John Mark Verdier House Museum
The John Mark Verdier House Museum is a building built by John Mark Verdier over two centuries ago in 1804. He was a wealthy French Huguenot who traded indigo, a natural organic blue dye that was valuable and rare at the time. The prominent merchant also grew Sea Island cotton on 405 hectares in Port Royal Island. The house which is located in Bay Street, Beaufot SC, has since then stood out in the town. It is a significant symbol of the Frenchman’s wealth.
The building, also known as Lafayette House, has stood the test of time. It has withstood devastating natural disasters, especially the 1893 hurricane that left many people homeless. It has also survived the civil war, where many buildings were destroyed by fire. Two decades after building the house, John Mark Verdier died. He left the house to his son James Robert Verdier, also known as Marshlands. Robert discovered a cure for yellow fever, a disease rampant at the time. The house remained under the protection of family until circa 1940, when a group of citizens defended it from demolition. They later formed the Historic Beaufort Foundation. The organization pushed for it to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. It was officially opened as a museum in 1976. The only Museum in the town, it reflects the rich history of Beaufort.
The John Mark Verdier House Museum was built using impressive antebellum architecture resembling traditional plantation houses. It has two strong pillars supporting two floors of front porches. The interior of the house was built using shipbuilding techniques that were popular at the time. It is built using hand-cut horizontal boards and beams. Bathrooms, closets, and the kitchen were not built inside the house. At the time, they would have been built outside. Clothes were stored in wardrobes and trunks. Inside, there are four fireplaces with long chimneys supported by strong spans. Above them are eye-catching hand-carved mantelpieces embellished with carvings of fruits, sheaves of wheat, flowers, ribbons, and allegorical figures.
Additionally, several impressive exhibits make visitors marvel at their beauty. One, in particular, is the collection of photos taken by Samuel Cooley during the civil war era. It also hosts Beaufort’s Volunteer Artillery that was used during the American Revolution and the Civil War. Displayed is a focus in honor of the first African American United States Congressman, Robert Smalls. The Beaufort resident was elected to the house in 1875, serving two terms until 1883. With other artifacts from the appropriate periods, every detail in these displays has been preserved. The house also boasts being the first home in the town to have a telephone.
The Museum is open to the public, with tours available every hour on the ½ hour from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. every day of the week except Sundays and during holidays. The tours last for about 45 minutes. Admission is around $5 per person. Children and military personnel are not charged. The public is allowed to explore and take photos of the property from the outside and surrounding grounds at will.
Comments are closed