christian symbols in its brickwork, and emphasizing the Trinity in various subtle décor elements found both inside and outside the sanctuary, the Lawtonville Baptist Church is a grand architectural testament to the importance of this church to the surrounding community for the past three centuries. The Lawtonville Baptist Church is a brick building with a complex, asphalt-shingle, pavilion roof with projecting gables, dominant stained glass windows, crenellations and merlons, and an intriguing back entrance and bell tower that resembles a castle keep. In 1973, under the guidance of historic restoration architect John C. Lebey, the church completed a remarkably sensitive renovation that enclosed the existing sanctuary entrance to create a rounded front and a rain shelter for arriving and departing congregation members, while also preserving the original appearance of this portion of the façade inside the new addition.

The Lawtonville Baptist Church was listed in the National Register by the National Park Service on October 9, 2012. The full text of the nomination and additional photos are available at the SCDAH.

Palmetto Theater, Hampton County, SC

The Palmetto Theater, built in 1946 by C. L. Freeman, is a stunning example of an intact Art Deco-influenced, Art Moderne theater built for a rural southern town during the mid-twentieth century. Its surviving neon-lit marquee and facade are almost entirely original, and the interior retains several other key features of its original Art Deco influences. Beyond its impressive architectural components, though, the Palmetto Theater was also the center of a pivotal Blue Law controversy in 1950, when local Baptist clergy pushed for the arrest of the Palmetto’s two owners, Dr. James A. Hayne and T. G. “Mutt” Stanley, for permitting screenings on Sundays. Following their arrest, the community engaged in a long-running public debate over the appropriateness of these laws. Ultimately, the Palmetto resumed its Sunday screenings without further consequence, thus confirming the Palmetto’s successful challenge of the law as a watershed moment in the evolution of local social dynamics during the mid-twentieth century.

The Palmetto Theater was listed in the National Register by the National Park Service on October 9, 2012. The full text of the nomination and additional photos are available at the SCDAH.

The Hampton County Jail, Hampton County, SC

The Hampton County Jail is a unique surviving example of a small, late nineteenth-century, dual purpose county correctional facility whose architecture reflects various alterations during its one hundred-year history. Perhaps its most unusual feature is its infamous second floor “triple-lockdown” cage complex that originally housed Hampton County’s black male inmates. The Hampton County Jail is notable as a government facility designed and used to enforce the racial segregation policies and inequalities of the American South in its administration of local justice during the period following Reconstruction and well into the twentieth century, as well as for its notoriety in employing South Carolina’s only female jailer (and second female jailer in South Carolina’s history) for a twenty-year period during the mid-twentieth century.

The Hampton County Jail was listed in the National Register by the National Park Service on June 23, 2011. The full text of the nomination and additional photos are available at the SCDAH.

The Union Church of Port Royal, Beaufort County, SC

The Union Church of Port Royal, which was built with donated lumber by local citizens in 1877-78 to provide the Port Royal community its only white house of worship at that time, is a remarkable example of vernacular architecture with Italianate flourishes, reflecting the influence of the prevailing architectural trends of its period and of the surrounding buildings in the community. It maintained its de facto segregation status as a white church through the 1950s, a curious counterpoint to the community’s fame as the venue for the Civil War-era Port Royal Experiment, in which occupying white northerners encouraged local black southerners to “practice” self-sufficiency through self-governance and economic independence. A site of community religious services for the entirety of its existence, the Union Church has also served as a theater and, since its 2004 restoration, as a museum and community hall. It remains a center of community life in the Town of Port Royal.

The Union Church of Port Royal was listed in the National Register by the National Park Service on November 17, 2010. The full text of the nomination and additional photos are available at the SCDAH.

Cedar Grove Lutheran Church, Lexington County, SC

The Cedar Grove Lutheran Church, whose congregation was first formed in 1856 by the “Old School Lutherans” who once met at nearby Salem Church, is located in the rural Cedar Grove community of Lexington County. This Gothic Revival building, erected 1926-27, is an outstanding example of early twentieth-century Lutheran sanctuaries in rural South Carolina, even though it can attribute its design to the pen of the renowned North Carolina architect Louis H. Asbury (1877-1975), whose plans were a duplicate of those he had used in the construction of the St. John’s Lutheran Church in Statesville, North Carolina, in 1922.

The Cedar Grove Lutheran Church was listed in the National Register by the National Park Service on November 17, 2010. The full text of the nomination and additional photos are available at the SCDAH.

Manning Commercial Historic District, Clarendon County, SC

Levi Building, Manning, SC

The Manning Commercial Historic District is a collection of 63 commercial buildings that contributed to the development of downtown Manning between 1890 and 1958. The district incorporates parcels that were part of or immediately adjacent to the original nine-block area defined as Courthouse Square when the city was laid out in 1856. This collection of architecturally significant buildings stands as a remarkable example of the commercial development and evolution of a small southern agricultural center during the first half of the 20th century. Unusual oblique and angled entrances, intriguing decorative cornices and corbeling, and a preponderance of parapeted rooflines give the district a clear and unmistakable association with the architecture typical of the period, and the district includes several architectural gems, including the Levi Building, Alderman’s 20 in One Store, the Clarendon County Courthouse, and the People’s Bank and Trust Building.

Eric was an advisory historical consultant on this nomination, which was officially listed in the National Register by the National Park Service on May 28, 2010. The full text of the nomination and additional photos are available at the SCDAH.

John Lawton House, Hampton County, SC

John Lawton House, Estill, SC

The John Lawton House in Estill, South Carolina, was originally built as the new “in-town” home of John Lawton (1830-1908), owner of the nearby plantation Jericho in the old community of Lawtonville, and its construction was completed in 1908. In 1913, the house became the venue for one of the twelve annual meetings of the Estill Wednesday Afternoon Book Club (now the Estill Book Club), a private literary club that has met continuously for the past 95 years in this small community. Originally built in the Classical Revival style, with a dramatic wraparound porch and pedimented front facade, the front portion underwent substantial alterations in 1947 according to plans prepared by John C. Lebey, the well-renowned Savannah, Georgia, architect who made a career of revitalizing older homes while also emphasizing and preserving their historic character. The house has remained continuously inhabited by John Lawton’s descendants since its construction, and since 1939 by his great granddaughter Lawton Clarke O’Cain, who opened her home to travelers as a bed and breakfast from 1984 to 2008. It is a delightful example of an historic small-town southern home that was transformed in an effort to preserve its vitality and usefulness as a grand home.

The John Lawton House was listed in the National Register by the National Park Service on July 1, 2009. The full text of the nomination and additional photos are available at the SCDAH.

Conestee Mill Complex, Greenville County, SC


The Conestee Mill is a large mill complex located on the shores of the Reedy River in the village of Conestee, approximately eight miles south of the city of Greenville in Greenville County, South Carolina. Mill operations began here by the 1830s under the direction of Vardry McBee, including the production of paper, wood, flour, and textiles. The present mill complex includes the replacement mill building constructed in 1884, various alterations to this building (including substantial additions in 1898 that incorporate the mill race and turbine), and a free-standing company store building built between 1913 and 1920. The mill complex remains a fascinating example of a late nineteenth-century mill operation whose architecture was repeatedly altered during the early twentieth century to keep up with increasing production demands and changes in industry technology. These architectural layers of history make the Conestee Mill an excellent example of southern Progressive Era industrial architecture worthy of inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places for its local significance.

Eric was an advisory historical consultant on this nomination, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on March 2, 2014.

Providence United Methodist Church, Orangeburg County, SC

Providence United Methodist Church, located in the community of Providence near Holly Hill in Orangeburg County and constructed in 1919-20, is an outstanding and remarkable example of an early twentieth-century sanctuary in rural lower South Carolina. Designed by the renowned architect Charles Coker Wilson, one of the most successful South Carolina architects of the early twentieth century, it is an architecturally stunning example of a sophisticated rural church building from the early twentieth century. In particular, its impressive sanctuary windows, which church members insist were purchased from Louis Comfort Tiffany’s studio at the time of construction, make the church a noteworthy property combining Wilson’s fine church architecture with outstanding examples of early twentieth-century art glass.

Listed in the National Register on September 25, 2009. The full text of the nomination and additional photos are available at the SCDAH.

Hope Rosenwald School, Newberry County, SC

The Hope Rosenwald School is significant for its role in African-American education and social history in South Carolina between 1925 and 1954, and as a property that embodies the distinctive features of a significant architectural type and method of schoolhouse construction popular throughout the southern United States in the early twentieth century. Like other Rosenwald schools, the Hope Rosenwald School can trace its origins to the contentious debate over the education of southern African-Americans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While the end of the American Civil War had brought about state-initiated funding and operation of some local schools for black children in the South, the policies emphasizing racial segregation during the Jim Crow era left southern blacks with few opportunities for a truly complete primary education and even fewer secondary school options. Among those who sought a method for insuring that black educational opportunities in the South might be improved was Julius Rosenwald, CEO of Sears & Roebuck and a trustee of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. At the request of Booker T. Washington, Rosenwald began a school building fund to benefit southern African-Americans, especially those in rural regions, and from 1917 to 1932, Rosenwald’s program led to the construction of more than 5300 public schools, teachers’ homes, and instructional shops in fifteen southern states, nearly 500 of which were located in South Carolina.

Listed in the National Register on October 3, 2007. The full text of the nomination and additional photos are available at the SCDAH. For more on this remarkable success story in historic preservation, see the interactive slideshow from Columbia’s The State online news source. Artifacts from this school will appear in the forthcoming exhibits of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History, scheduled to open in 2015.

Mary H. Wright Elementary School, Spartanburg County, SC

The Mary H. Wright Elementary School is significant for its association with the statewide struggle over racial equality in education during the 1950s and as a remarkable local example of how one community attempted to implement the state legislature’s initial response to the legal challenges brought against South Carolina’s segregated educational system. The school, constructed in 1951, was one of the first buildings constructed in the state with funds from the statewide sales tax used to finance the state’s equalization program of Governor James F. Byrnes and was cited in litigation from the period for its importance in relationship to this program. The school is also significant as an excellent example of International style institutional architecture in upstate South Carolina and as an important design work of W. Manchester Hudson and A. Hugh Chapman, Jr., prominent local architects of the mid-twentieth century. The school was named for a local Southside resident and black educator.

Listed in the National Register August 3, 2007. The full text of the nomination and additional photos are available at the SCDAH.

Dantzler Plantation, Orangeburg County, SC

The Dantzler Plantation House is significant as an outstanding local example of mid-nineteenth-century Greek Revival architecture with various later alterations and additions designed to emulate this Greek Revival style, as well as for its significant and intriguing interior modifications that reflect the changing fortunes of its owners and the various uses of plantation architecture throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Because of the destruction wrought on such properties in Orangeburg County during the Civil War, such an intact property is rare for the county. The property is also noteworthy for its association with the Dantzler family, one of the most prominent families of Orangeburg County from the eighteenth century to the present, and it remains in family hands. The house, constructed ca. 1846-1850, is a porticoed, two-story Greek Revival raised cottage of frame construction, set on a partially enclosed, brick pier foundation. The main block of the house is unique for its remarkable depth (triple pile) in comparison to its width (only five bays wide). The two interior double chimneys and the two exterior chimneys at the rear of the main block are composed of soft brick that was made on the property and also used in the construction of the foundation.

Listed in the National Register March 1, 2007. The full text of the nomination and additional photos are available at the SCDAH.

Resources Associated with Segregation in Columbia, South Carolina, 1880-1960, Richland County, SC

Segregation in Columbia was more complicated than rigid boundaries. Throughout the twentieth century, the strict separation of races was enforced in the school system, healthcare system, churches and leisure organizations, but a more fluid system of segregation appeared in other sectors of society, including the commercial arena. The duplicate structures that whites built to enforce the “separate but equal” principle, the buildings that housed alternative businesses that blacks opened to serve their own communities, and the spaces that retain vestiges of separate facilities used to keep blacks away from whites all provide physical evidence for the various and complicated forms which segregation took.

This nomination, co-authored with several preservation advocates affiliated with the Public History Program at the University of South Carolina and approved in 2005, identified 21 existing properties already listed in the National Register of Historic Places and opened the door for at least two subsequent individual property nominations.

The full text of the nomination can be found at the SCDAH.


2 Responses to “Historical and Architectural Preservation Consulting”

  1. Larry Glickman Says:

    Hi Eric,

    Just came across your website and wanted to say hi and Happy New Year. Hope all is going well. I enjoyed looking at your photography blog.

    Larry Glickman

  2. Very good to see these old buildings being preserved!

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