Would I know where to kneel and dig?
Who first covered the fort’s walls with molasses and lime?
What treasures still lie beneath my feet? – from “Molasses” by Ed Madden
A trip to Fort Moultrie and Sullivan’s Island is filled with emotions, mysteries and soul searching questions. The fort is most famous for the Patriots bravery and ingenuity during the Revolutionary War that lead to a historic victory, the state flag and its marquee Palmetto symbol.
But there is more behind the old stucco fortifications. If only the walls could talk…
There are closed tunnels, locked gates and hidden passages that lead nowhere. Who built them and why?
What about the unusual colors “the color of onion and okra”, “the chalk wash”. Apparently the interior brick walls and buildings were painted yellow to protect the soft brick from the elements. The sulfur on the inside walls comes from molasses, used to thicken the mix of water and lime!
The Middle Passage and the houses of pain and sorrow
The pest houses are gone now, but the fact remains: 40% of all Africans brought to North America from 1700 to 1775 first arrived on Sullivan’s Island.
Few historical monuments and markers pay (and are planned to pay) tribute to the millions of enslaved Africans:
• Bench by The Road - a 6-foot-long structure with a small bronze plaque mounted on its back. The bench was revealed last summer during the Fifth Biennial on Sullivan’s Island in a ceremony lead by Toni Morrison, the 1st African American Nobel Prize for Literature winner and main catalyst of the project.
• A marker erected in 1999 that says tens of thousands of African captives arrived on Sullivan’s Island’s shores between 1700 and 1775.
• Future planned exhibit “Passages” connects the West Coast of Africa with Lowcountry Gullah-Geechee culture.
• Future commemorative markers of the four Pest Houses where slaves were quarantined and kept in abominable conditions. The houses were demolished at the end of the 18th century so residents could better enjoy their island.
Admission to Fort Moultrie is FREE. The fort is open 9AM – 5PM year around except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Check out these awesome photos that several visitors posted on Flickr.
More area attractions
• Fort Sumter in the Charleston Harbor where the Civil War started. Free admission, must pay for ferry to get there
• USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier in Mount Pleasant. “The Fighting Lady” is home to dozens incredible war jets, a submarine, a flight simulator and more.
• Charles Towne Landing, the birthplace of Charleston and South Carolina, is an incredible park featuring a historic trail, Horry plantation ruins and the Animal Forest Zoo.
Filed under: Charleston, Daniel Island, Folly Beach, Fort Moultrie, Free Things to Do, Historic Carolina Sites, Inspirational, Isle of Palms, Museums, Sullivan's Island | Tagged: amazing Revolutionary War monuments, Charleston free things to do with kids, Ed Madded Molasses poem, Fort Moultrie interesting facts, Fort Moultrie mystery tunnels, free monuments to visit Isle of Palms and Sullivan Island, inspirational free family activities around Charleston, Lowcountry dark history, Lowcountry tales folklore haunts, South Carolina African American monuments, Sullivan's Island Gullah history, Toni Morrison Bench by the Road | 8 Comments »