Coming Street Cemetery Tours

11 09 2014

BlockParty 2014 As part of the 2014 Neighborhood Revival this Sunday (14 September 2014) for Elliotborough-Cannonborough, two tours of the Coming St. Jewish Cemetery will be conducted. The tours start at 3pm and 4pm and are free to the public.

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The Coming Street Cemetery is located at 189 Coming Street, in Charleston, South Carolina. This Jewish cemetery, one of the oldest in the United States was founded in 1762 and is the oldest Jewish burial ground in the South. Burials in the Coming Street Cemetery are now restricted to the few vacancies in the adjacent family plots. The cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.


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From the 2012 tours
2012-09-16 at 13-13-53
2012-09-16 at 13-27-01
2012-09-16 at 13-30-18


StoryCorps Charleston 2012

27 11 2012

One of the missions of Friends of Dereef Park is to document oral histories of people who grew up in the neighborhoods of Cannonborough-Elliotborough and Radcliffeborough. The first step was to begin gathering names at the September Revival block party of individuals willing to participate and I’m happy to report we gathered over 20 names and contact details.

The Charleston visit from the StoryCorps project allowed us to act on our mission and I’m thrilled that Friends of Dereef Park was able to sponsor four sessions. The mission of StoryCorps is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives and each session is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. While the sessions are a short 40 minutes and by no means a complete oral history, they do allow us the opportunity to start engaging with residents and they provide a broader platform to share our community stories. We are working to highlight the contributions of all our neighborhood residents and institutions regardless of social, cultural or economic background. Dr. Kerry Taylor’s recent comments on the East Side further demonstrates why it is important we continue to work together to achieve our goals, because regardless of West or East, regular people worked to make a difference in their communities and their stories shouldn’t be forgotten.

“I think about the East Side in the context of Charleston’s broader commemorative landscape–the constellation of plantations, historic homes, carriage tours, and museums through which we explore the past. These are the major attractions for the 4.5 million tourists who come to the area each year. It is a commemorative landscape that by and large projects what I consider to be bad values. These are the values of conspicuous consumption, racism, domination and subordination, and violence. Within the larger framework of historic Charleston, the East Side offers itself as a democratic counterpoint to the Battery as it reflects working class traditions of craft pride, mutual aid, and collective struggle–values that are promising and hopeful.”

Remarks from “Between The Tracks at 25 Symposium,” held at Trident Technical College on October 23, 2012.

Below are some pictures of our participants and stay tuned for our finished project.

Leila Potts-Campbell, Bernard Fielding, and Julia-Ellen Davis – a session on Herbert A. DeCosta, Jr., who lived and worked on Spring Street.



Mary Miller and Lois Simms – a session on the life of Ms. Simms and her witness of the changes in Dereef Park



Rovena Hazel Owens and Peggy Clement – a session on their childhood summers



Ann Blandin, Rosetta Givens Mitchell, and Beatrice Givens– a session on the United Order of Tents

More troubles for Charleston’s United Order of Tents

18 09 2012

Someone wants this property REAL HARD. My question is how does a Nonprofit Fraternal Organization owe back taxes if they’re exempt?

Check out 1.G. under Exemptions


5 06 2012

Sometimes it feels as if our neighborhood is under attack.

© 2012 David Templeton

United Order of Tents could lose home
By Glenn Smith

The cream and green building with the rusted iron gate looms large over Cannon Street, a hodgepodge of architectural styles that has been home to a secretive sisterhood for more than a half-century.

The United Order of Tents has weathered civil war, segregation and strife since its birth in the late 1800s. But now, the ravages of time and city building codes threaten to leave the group homeless.

The Tents are facing a monster repair bill to shore up their crumbling building, which has developed severe structural issues. The repair costs could run in the neighborhood of $700,000, and the Tents just don’t have that kind that kind of cash on hand.

Preservation groups are rallying to help the group, run entirely by black women, many of whom are elderly. But in the meantime, Charleston officials have hauled the group into the city’s Livability Court, and a judge has given the Tents until early next month to board up the place.

Read the full article @ The Post and Courier

A New Life for Dereef Park

1 06 2012

From Charleston City Paper – 02/13/2012

Neighbors act to save historic African-American church, downtown green space
by Paul Bowers

Photo by Adam Chandler

Lois Simms still remembers the sound of voices exulting in worship at the church across the street. In the 1940s, she was a child growing up in the same house on Morris Street where she lives today, and even from the living room, she could hear the a capella offering of hymns most afternoons in the plain wooden chapel.

Read the complete article @ Charleston City Paper

The Life and Times of Dereef Park

1 06 2012

From the Charleston City Paper 08/03/2011

A parable of gentrification

Photo by Hunter McRae

by Paul Bowers

Dereef Park is not the same place it was in 2002. Back then, the tree-shaded clearing between Morris and Cannon streets was a notorious haunt for alcoholics and heroin addicts, not the family-friendly enclave it is today.

“At one point, it was a questionable place,” says Elliott Dobson. She moved into a house just around the corner from the park in 2002. That was also the year when the City of Charleston gave a developer the go-ahead to build on the lot where the park’s grassy field and playground stand.

Read the complete article @ Charleston City Paper