Historic Fort Fremont - Restored and Revitalized
by Mary Campbell
Fort Fremont was the last fort in a long local history of coastal forts and the sole remnant that is available to see.
The batteries at Fort Fremont were built by the US army in response to the Spanish American War in 1898. They defended a coaling station and day dock at Port Royal Naval Station on Parris Island. The fort was deactivated in 1912 and became abandoned. Mother Nature took over the fort with vines and briers, and humans filled the walls with graffiti.
In about 2004 the Friends of Fort Fremont was formed, spearheaded by Master Naturalist, Pete Richards. Pete and the "Friends", along with fellow Master Naturalist Wendy Wilson, the Open Land Trust, and Beaufort County, spent many hours cleaning up and restoring the site for public use.
The site is home to a beautiful old-growth maritime forest on a bluff overlooking a pristine beach and our treasured Port Royal Sound. The canopy boasts majestic live oaks, magnificent magnolias, and mighty palmettos. A pavilion is available for gatherings of families and friends. There are paved walking paths throughout the park.
The newly opened "History Center in Memory of Pete Richards" features a miniature diorama by Dennis Cannady of the whole garrison complex as it was built in 1898. Amazing!
Whether you are a lover of Mother Nature, a birder, a hiker, a beachcomber, an explorer, a history nut, or just plain curious human being, you will enjoy your visit to Fort Fremont. There is something for everyone.
The Preserve is open to the public Monday through Sunday from dawn till dusk. Docent led tours are at 11 am and 2 pm every Saturday. The History Center is open from 10 am to 2 pm Friday and Saturday. The entrance to Ft. Fremont is located at 1126 State Road S-7-45 off Lands End Rd. on St. Helena Island in Beaufort County, SC. For more information visit www.fortfremont.org or contact Passive Parks manager Stephanie Nagid at firstname.lastname@example.org.