by Lydia Bogar
I love “The Low Country”–its history, culture, and food–which makes the Carolinas a good draw. But the fact that my “best-est” friend lives on Pawley’s Island makes it an even more alluring destination.
I am also a book and library junkie who particularly likes reading local histories while visiting. In the process, I’ve become a bit of a Civil War buff of which there is a ton in this area. On Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, there is a gem of a library that provides all of that and more.
For the past forty years, the Edgar Allen Poe Public Library on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina has enjoyed its new “old” home in the upgraded Gadsden Battery.
The Battery, built in 1903 and named to the National Register of Historic Places in July of 1974, hosted four six-inch guns during its active military. The gun mounts remain in place today. The walls are two feet thick, and it survived a direct hit by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
Colonel James Gadsden, for whom the Battery was named, was an engineer during the War of 1812, and during the Seminole Wars, he was the Quartermaster General of the Florida Volunteers at Fort Moultrie located just down the road. The fort is open to visitors and provides great views of Charleston Harbor, perfect for sunrise photographers
Why Poe? The American writer was stationed on Sullivan’s Island in 1827, and he used this unique barrier island as the setting for his story, The Gold Bug. The 2,000 square foot library (serving Sullivan’s Island population of nearly 2,000) houses over 15,000 books and remains well protected from storms (including its most recent visitor, Irma). As part of its most recent upgrade, the library is now equipped with both Wi-Fi and computer work stations. If, like me, you are a history buff or, also like me, enjoy seeking out unique, even strange buildings, the Edgar Allen Poe Library is for you. (The address is 1921 Ion Avenue, and the GPS coordinates are 32.7597 N, 79.8406 W.)
Another truly unique spot is Dunleavy’s Pub, around the corner from the library, at 2213 Middle Street. The pub is a piece of real New England in the deep south whose owners are transplanted New Englanders themselves. They host a fabulous annual party on Fenway’s Opening Day and have treated patrons to celebrations of two of the three most recent Super Bowl wins–in style. (Their web address is www.dunleavysonsullivan.com and their coordinates are 32.7632323 N, -79.8367511 W.)
After all, who doesn’t get thirsty at the library?
Our own “Renaissance Woman,” Lydia has done everything from teaching English to doing volunteer emergency service. We’re lucky to have her volunteering, these days, to help with BOLLI Matters!