28 February 2016

Seashore Farmer's Lodge

Sol Legare Seashore Farmer's Lodge, James Island, SC   
This is one of those unique places that has been on my radar but took me forever to get out there to see it in person and today was the day. Freed slaves settled Sol Legare and their descendants never left. The Charleston City Paper had a great article on it's history when the building was renovated and reopened.
The original settlers of Sol Legare were freed slaves who came to the island in the late 1800s to farm and fish. The community they created embodied the very opposite of slavery. It was autonomous, free, and mutually supportive. The symbol of all that is the Seashore Farmers Lodge, a circa 1915 community center which, thanks to concerned local residents and the help of an exceptionally dedicated genealogist, was recently transformed from a decrepit, hurricane-devastated building to a living museum. "Seashore embodies freedom," Parks says. "We would plant our seeds, farm the land, and we would take it and sell it down on the market. For the longest time, we never worked for anybody but ourselves."

27 February 2016

Through the years and off the shelf

Ruff & Co. Hardware, Ridgeway, SC   
We have a few country hardware stores in South Carolina that sell all the regular things - parts, tools, bits and pieces but they have been in operation for so many years that they still have all the vintage items from years gone by on the dusty shelves and they serve as functioning museums. This particular one is Ruff & Co. Hardware in Ridgeway, SC which opened in 1840. I thought they were selling firewood but I discovered a gigantic wood burning stove in the center of the building with a couple of chairs to pull up cozy.

One of the gentlemen laughed when I was leaving and said he should charge me for taking pictures. I told he should put a tip jar out - I'd be happy to contribute! It was well worth it. See below the images for a video clip with more info on this character spot.

26 February 2016

These boots were made for flying

Boots made for flying, Charleston, SC   
One of my volunteer gentlemen came to my meeting wearing these boots he had had handmade for him in India seventy years ago. Wow. What a piece of history. He had been flying planes into China as part of the China, Burma, India theater as a Flying Tiger pilot. The boots might not fit me but I told him not to take off his leather jacket or he might lose it. Thanks Mr. Cobert!

24 February 2016

Mothers. Daughters. Rebels.

The current political unrest reminds me how recently women were arrested and 
beaten for even trying to vote. Let's make a difference.

I took my hat and scarf to work this morning and we quickly posed the picture and antiqued it to 
model after the Suffragette movie poster. Don't look too closely. The ribbon on my coat is from 
the recent cupcake contest and the hats are from Go Red day! Thanks to my friends Amanda 
and Rebecca for playing along. 

23 February 2016

What ship?

Don't give up the ship, Charleston, SC    
What ship? Where is it? What's on it? Has my ship come in? I'll hang on!

22 February 2016

Storm sewer designs

Storm Sewer, Charleston, SC  
I thought this was a pretty decorative storm sewer drain until I googled Storm Sewer Cover designs. The things I learn down the google rabbit hole are amazing and time consuming. Did you know some cities have storm sewer design contests and use the winning designs all over the city? Kansas City, Vancouver and North East Ohio had design contests as well. It looks like storm sewer design contests were a big thing in 2014, 2015. Sadly the web sites haven't been updated to showcase the winning entries.

I had the urge to learn how to cook some Cuban dishes after my recent trip. I thought I should test a few before I shared them with friends so I just took a roast pork out of the oven and finished simmering rice and beans. Smells darn good in there. I hope it all warms up nicely when I am actually hungry. 

21 February 2016

Church Photo in Lieu of Attendance - St. Stephen's Episcopal, Ridgeway, SC

St Stephen's Episcopal Church, Ridgeway, S.C.    
Here is your church photo in lieu of attendance for this weekend. I discovered this beautiful chapel while on a day trip to Ridgeway, SC and had to take a photo op break. Here is what wikipedia has to stay about it's history:

Stephen's Episcopal Church is an historic Episcopal church building located northeast of Ridgeway, South Carolina, on County Road 106. Built of wood in 1854 in the Carpenter Gothic style, it was designed by the Rev. John Dewitt McCollough, who later became its rector. The exterior was painted a maroon color. In 1920, its exterior wood was covered by brick veneer, so that it appears today as a brick Gothic Revival style building on the outside while the interior retains its Carpenter Gothic features. A wing was added in the 1940s to create space for a parish hall and Sunday school. St. Stephen's was founded in 1839 as a chapel of ease for St. John's Parish, Fairfield, and remained such until 1889 when it became a separate parish. Among its early rectors was the Rev. William Porcher DuBose, who served from 1865-1868.

20 February 2016

On the road - Ridgeway, S.C.

Ridgeway, S.C   
With all the political chaos of the primaries going on in town I hit the road on a day trip and found myself in sweet little Ridgeway, S.C. We arrived in time for lunch at the former Town Hall restaurant but the other option for lunch was Laura's Tea Room and  caught these ladies leaving after their formal tea. Luckily they had an assortment of antique shops and I was able to type up this blog entry on the road.

World's smallest Police Station!

Let it bleed

Scarifator Bloodletting Tool
What the heck? I spotted this on Craigslist antique section and couldn't figure it out. Bloodletting was certainly a popular medical treatment but how and what does this do? It may or may not be a Charleston related item but it is being sold from North Charleston.

It is described as:

Scarifator Bloodletting Tool:  19th century bloodletting tool. 12 blade. Perfect working condition. Has a box but missing lid.

I found more here: From Medical Antiques
Why bleed with one spring-loaded blade when you could have 4, 12, or even 20? As long ago as the 17th century there were multi-bladed bleeders called scarificators.  These became very popular in shown a basic octagonal English scarificator.The case is brass and the mechanism and blades are steel. There is a depth adjuster for the blades on the top and the blades are cocked by the lever on top. The release switch is on the side. This allowed the blades to swing around, making multiple cuts at once. *Approximate values -- a similar piece was found for sale, condition was not quite as good, for $450.
Asssck@! I just found a YouTube video showing how it works. Yikes.

Sounds like the local item is a good deal for a medical collector since it is selling for $275.

Happy weekend kids!

17 February 2016

Turkish Delight

Kissmet, King St., Charleston, SC  
Did you know we had a Turkish shop on King St. How have I missed it? The jewelry in the window of Kissmet lured me in and then I was dazzled by the explosion of textures and color. Rugs, lamps, purses and boots. Visit their online shop here. Many, many years ago as a sixteen year old I bought a treasured embroidered leather belt in a market in Istanbul and for a moment this took me back in time.

15 February 2016

Up the stairs

King St., Charleston, SC   
As shop spaces get used up on King St. I've noticed teasing signs enticing shoppers up side steps to stores on the second level. They are worth the climb! There are a couple of cute little shops tucked away down the alley, up the stairs and down the hallway. Give them a chance!

In other news, I think it's time to finally get rid of my landline. Boo. My phone has been ringing off the hook during this political season and has reached the tipping point. I wonder how many people call to cancel their phone lines during an election year?

In even other news I just took my favorite pear tart out of the oven and it made me think of this rediscovered picture of my grandmother Helen Cameron at pear harvest season on Canada. As children we would help sort the pears by size to determine if they were big enough to be sold. One of my cousins recently scanned in and shared batches of old black and white pictures that have been delighting me. This is exactly how I remember my grandmother.

14 February 2016

Charleston Museum - behind the scenes

Charleston Museum - hidden treasures, Charleston, SC  
I should be out for my morning walk but wanted to share these pictures before I bundle up and brave the chilly morning. I belong to a Charleston History facebook group and yesterday joined a "behind the scenes" tour of the Charleston Museum. What a treat! First of all it was a joy to put faces to names I've followed online, then it was a chance to get in behind all the closed "staff only" doors that forever tease me. Although housed in different locations through the years the museum was founded in 1773 so you can imagine the incredible assortment of items they have displayed and stored.

Every time a cabinet door was flung open to display shelves full of silver, china and fabrics there was a collective gasp of delight. Members of the group had historical family connections with many of the items and had bits of spicy personal history to add. I'll never look at the Charleston museum in the same way again. Thanks to everyone who helped organize the tour.

13 February 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Miss South Carolina, Charleston, SC   
Caroline Scruggs, Miss South Carolina Supranational came to serve as an honorary volunteer at the hospital for valentine's day yesterday. The CEO was in a meeting so I had her take over his desk. Tada!

After taking over the hospital management I walked her for miles all over the hospital passing out romantic fortune cookies and posing for pictures with the cupcake decorating contest winners. She was a great sport and brought a lot of smiles.

In other news - how do you like my little puppy-dog cupcakes?! I made those.

08 February 2016

Lord Ashley Cooper's dictionary of Charlestonese

Charleston, SC  
Ashley Cooper's Charlestonese Dictionary: Ashley Cooper was a popular columnist for the News and Courier. He started publishing certain Charlestonese words in his column and readers contributed to the collection. The dictionary sold for .25 cents a copy and funded the Good Cheer Fund. The complete dictionary can be found at the link.
As everyone knows, Charlestonians speak perfect English, as residents of many other sections of the United States unfortunately do not. Ironically, these sloppy talkers from elsewhere complain sometimes, while visiting the Holy City, that they cannot understand the pure and clear accents of Charlestonians. 
A BOOT: Approximately.
AIN'T: Sister of one of your parents.
BONE: Blessed event, i.e., "I was bone a Charlestonian." (A VERY blessed event, in the minds of all Charlestonians.)
BOTTLE:  A military engagement.
BOW-AT: Something you sail in, off the Bottry.
BRAID: What you make toe-est from, to go along with beckon and a-igs for brake-fuss.
CALLER: Part of a shirt that goes around the neck.
COARSE: Certainly.
COAT: Where they got that jedge an' all, i.e., "Stannup for hizzoner, coat's in session."
COINED: Humane, i.e., "He was always coined to animals."
CONDUIT: Impossible of accomphshment.
DEARTH: The world we live in.
DES MOINES: They belong to me.
DRUG: Hauled.
FAINTS: A barricade of wood or brick.
FAN ELLA: The flavor of white ice cream.
FARE: To be a-scairt, i.e., "I fare it may rene, snow and heeL"
FLOW: What you stand on in a house.
GRANITE: Conceded, or given, i.e., "He was granite a pardon by the gouv-ner."
HAIR: At this place.
HARMONY: Cooked grits.
HAWSERS: Hay-eating quadrupeds.
HELL: An elevation lower than a mountain.
HEM: Meat from a pig. Not to be confused, though, with poke or beckon.
HERRING: The auditory function, i.e., "Pappa's hard of her- ring."
HOMINY: What number?
HONE: Something on an auto that you blow.
ICE COOL: The institution of learning which stands midway between grammar school and college.
JELL: Place of confinement for criminals. Durance viol.
KIN: Something usually made of tin that food is packed in.
LACK: Enjoy, i.e., "I lack fried chicken."
LANE: Lying down.
LAYMAN: A fruit from which layman-ade is made, i.e., "Is that your layman-ade?" "No, that's pappa's-zone." "Well, poet back in the pitcher, 'cause Pappa's now drinking bare."
LUCK: To direct one's gaze, i.e., "Luck year, Pappa, what Bubber did to your match balks."
MARE: Hizzoner, the city's chief executive.
MEAN: A gathering of people, as a committee mean.
MINE EYES: Salad dressing.
MINUET: You and I have dined.
MUTTERED: A yellow condiment that goes well with hot dogs.
NEW SAND KOREA: Ashley Cooper's newspaper. (See Pay- upper.)
NOISE: ^Pleasant, i.e., "Noise weather we've having."
PACKING: Maneuvering an auto to the curb.
PAIN: A writing instrument mightier than the sword.
PASSE: Father has spoken.
PASTOR: Field where cows graze.
PAT: Portion, but not all.
PAUNCH: Blow struck with the fist.
PLAY IT: Something you eat grits off of.
POACH: A verandah.
POET: To transfer a liquid, i.e., "Poet from the pitcher to the glass."
POKE: Hog meat.
POLICE: Term of polite request. A person desiring to maneuver a car to the curb might ask a pool-lease-man, "Cain I police pack hair?" To which the pool-lease-man would doubtless respond, "No, you cain not."
PRE-SHADE: Grateful for, i.e., "I pre-shade the compliment."
SANE: Speaking, i.e., "I cane hardly hair what he's sane."
SEND WISHES: Items of food made with bread, handy for a picnic.
SEX: One less than seven, two less than eh-et, three less than noine, foe less than tin.
SHOT: Not long.
SNOW: To breathe loudly and heavily while sleeping.
TARRED: Weary.
TOYED: Something that ebbs and flows off the Bottry.
TRUE: Hurled, i.e., "He true the ball."
U.G.: A family name, also spelled Huger.

07 February 2016

Free Little Libraries - Avondale

Mini Library, West Ashley - Charleston, SC   
I love these free little libraries with loaned books and discovered two in my own neighborhood this morning on my drizzly walk. I won't be putting 10,000 on the step counter today. It is wet and windy out there.

Watch your head on Magnolia Rd. The low branch is going to wallop someone in the head in the dark.

06 February 2016

From the files

Mawlai, Meghalaya, India
I am heading out for a walk shortly but thought I'd share this scanned photo from my childhood. I am easily identified because I wore shoes for class photo day. I always made good and fast friends in school and have fond memories of wild games, laughter and pranks. Sadly when I moved I made such huge moves across the world and usually lost complete contact. Good times.

03 February 2016

On the road - Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Havana, Cuba
I tend to travel modestly and don't always dedicate my travel budget to high-end hotels so when I got around to reviewing my Cuba itinerary and looked up the hotel I was to stay at in Havana the historical significance blew me away. Wow. We were booked to stay at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba where important heads of state, movie stars, revolutionaries and gangsters had stayed. I was so excited I could hardly stand it. 

After we learned what room we were to stay in (we stayed in the room Walt Disney had used), and had our welcome mojito, it was amazing to wander and absorb the history of the place. Everything was still there - walls full of black and white pictures from meetings and events, the Lansky brother's roulette wheel, Peter Frampton's guitar (?) laying out in the open with a sign asking us not to touch it. Two cannons are still in the yard. The bar on the patio was open twenty four hours a day and members of the Bueno Vista Social club play on certain nights of the week. The place was swarming - with busloads of US tourists arriving one after another. The breakfast buffet in the basement was like a United Nations of trying to please every nationality. Large patios opened to the wind blowing through the royal palms from the ocean. What a grand spot. 
The decision to build a luxury hotel was taken in the late 1920s. The American firms McKim, Mead & White and Purdy & Henderson Co., tasked with the planning and construction, completed the palatial edifice in 14 months.
The hotel exhibits an eclectic architectural style, reflecting Art Deco, Arabic references, features of Hispano-Moorish architecture, and both neo-classical and neo-colonial elements. There are even details from the centuries-old Californian style. The resulting unique example of so many schools of architecture is the most unusual and interesting hotel in the Caribbean region.
The HOTEL NACIONAL DE CUBA was opened on the night of 30 December 1930. The party to celebrate the opening, attended by leading lights of the time, was held in the ballroom.
October 1933: the hotel was bombarded, following the stationing there of officers of the army elite of the deposed president Gerardo Machado, in a revolt by lower-raking officers - Batista among them - in protest at the privileges of high office. Guests of the hotel in this decade included: Johnny Weismuller (Tarzan), Edward VIII (prince of Wales), Jack Dempsey, Tom Mix, José Mujica, Buster Keaton, Emilio Roig, Amadeo Barletta, Rita Montaner, José Raúl Capablanca, Tito Guizart, Trío Matamoros, Ñico Saquito, Errol Flynn, and the mobsters Santos Traficante (father) and Meyer Lansky. The last-mentioned arranged with Batista the future business of the casinos.