Seashore Farmers Lodge - James Island, South Carolina

The Seashore Farmers Lodge sits on what was once the Solomon Legare plantation and marks the site of the Civil War Battle of Sol-Legare Island, where the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts entered combat for the first time. After the Civil War, the 850-acre tract of land was divided and sold to "freedmen.” The resilient African American farming community of Sol Legare made this small sea island their home. Farmers purchased land for and constructed a 2-story community center in 1915. They established the Lodge in the fraternal order of the Seashore Farmers of the Lowcountry and instilled a sense of shared responsibility in the community of Sol Legare. Everyone was a member and a communal cup waited by the door to collect extra change for those that fell in need. Everyone contributed donations and everyone had access, and this modest 5-bay frame building became the heart of the community, serving as a school, church and meeting place.  
By the late 1980s the lodge had fallen into extreme disrepair. The 1 story porch and shiplap siding had failed, and in the early 2000s, the building was condemned with a gaping hole in the tin roof.


But the spirit of the Lodge survived. Drums had once signaled important meetings and events at the Lodge, and when the property was listed on the National Register in 2007, it was as though that drum roll began again. Seashore Farmers Lodge received its first major push for restoration, and grants, donations and a strong team of volunteers came together.Work began in 2009. The structure needed a new foundation, as part of the original was a large tree trunk. By repairing or replacing unsalvageable joists, studs and siding, the building was sturdy enough to lift 3 feet off the ground for room to dig a new footing. Entirely new rafters were rough-cut milled to match the original 2x10s. The roof was covered with 5V-crimped tin, an exact replica of the original. Thanks to a true community effort, the Lodge restoration moved forward. The porch was rebuilt on the south and west sides. The simple full-panel shutters covering most of the windows were repaired, and the Seashore Farmers Lodge once again opened its eyes to Sol Legare.  Source of textual background: 
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