Dancing has a wonderful way of taking us to a special place where we can embrace the moment and forget our worries, if only for a few minutes. It's enjoyable, healthy, and a great way to connect with others who share your passions. It can also be magical, like when you hear your favorite song and nail a high-energy dance routine that you've been practicing. But for new and seasoned dancers looking for classes in The Palmetto State, what options are there to consider?
If you're reading this and looking for a dance studio in South Carolina, look no further than Holy City Dance Center. From first-time beginners to experienced dancers with hours of on-stage experience, Holy City Dance has the leadership, facility, and classes to keep you moving to the music all year long.
When you choose Holy City Dance, you get much more than a place to practice new dance moves - you get access to an elite dancing experience in a warm, welcoming environment full of feel-good juju purpose-driven instruction. We believe that dance lessons and dancing in general help produce happy people. As such, we do everything in our power to provide a happy, positive studio in which dancers, new and old, can learn and express themselves.
Every member of our leadership team and staff is professional, talented, and, perhaps most importantly, fully committed to safely and lovingly guiding dancers. While we specialize in teaching dance lessons, we also focus on building character and kindness - especially for our younger students. At the end of the day, our goal is to combine the best aspects of hard work and dance to create a fulfilling and fun experience for all.
With a long list of both youth and adult dance lessons near Cainhoy, SC, Holy City Dance Center offers something for everyone, whether you're looking to join a new performance team or a simple Mommy & Me program. Whether you are two or 102 years old, we want you in class having fun!!
Our class lessons include the following:
Wondering whether or not our dance center is the right fit for you and your family? Located at 1939 Clements Ferry Road in Cainhoy, SC, we take a lot of pride in our facility and like to think that shows as soon as you walk through our front doors. With 4000 sq. ft. of space, we're able to provide the best everything you or your loved one needs for a high-quality dance education.
Our dance features many amenities that dancers love, including the following:
Each of our dance rooms is fully equipped with unique sub-flooring to help sustain joint health and to ensure our students can train in a safe environment.
We incorporate Vinyl Marley flooring in studios one and two to help reduce injury and promote better training. In studio three, we have applied special acoustic flooring made specifically for tap dancers. By providing enhanced flooring for our students, we can better ensure they enjoy a professional, purposeful dancing experience.
Need to wait while your little one or spouse finishes dancing classes? Our lobby is spacious and has free high-speed WiFi, so you can surf the web or get work done while you wait.
When our students aren't in class, they have their own lounge with lockers where they can change and enjoy each other's company.
Pull up a chair in our lobby and get a peek into our process! Whether you're a student, parent, or spouse, our livestreams are fun and educational to watch.
At Holy City Dance Center, we're proud to offer dancing classes for all ages, from recreational programming for very young students to programs for teens and adults. Thinking we might not have a class for you if you're a beginner? Think again! No matter your experience level, we've got a dance program to help you grow.
A few of our most popular dance programs include the following:
Our recreational youth programs are a great way for kids to learn about dance while practicing balance, motor skills, discipline, and much more.
For toddlers who love to dance and move around, we offer a 45-minute Creative Movement class that focuses on basic ballet movements. This class is designed for boys and girls between the ages of 2 and 3 years old and aims to help fine-tune gross motor skills while building a passion for dance at an early age. To ensure that our young dancers stay engaged throughout the year, we integrate music, props, and seasonal themes into our lessons. Moms are welcome to join in on the fun or simply watch their little ones shine.
If your little one is between the ages of three and four and interested in dance, these hour-long classes are a great way for them to learn about different styles. Props, music, and games are still incorporated, but with added technical elements that will expand their dance knowledge and prepare them for a successful dance career. During each class session, students will focus on both style offerings and should ensure they have the necessary shoes and attire for each.
This package mimics our Pre-K Combo with all of the same features but is tailored to older children between the ages of five and seven.
For children aged five to seven, this 45-minute class offers a fun and lively introduction to hip-hop dance. While training, students will learn the fundamentals and vocabulary of hip-hop in an upbeat environment.
These dance classes near Cainhoy, SC, are best suited for beginner and intermediate students between the ages of eight and eighteen.
For those who wish to delve into the intricacies of tap technique, these classes run for 45 minutes and cover all the fundamental tap moves. As students progress to higher-level classes, they will build on their skills and expand their repertoire. The classes include warm-up exercises, center-floor work, across-the-floor combinations, and complex choreography.
For students dedicated to improving their jazz technique's precision and intensity, these classes are the perfect fit. The classes run for a duration of 45 minutes and cover a range of activities, including a rigorous warm-up with a focus on flexibility training, center-floor work, across-the-floor combinations, and sharp choreography.
Our ballet classes are structured to help students master classical Vaganova techniques through barre exercises, center floor work, across-the-floor combinations, flexibility training, and explanations of ballet terminology. Each class is 1.5 hours long.
These 45-minute classes are designed for students who love to have fun and be the center of attention. They are perfect for lively, cheerful, and enthusiastic learners who want a welcoming and secure environment to express their energy. The classes concentrate on teaching the basics of footwork, body rolls, dynamics, and other essential dance skills.
If you're a student looking to express yourself through contemporary dance, these 45-minute classes are perfect for you. They focus on exploring the connection between emotion and movement, incorporating elements of lyrical dance, floor work, partnering, and improvisation. Through these methods, you'll be able to experience a sense of free movement and develop your own unique contemporary dance style.
These classes focus on building strength and flexibility for dancers while prioritizing injury prevention. Consisting of 45 to 60-minute sessions, taking this class one to two times a week can improve dancers' movement quality, style-specific skills, endurance, and prolong their dance careers.
Other recreational dance programs at Holy City Dance Center include:
If you're looking for a dance studio near Cainhoy, SC, that offers dance lessons for working adults, look no further than Holy City Dance Center. Our adult dance classes cater to all ages and abilities, from beginners to advanced. We aim to create a free and open environment where adult dancers can express themselves.
It's time to get those jazz hands moving! This 45-minute beginner-intermediate jazz class includes warm-up, strength training, center floor work, across-the-floor combinations, and sharp choreography.
This one-hour ballet class focuses on the power and accuracy of ballet technique. The class includes a well-planned barre warm-up, exercises for stretching and strengthening, center floor work, combinations across the floor, and ballet choreography.
This class is designed for those who are new to line dancing or need to refresh their skills. We will review choreographed steps and dances at a slower pace, covering the basics of line dancing and common dance terms. Each week, we will also learn at least one new dance.
Additional adult dance programs offered by Holy City Dance Center include:
Hip-Hop - This fun class features a structured walkthrough of the high-energy dance techniques known in hip-hop dancing.
Contemporary - Learn how to show emotion through dancing while adopting a free sense of stylization and movement.
Tap - If you're a beginner or intermediate dancer craving a journey that explores the precision and complexity of tap dancing, this class is for you.
At Holy City Dance Center, we welcome students of all ages and experience levels. In fact, many of our students come to us with little-to-no dancing experience. We work closely with these students to help develop their dancing fundamentals and gradually incorporate new techniques and styles. If you know that you want to begin dancing but feel like the learning curve is too high, don't worry. We can help build your skill and confidence step-by-step with beginner dance lessons near Cainhoy, SC.
To help you along the way and expedite the learning process, keep these easy-to-implement tips in mind.
Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, the secret to becoming a great dancer is having the desire to excel. Always remember the reasons why you love dancing, as it will motivate you in moments of discouragement or lethargy. Ignite your passion by watching dance performances, chatting with fellow dancers, attending dance events, or simply listening to music that gets you moving.
Dancing without taking the time to warm up is sort of like baking biscuits without preheating your oven. You might be anxious to jump in and start, but doing so can leave you deflated and unprepared. Dancing with a cold and stiff body can be unpleasant and may lead to muscle injuries. Therefore, it's advisable to warm up and stretch before dancing. Doing so will help you move with greater range and control and also reduce the risk of injuries.
Always keep in mind that dancing is supposed to be a fun activity, not a burden or a source of anxiety. Dancing should be an outlet for those negative emotions! When you come for lessons at Holy City Dance Center, you can look forward to a fun, inviting atmosphere. No matter how many (or how few) dance moves you know, you can always have a good time learning how to dance with the right instructors and partners. Relax, have fun, and go with the flow. You'll be happy you did.
To improve your dancing skills, it's best to narrow down the specific styles you want to learn and focus on their foundational movements. One thing that all dance styles have in common is the "groove." You may not know it, but you probably groove out naturally to music all the time. Do you bob your head while driving or sway side to side at the club? If so, you've got the groove. Practicing grooves and becoming more comfortable with your body's movements will help you look better while dancing, whether in class, at a performance, or anywhere else.
When you first start dancing, it's common to want to dance with the same partner or friend. However, this can become boring over time. To avoid this, try dancing with a variety of people, especially when you're still learning the dance. Each person's interpretation of the music will give you a new perspective on the dance. You may worry about dancing with someone who is more advanced or less skilled than you. However, dancing with different people can help you practice being a good leader or follower. Every dance can be an opportunity to learn and grow. That's why, at Holy City Dance Center, we encourage multiple dance partners in applicable programs.
They say that repetition is key when it comes to learning a skill, and that's especially true when dancing. Practicing techniques over and over helps them become ingrained in your muscle memory, allowing you to execute them effortlessly. For instance, Popping exercises can enhance your control and control. House Step routines can improve your footwork and make you more comfortable on the dance floor. Whatever the dance style, start by nailing down and repeating elementary techniques. Before you know it, you'll be executing full routines from muscle memory.
Whether you're looking for an extracurricular outlet for your child or want to learn how to tap dance in your 40s, our dance studio near Cainhoy, SC, is the premier choice for quality dance lessons. Our instructors are passionate about bringing your dancing dreams to life and are committed to providing you with an experience like no other. If you're ready to dance with your heart, your feet are sure to follow. All it takes is a little guidance and inspiration. Contact our dance studio today and take the first step toward a true dancing education tomorrow.
A new mixed-used development is planned on 30 acres on the Cainhoy peninsula, not far from Interstate 526....
A new mixed-used development is planned on 30 acres on the Cainhoy peninsula, not far from Interstate 526.
Property owner Cato Ad Holdings LLC of Charlotte wants to subdivide eight lots and add two private rights-of-way on 30 acres at 2620 Clements Ferry Road for a commercial development called Towne at Cooper River.
The Berkeley County site is zoned for general commercial use in the city of Charleston. It sits along Enterprise Boulevard adjacent to Klister Lane and across from the entrance to Beresford Run subdivision. Cooper River Farms Apartments are behind the wooded parcel.
The developer wants to build multifamily units, medical offices and retail on the site.
Two new commercial buildings soon will be available in a developing master-planned community in the Charleston area.
A retail building and separate office structure will be completed in November in Brighton Court at 318 and 320 Brighton Park Boulevard in Nexton near Summerville.
The two 7,000-square-foot structures each feature suites up to 1,260 square feet with a courtyard between them.
One of the 12 sites has been leased by fitness firm Stretch Zone. The others remain available.
The two additions will join the development’s first building, which was completed in January 2021 and is occupied by Coastal Fertility Specialists and Summerville Women’s Care.
Charleston is better-positioned in the commercial real estate sector than much larger U.S. markets to stave off economic distress that could result from higher borrowing costs and the unsettled office sector after the pandemic.
That’s the assessment of industry experts who specialize in office, industrial and retail properties.
“There are more tailwinds than headwinds (for Charleston),” said Manus Clancy, senior managing director at Trepp, a New York City-based financial information service for the commercial real estate industry.
“Charleston is strong across all property types,” he said. “You are punching above your weight when it comes to the metrics.”
Clancy noted “a dramatic difference in geography” across the nation for areas affected by the fallout of the shift toward the hybrid model of in-person and remote office work policies.
Large cities, such as San Francisco, Baltimore and Seattle, where the quality-of-life quotient is offset by long commutes, are not faring well after the global health crisis.
“This puts cities like Charleston, Greenville, Austin and Salt Lake City in the driver’s seat to attract more industries,” Clancy said.
He pointed out housing costs are higher in Charleston than most of the rest of South Carolina, but compared to many large metro areas it’s more affordable and the quality of life is attractive in the Lowcountry.
He also noted the area’s labor force is strong and increasingly better educated.
“People want to flock to places where their students can be educated,” Clancy said. “In Charleston, you have the ability to make that case.”
Clancy added the financial industry has not fully recovered from the spring scare instigated by several high-profile bank failures, and credit, especially for the office sector, is going to be harder to come by.
Still, he noted borrowing continues in the commercial real estate market, but at roughly half the pace as last year.
The office market is showing the most stress, with delinquencies of commercial mortgage-backed securities more than doubling from less than 2 percent in December to about 5.5 percent nine months later.
In the Charleston area, vacancy rates for office space average just under 12 percent, based on composite local market reports for the July-September period from the commercial real estate firms of Avison Young, Colliers and Lee & Associates.
The latter firm said it sees an uptick in office occupancy in 2024 as more employers require staffers to show up in person more often. Avison Young echoed the move next year to the hybrid arrangement.
Colliers cited the updated working environments and ease of access as the drivers of the office market, and the firm projected a flattening of vacancies by the first quarter of next year.
Lee Allen, executive managing director for commercial real estate firm JLL in Charleston, said the local office sector never got overbuilt and the risk is lower for newer, more creative offerings.
“What we have seen in the market is a flight to quality,” Allen said.
Business and other employers that are set on bringing workers back to the office two to three days a week want to elevate their experience with a top-notch working environment to keep top talent from jumping ship.
“Companies are saying, ‘If we are going to ask them to come back, we want to have a place where they want to be,’” Allen said.
He pointed to the 12-story Morrison Yard office development, where JLL is a tenant and handles leasing, as an example, saying it’s 85 percent leased after opening earlier this year.
Up the street on Morrison Drive, the three-story Morris, which opened around mid-year, is about a third occupied and more new prospects are looking at the property, said co-owner Thomas Nakios.
“We are seeing a tremendous amount of activity,” he said. “It’s picked up a lot in the last 60 days. I’m glad we are not in one of the larger markets.”
Nakios noted the Charleston region maintained an equilibrium in office space for the most part because of a drop in demand from tenants before the pandemic shut down much of the in-person economy in early 2020.
Stephen Smith, managing director in South Carolina for commercial real estate firm CBRE, said he’s noticed a slightly more guarded approach for prospective tenants but space is still being leased.
“Everybody wants to be in the nicest, newest space in office markets across South Carolina,” he said.
Proposed development would site thousands of homes on flood-prone peninsulaWe just filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Coastal Conservation League, Charleston Waterkeeper, and South Carolina Wildlife Federation over the authorization of a massive development on the Cainhoy peninsula that would fill protective wetlands in an area already vulnerable to flooding.The almost 10,000-acre proposed Cainhoy d...
Proposed development would site thousands of homes on flood-prone peninsula
We just filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Coastal Conservation League, Charleston Waterkeeper, and South Carolina Wildlife Federation over the authorization of a massive development on the Cainhoy peninsula that would fill protective wetlands in an area already vulnerable to flooding.
The almost 10,000-acre proposed Cainhoy development, near the Francis Marion National Forest and already crowded Highway 41, would destroy nearly 200 acres of wetlands that offer critical protection from flooding by storing flood waters.
“The developers should be doing everything they can to minimize destroying wetlands that protect us from flood waters,” said Andrew Wunderley, executive director & waterkeeper of Charleston Waterkeeper. “Damaging hundreds of acres of wetlands is clearly reckless for future occupants of the development.”
In the lawsuit, the groups contend that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to issue the permit violates the Clean Water Act’s prohibition on filling wetlands if there is a less environmentally damaging alternative. During the permitting for this project, the Corps received multiple alternative plans that would have allowed for development of Cainhoy but reduced the impacted wetlands from hundreds of acres to 13.2 acres to zero acres, putting fewer people and homes in the floodplain and reducing flooding risk.
“The Corps itself admits that smarter, safer development alternatives are feasible, so its decision to allow the Cainhoy development to move forward as planned defies common sense,” said Chris DeScherer, director of the Southern Environmental Law Center’s South Carolina office. “Approving a huge new development in such a vulnerable area is completely at odds with ongoing efforts to protect the City of Charleston from flooding and storm surge that happens on a routine basis now.”
In a time when South Carolina’s coast is already vulnerable to rising sea levels and storms that continue to become more powerful, developers should not place new developments in flood-prone areas. The southern section of the Cainhoy peninsula, where thousands of housing units would be built, could see significant flooding and storm surge from a Category 1 hurricane today, in addition to increased risk for flooding over time.
“Not only does the planned development put new residents in the direct path of flood waters, but it will also impact the nearby national forest and wildlife,” said Sara Green, executive director of the South Carolina Wildlife Federation. “The development will remove critical habitat for animals like the red-cockaded woodpecker on the Cainhoy site and negatively impact the national forest, an invaluable natural resource for all.”
Developers are putting the future of Cainhoy residents, as well as significant environmental and cultural resources, at risk simply to make a buck.Jason Crowley, Coastal Conservation League
The Cainhoy development also borders on the Francis Marion National Forest and will harm that forest and species like the red-cockaded woodpecker that live there and on the Cainhoy site.
“With more practical ways to develop this property, it doesn’t make sense that the Corps would approve the destruction and removal of endangered species and impact hundreds of acres of wetlands in order to place thousands of homes in a vulnerable floodplain,” said Jason Crowley, senior director of Communities and Transportation at the Coastal Conservation League. “Developers are putting the future of Cainhoy residents, as well as significant environmental and cultural resources, at risk simply to make a buck.”
What is Cainhoy Peninsula?About 20 miles outside of Charleston, developers are proposing a nearly 10,000-acre residential development on a low-lying and flood-prone peninsula along the tidal Wando River. Much of the development would be built in wetlands that are key to protecting the higher, drier land near them.Adjacent to the Francis Marion National Forest, the Cainhoy project would destroy nearly 200 acres of freshwater wetlands, which provide critical flooding protection. An acre of wetlands holds about 330,000 gallons o...
About 20 miles outside of Charleston, developers are proposing a nearly 10,000-acre residential development on a low-lying and flood-prone peninsula along the tidal Wando River. Much of the development would be built in wetlands that are key to protecting the higher, drier land near them.
Adjacent to the Francis Marion National Forest, the Cainhoy project would destroy nearly 200 acres of freshwater wetlands, which provide critical flooding protection. An acre of wetlands holds about 330,000 gallons of water, so neighborhoods lose flood protection and homes are more likely to be damaged when wetlands are destroyed.
The Charleston area is already seeing the most dramatic impacts of sea level rise; sunny-day flooding on downtown streets is a common encounter. Officials are considering drastic solutions to protect against climate change-related flooding—such as a proposed billion-dollar seawall for downtown Charleston—yet allowing developments in wetlands like the Cainhoy project to proceed. The Southern Environmental Law Center and its partners are fighting back against this irrational and risky approach for Charleston’s future.
Many are drawn to South Carolina’s coast by the high quality of living, easy proximity to the ocean, and favorable tax rate. But as demand goes up, the need for housing increases. And the question of where to build in a changing climate becomes more pressing.
“There are responsible ways to invest in new development for Charleston, but this is not one of them,” said Chris DeScherer, director of SELC’s Charleston office. “You’re talking about putting a small city in a floodplain a few feet above sea level.”
The developer’s plans would place almost half of the new homes and infrastructure on the southern end of the peninsula, which is already vulnerable to flooding and will be at an even greater risk as seas continue rising and as storms continue to become more powerful. For example, at the southern section of the Cainhoy peninsula—where thousands of houses are slated to be built in the floodplain—storm surge from a Category 1 hurricane now could swamp much of the land. And in a future with just one foot of sea level rise, that southern tract will be inundated more and more frequently. With more sea level rise, the land and the homes slated for this area would be in the water.
Working with our partners at the Coastal Conservation League, we commissioned an expert report to examine other, comparable development options with less impact to wetlands While we do not support or endorse any development of this tract, the report demonstrates that the proposed Cainhoy development submitted by the developers to the Army Corps of Engineers is not the least environmentally damaging alternative, as required by law.
Following the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s decision in May to finally approve the permit for the development, SELC has alerted the agency that we intend to file suit in federal court.
This week there are new developments coming before the various City of Charleston boards and committees. Below are those items as well as the application results for items specific to Daniel Island and the Cainhoy area. More detailed agendas and results can be found at charleston-sc.gov/agendacenter.UPCOMINGCITY OF CHARLESTON TECHNICAL REVIEW COMMITTEEFeb. 23: Hawthorne at Clements Ferry Road – Review of revisions to a previously approved site plan for 210-unit multifamily development at 2800 Clements Ferry Road, C...
This week there are new developments coming before the various City of Charleston boards and committees. Below are those items as well as the application results for items specific to Daniel Island and the Cainhoy area. More detailed agendas and results can be found at charleston-sc.gov/agendacenter.
CITY OF CHARLESTON TECHNICAL REVIEW COMMITTEE
Feb. 23: Hawthorne at Clements Ferry Road – Review of revisions to a previously approved site plan for 210-unit multifamily development at 2800 Clements Ferry Road, Cainhoy.
March 2: Marshes at Daniel Island – Review of revisions to previously approved road construction plans for a 56-unit development at 146 Fairbanks Drive.
Thomas Island Marina – Gravel parking lot and restroom building to serve Thomas Island Marina at 100 Sands Preserve Drive, Cainhoy.
Woodfield Daniel Island III – 12-unit townhome (Phase 2 ) of Woodfield Daniel Island III Multifamily (Phase 1) at 350 Henslow Drive.
The Waterfront Phase 3 – Road extension and six single-family lots at 515 Helmsman St., Daniel Island.
Point Hope – Goldfinch Tract – Construction of a mixed-use development containing 192 units of single-family attached homes and amenities in Cainhoy (address to be determined).
Feb. 16: Haswell – A plat for a 20-lot single-family residential subdivision at 509 Seven Farms Drive on Daniel Island. Results: Approval pending final documentation to MS4. Once approved, submit plat to Planning for stamping.
Haswell – Roads for a 20-lot single-family residential subdivision at 509 Seven Farms Drive on Daniel Island. Results: Approval pending final documeentation to Engineering and MS4.
REGULARLY SCHEDULED CITY & COUNTY MEETINGS
Berkeley Co. Bd. of Education is meeting the first and third Tuesday each month through April 2023. Starting May 2023, they will meet the first and third Monday. Executive Committee meets at 5:30 p.m.; meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.
Berkeley Co. Council meets fourth Mon. of each month, 6 p.m., Berkeley County Admin. Blg., 1003 Hwy 52, Moncks Corner.
City of Charleston Council typically meets the second and fourth Tues. of each month, 5 p.m., City Hall, 80 Broad Street, Charleston, SC and/or virtually via Conference Call #1-929-205-6099; Access Code: 912 096 416. Exceptions: Summer Schedule - 3rd Tues. of June, July, and August; December meetings on the 1st and 3rd Tues. Dates and locations subject to change.
City of Charleston Technical Review Committee meets every Thurs. at 9 a.m.via Zoom.
City of Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals – Site Design meets the 1st Wed. of each month at 5 p.m. via Zoom.
City of Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals – Zoning meets the 1st and 3rd Tues. of each month at 5:15 p.m., except for January and July when no meeting is held on the 1st Tues.
City of Charleston Design Review Board meets the 1st and 3rd Mon. of every month at 4:30 p.m.
City of Charleston Planning Commission meets the 3rd Wed. of every month at 5 p.m.
City of Charleston Board of Architectural Review – Large projects meets the 2nd and 4th Wed. of every month at 4:30 p.m.
City of Charleston Board of Architectural Review – Small projects meets the 2nd and 4th Thurs. of every month at 4:30 p.m.
All meetings are open for public comment except the City of Charleston Technical Review Committee meetings.
For more information, contacts for specific projects and on location and time of the meetings or to learn more, visit charleston-sc.gov/AgendaCenter/.
CAINHOY — This place along the Wando River once was remote. Millennia past, it was inhabited by native tribes. In the late 1600s, it was colonized by Europeans. In the early 1700s, Presbyterians called this area home and established their Dissenter Church.The McDowell Cemetery, located on a bluff overlooking a salt marsh, included a Meeting House that was converted into a hospital during the Revolutionary War. By the early 1800s, Methodists had settled the area. Enslaved laborers worked on nearby plantations. Buri...
CAINHOY — This place along the Wando River once was remote. Millennia past, it was inhabited by native tribes. In the late 1600s, it was colonized by Europeans. In the early 1700s, Presbyterians called this area home and established their Dissenter Church.
The McDowell Cemetery, located on a bluff overlooking a salt marsh, included a Meeting House that was converted into a hospital during the Revolutionary War. By the early 1800s, Methodists had settled the area. Enslaved laborers worked on nearby plantations.
After the Civil War, many of Cainhoy’s formerly enslaved people established the Jack Primus community. They buried their loved ones on the bluff adjacent to the McDowell Cemetery.
For 150 years, the dead lay undisturbed. But the land nearby is now transforming into a new subdivision, Oak Bluff, and the development threatens to erase part of the old dirt road that leads to the cemetery and possibly impinge on yet-to-be-discovered remains.
Recent surveys of the property conducted on behalf of local residents hoping to protect the graveyards have identified several visible African American gravesites just outside the fence delineating McDowell Cemetery. Dozens of below-ground “anomalies” detected by ground-penetrating radar suggest additional graves, as many as 40 or so, according to Grant Mishoe, a historical researcher for The Gullah Society.
While the White graves inside the defined cemetery are part of a property now deeded to the Cainhoy Methodist Church and Cemetery “Old Ruins” Corp., the Black graves are located on private property that now belongs to Crescent Homes.
What’s more, the dirt access road leading from Clements Ferry Road to the graveyard is identified in the cemetery property deed as under easement, but its legal status was not known by the developer before the neighborhood was permitted and designed. Now a few houses to be built during Phase 1C could interfere with the road unless last-minute changes are made.
Complicating matters is the possibility that some African American graves also might be located very near the dirt road and by the current entrance to the White cemetery where the road terminates. Originally, the path continued past the cemetery and around the old Meeting House, leading into the graveyard from the south, according to MaeRe Chandler Skinner, chairwoman of the Old Ruins Corp.
A 2015 archeological study by Brockington and Associates, done for the previous property owner, did reveal the African American burial ground but not its potential scale or boundaries.
Skinner and several other community members, including Black leaders in Cainhoy, are hoping to merge the two burial grounds in order to better manage and maintain the gravesites. They are petitioning the developer to make changes to well-established and approved plans in order to safeguard the remains of African Americans buried outside the fence.
The Preservation Society of Charleston has asked the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, which has jurisdiction over burial grounds, to intervene. In a March 10 letter, Preservation Society Director of Advocacy Brian Turner wrote: “We believe there to be a strong likelihood that the current owner will encounter this burial ground should it receive permits for excavation and grading of Phase 1C.”
Bob Pickard, vice president of land development for Oak Bluff Development LLC, a subsidiary of Crescent Homes, wrote in an email that his company carefully followed permitting guidelines spelled out by the city of Charleston and DHEC.
“The permitting process took over three years and included an extensive archeological study of the site,” Pickard wrote. “This study was incorporated into the site design to ensure there were no adverse impacts to sensitive areas, including burial sites. The plans were reviewed and approved by multiple agencies, and their relevant departments, including the state Historical Preservation Office.”
In a letter to Crescent Homes in September, Skinner asked for the road to be left “as it is” to ensure easy access. She requested that a professional archaeologist use ground-penetrating radar “to locate the many African American graves that we know are just north of the fenced-in area before any homes are planned on or near that section of the Cemetery.”
Citing a 2015 agreement between the developer and the corporation, she also asked for a new fence to encompass not only the White cemetery but also the Black burial ground.
Skinner and other local residents, including African Americans living in the Jack Primus community such as Fred Lincoln, are concerned about getting in and out, stormwater runoff, vandalism, safety, funeral parking and processions, and other issues that have not been adequately addressed, according to the letter.
“We need DHEC to intervene so we can investigate the private property (where Black graves are located),” Lincoln said.
Excavation equipment, hearses and other vehicles need to be able to move in and out of the cemetery area, said Lincoln and Skinner. Should they do so through the new residential neighborhood?
The disputes over the property could be because it is subject to multiple jurisdictions. It’s located in Berkeley County but part of the city of Charleston. State agencies such as the Historical Preservation Office and DHEC assess such sites, determine their environmental and historical significance and oversee any impacts to burial grounds.
Even the federal government could get involved should the Old Ruins Corp. or others petition for the site’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, something surveyor Brockington and Associates did not rule out.
Skinner said she’s been trying to get help from the city of Charleston for three years. City officials defer to DHEC whenever human remains are involved in any dispute.
“Oak Bluff Development, LLC has been a good faith partner in this process and stands by its commitment to develop this site responsibly and in accordance with applicable regulations,” Pickard wrote in his statement.