- Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 2015

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) - Leaders in Beaufort County are stepping up efforts to better tell the stories of history in the area.

Almost 80 percent of those visiting Beaufort County mention history as something they want to explore. But the research also finds that only about half of the visitors end up doing so, the Beaufort Gazette reported (https://bit.ly/1Jm8qLq).

Mayor Billy Keyserling said it’s embarrassing that a town that prides itself on its 300-year history does such a poor job of packaging it for visitors.

“The short version is that it’s been a little bit embarrassing that a city that prides itself on this rich history and longstanding culture of over 300 years has been remiss in packaging it — first for the young people who grow up here because having a sense of place is really what a hometown is about,” Keyserling said.

The Santa Elena Foundation is working to tell the story of a 16th-century Spanish settlement at what is now Parris Island. Santa Elena was founded at the site of Charlesfort by the Spanish in 1566 and is part of the story of an ongoing conflict with the French.

Archaeological work also is under way to preserve Fort Frederick, which was built in the 18th century by the British to defend Port Royal sound and the city of Beaufort from the Spanish.

Meanwhile, Keyserling is leading an effort on a center to tell the story of Reconstruction in the area.

“As someone whose job is to market an area and create a first-time visitor experience, this is an exciting time,” said Robb Wells, tourism director for the Beaufort Regional Chamber. “I think what has been talked about in years past, now you’re starting to see it executed at a full-scale level.”


Information from: The Beaufort Gazette, https://www.beaufortgazette.com

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