Restored lodge opens
Allyson Bird // The Post and Courier
Luke Sollitt, a Mount Pleasant resident and member of the Citadel Military Living History Society, brought his 5-year-old daughter, Georgia, to Saturday’s event at Sol Legare to participate in a Civil War re-enactment.
JAMES ISLAND -- Re-enactors in Civil War uniforms and hoop skirts mingled with Sol Legare residents and supporters for the official opening of the restored Seashore Farmers Lodge Saturday.
Appropriately, it all took place at the corner of Sol Legare Road and Old Sol Legare Road.
Ernest Parks, who grew up just down the street and served on its restoration committee, said he hopes this museum eventually will include regular hours for public visits. Lacking the necessary funding, it now operates for events and by appointment only.
He anticipates the day when the lodge will teach people about Gullah language, cuisine and culture during regular business hours.
"We want to educate them as much as we can because we are of it," Parks said.
The 54th Massachusetts Regiment of the Civil War, the Army's first black unit, assembled near the lodge before going into battle.
Following a two-year project, the refurbished property now includes historic artifacts -- including an old wooden bench and drums and a fife that the Seashore Farmers Lodge marching band once played -- all restored down the street at the community center.
Saturday's event came amid a week of ceremonies observing the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Parks pointed out that this place should unite and not divide, an idea that came alive in the diverse people who attended.
Luke Sollitt, a white Mount Pleasant resident and member of the Citadel Military Living History Society, came dressed in a Civil War uniform and brought his 5-year-old daughter, Georgia, for her first re-enactment in a traditional girl's frock.
Marlene Lemon, a black history teacher from Summerville, wore a long black dress as part of her role as a member of the 54th Massachusetts.
The crowd shared a Lowcountry meal of fried chicken, red rice, sweet tea and a sheet cake with a frosting photo of the lodge on top.
They heard dedications and heard storytelling, including Parks and James Brown, also part of the restoration committee, discuss the 1969 hospital workers' strike.
"That will not be the day of the white man. That will not be the day of the black man," the two said from the porch of the lodge as the crowd below clapped. "That will be the day of man."