Beaufort News

Beaufort, Port Royal church, home demolitions up for review

The roof of Porter's Chapel African Methodist Episcopal is caving in. A tarp covers parts of the church. Boards are falling from the structure and windows are boarded up and have "no trespassing" signs posted on them. A public notice posted out front tells passers-by about its proposed demolition.

Trustees of Jericho AME, the Beaufort church that owns the property, plan to tear down the building.

Last year, the trustees asked that Porter's Chapel be removed from Port Royal's Historic Register and said the church did not have the money to renovate the building. They asked the town's help in moving it.

The town's Historic Preservation Commission will meet next week to decide the building's fate.

"We've exhausted all avenues," Jericho AME pastor James Mack said Monday.

The chapel was brought over from Parris Island at the turn of the 20th century and has been on its present site at Old Shell Road and 16th Street since 1925, according to a previous real estate listing and a Beaufort County historic site survey.

Mack said the building was last used for worship about 10 years ago.

Renovations would cost at least $300,000, Mack said. Trustees are open to keeping the church and envision repurposing the building as a tourist attraction with a gift shop or education component about the Lowcountry.

But the church does not have the money for the fix and has not found answers in reaching out to area preservationists, Mack said.

On Oct. 20, historic preservation panel will decide whether to allow the demolition. Commission member Patty Crower said while she would vote to allow the building be demolished, there will be sadness on both sides.

"They are very kind and gracious people, with a huge financial problem at this point in time," Crower said.

Note that the addresses labeled within the street views shown below are approximations by Google Maps. The properties named above the interactive images are what is shown.

1515 Old Shell Rd.

Beaufort mayor's former home may be demolished

Micky Masters moved to Beaufort from Dallas earlier this year for the lifestyle and the friends made during her visits here.

She will have to wait just a little longer to settle in.

Beaufort's Historic District Review Board will consider a request this week to tear down the Ribaut Road home she bought from Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling. The board meets Wednesday at 2 p.m. at City Hall.

Masters bought the house at 771 Ribaut Road from Keyserling for $825,000 in June, property records show. Masters wants to demolish the home, leaving an existing garage and outbuilding, and build a new 2,500 square-foot home, according to plans submitted to the review board.

The house is not located in Beaufort's historic district but goes before the review board because it is listed on the 1997 Beaufort County Historic Sites survey and is within city limits. The board can't deny the request but can postpone demolition up to six months if it decides action should be taken to save the structure.

Masters was not aware of the required board action until her builder, Allen Patterson, went to get the permit for the work, she said Monday. She has been staying with a friend until a decision is made.

She chose the location for its proximity to Beaufort Memorial Hospital and its LifeFit Wellness Center.

"I can't wait to get in town and get active," she said.

The home was built in 1928, according to property records. The demolition application notes that the home appears to have been a kit sold in Sears Catalog.

Numerous additions have been made to the house throughout the years, and most are structurally unsound, according the application.

771 Ribaut Rd.

Follow reporter Stephen Fastenau at

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