Browntown on the move 3110 Johnsonville Hwy, Lake City, SC 29560, Phone (843) 389-29560
January 15th, 2015 The Browntown Museum is under new management.
Originally a project of the Three Rivers Historical Society, it has
been separated as its own entity now, whose sole purpose is the
preservation and maintenance of the museum. We are excited about this
We have lots of ideas and events are being planned
for the future but the most important thing is getting people involved. We would like to do more "living history" demonstrations of old arts and crafts that show how our forefathers lived.
One of the first changes we are making is to have
the museum open to the public every 2nd Saturday from 10am-4pm.
Admission is FREE for the time being!
Come visit and let us know what you think of the
Browntown museum and its many attributes. We welcome suggestions about
what we can do to improve the museum or raise money for repairs.
Perhaps you would like to get involved and help with projects or events.
Browntown Museum is an
historical treasure that must be preserved and enhanced. The pearl is
the Eli Whitney cotton gin and gin house on their original site, and on
the National Historic Register. The rest of the buildings are typical
of a mid-nineteenth century farmstead, with many artifacts and
memorabilia from a wide range of historic times.
At the moment we are focused on three building projects, which involve some urgency:
Foremost is the need for repairs to save our Gin House, which has
become structurally unstable. It is over 150 years old and listed on
the National Register of Historical Places. It is an unique asset to
the area in which we live and is an irreplaceable part of history.
gin housed on the upper floor was driven by a circular mule track
at ground level, through these intricately hand carved wooded gears.
|A support post for the upper story is leaning
|This brace, installed after damage
by Hurricane Hugo, is now failing.
|One of the support posts has extensive rot.
We could get a local contractor to shore up the building for
around $10,000, but are seeking professional help and advice, in that
we want to be historically accurate. This means it will probably cost a
great deal more, likely as much as $40 - 50,000.
Our second project is almost as urgent. On the campus is one of the
oldest homes in the area. The framing and wood peg joinery are unique.
The roof was lifted off this historic home last year by a tornado and
it is exposed to the elements.
home, used later as a tobacco packhouse is the oldest building on the
property, at least from the early 1800s, and possibly even from the
|The pegged construction is characteristic of very early buildings. No nails were used to make this door.
|The tornado took the roof into the woods. Fortunately all the framing is intact and can be salvaged.
|Historical preservationist Mike Bedenborough notes some of the unique features of this very old home.
We've been told that it must be re-covered as soon as possible
to prevent any further deterioration. A local contractor has
volunteered to do this job at a partial donation of services, and we
expect to be starting this soon. We anticipate this project will run
around $10,000, just to get the building secure. There has been
discussion of moving it back to its original site, which would be a
good thing for several reasons, but would require additional funds.
Update: the roof repairs on our oldest building have been
completed and the building is closed and protected from damage. We are
grateful for help from many sources that enabled this repair. More on
The Epps House, a 1920s-era home with rich archetectural detail as well.
The third project is the completion of the Vernon Epps house which was
donated to us, along with his extensive collection of historic
memorabilia. This was moved to Browntown from Lake City and is to
become our new headquarters, with office space, meeting rooms, display
areas, etc. We have already spent about $50,000 on this project and we
are about half through. Completion involves insulation, wiring, some
re-siding and painting, interior repairs, etc. Strict local building
codes have made the project much more costly than expected.
Upgrades in staffing, programs, displays, hours of operation, and
cataloguing of artifacts are in the works. This is something we do for
our children and grandchildren, that they may remember!
We will be seeking foundation grants and other assistance from government bodies, as well as support from the public. To help with these projects, please
mail your contributions to:
3110 Johnsonville Hwy.
Lake City, SC 29560