Slave cabins


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Slave cabins

  1. 1. Name: _____________________________Date: ________Saved: S.C. Slave Cabins By Tricia McCarter-Joseph | Online Only | Dec. 2, 2009 Former slave cabin in Anderson, S.C. Credit: Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation A row of four small houses believed to be slave cabins were discovered in South Carolina last month. The 800-square-foot structures have since been purchased by the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, which wants them to be restored as houses or offices. The cabins were built in the mid-1800s in Anderson, S.C., located betweenAtlanta and Charlotte, N.C. In August, after the houses current owner applied for ademolition permit, the citys board of architecture review condemned the buildings. Thenboard members called on Michael Bedenbaugh, executive director of the Palmetto Trust,to investigate the historic value of the houses, just five blocks from Andersons historicdistrict. During a visit, Bedenbaugh examined the foundation bricks for clues about whenthe houses may have been built. He says he suspects that the houses were part of a "slavealley," one of only a few in the upstate region. The Palmetto Trust purchased the housesfrom the owner for about $6,200. Last month about 20 locals gathered to clean up the houses, some of which wereoccupied by tenants. A contractor boarded up some windows and doors. "It was a safetyissue, since vagrants were getting into the buildings, and we were concerned about a firebreaking out," says Amanda Noble, a representative of Anderson Heritage, a localpreservation group, and a member of the citys board of architecturereview. "Its been an exciting project to be involved in. In the course of three months, itwas saved, when it could have easily been demolished." Bedenbaugh says that a morethorough review is under way to determine more about the history of the structures and toconfirm their designation as contributing structures to the historic district. "We hope touse these buildings as a way to research and understand a lot about Andersons historyover the last 150 years," he says, adding that he would like to pursue having themdesignated National Historic Landmarks. More research will reveal more of the story, Noble says. "There have been somehistoric structures that were lost before Anderson Heritage and the Palmetto Trust wereformed. We feel that these buildings are part of a working piece of property [such as aplantation], and it gives us a glimpse of the way the area developed over the years," shesays. Bedenbaughs group hopes to find a buyer willing to renovate the properties aseither residential or commercial properties.
  2. 2. 1. Do you think the cabins are actual slave cabins? Why?2. Is rebuilding these cabins an appropriate use for them? Could they be usedas residences? Would you live in one?3. If they are not being preserved as they were, does it matter if they are torndown? Is it a loss?Using your answers to these questions, construct an essay arguing for publicfunding for the preservation of these cabins, or for their destruction.