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Grand Army of the Republic Hall — Beaufort, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Beaufort County  |  Grand Army of the Republic Hall

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Grand Army of the Republic Hall

The Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization founded in 1866, was comprised of Union veterans of the Civil War. Also known as the GAR, the society included chapters for white veterans and separate chapters for black veterans. Called David Hunter Post Number 9, this chapter in Beaufort was a black post formed in 1888; many of the veterans in this chapter had been former slaves on nearby Sea Island cotton plantations.

Grand Army Hall

Vanessa Kauffmann of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Veterans of the United States Colored Troops named their local post after General David Hunter. General Hunter was famous for illegally emancipating slaves in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida following the capture of Fort Pulaski on the Savannah River on April 10, 1862. President Lincoln rescinded the order – known as General Order No. 11 – for political reasons, though he then permanently emancipated slaves on January 1, 1863. General Hunter also founded the 1st South Carolina Volunteer Regiment, comprised of black soldiers from Union-occupied districts.

GAR Hall Beaufort

Vanessa Kauffmann of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Members built this meeting house in 1896. Alice Washington, a descendant of Fred S. Washington, tells us that, “[A]ccording to a deed, David Hunter Post No. 9 rewarded the ‘Fred S. Washington Woman’s Relief Corps the Hall and grounds for their part and to help to pay for the Hall and for their willingness in helping to care for the veterans.’ A partial list of those who signed the deed was Leroy Gibbs, Moses Brown, and Edward Wallace, Commander. This was done June 15, 1896.”

Grand Army Marker

Vanessa Kauffmann of Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

One of the more famous members of the David Hunter Post Number 9 was Robert Smalls, a former slave remembered for commandeering the CSS Planter and piloting himself, his family, and his crew to freedom. Smalls then served in the Union forces before being elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1868 and then to the South Carolina Senate in 1870. He served in the United States Congress from 1875 through 1879, from 1882 through 1883, and again from 1884 until 1887.

Today the Grand Army of the Republic Hall serves as an event site, hosting occasions ranging from weddings to meetings. The building is maintained by private groups including the Union Veterans of the Civil War and the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War.

The Grand Army of the Republic Hall is listed in the National Register as part of the Beaufort Historic District:

Beaufort is significant for its role as a major center of South Carolina’s antebellum plantation culture, its contribution to the history of the Civil War, and for its role it played in African-American history both during and after the war. Architecturally, the district is significant both for the high-style architecture produced by its pre-war planters and for the folk architectural patterns of its post-war African-American community. The antebellum architecture, unlike that of Charleston and Savannah, is generally made up of free standing Federal, Early Classical Revival, and Greek Revival style houses on large lots that is more akin to the architecture of the Southern plantations of the period, plantations brought to town and adapted to the heat of the summer weather and dampness of lowlands, as well as to the aesthetics of their waterfront settings.

The town’s present appearance owes much to the events of the period between ca.1860 and ca. 1935. The buildings and structures constructed during this period display a variety of architectural forms and styles, including Italianate, Gothic Revival, Victorian, Queen Anne, and Neo-Classical, and reflect the development of the town in the last half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. In the 1870s, more modest houses were built on vacant lots in the older parts of town. One type was a five bay I-house, similar in form to many of the antebellum mansions, but reduced in size and of balloon construction using sawn lumber. The second type was a three-bay, gable fronted house, often with Italianate or Eastlake detail. Many antebellum homes were also updated during this period with commercially milled porch details, bay windows, and larger window glass. Colonial Revival made an impact on residential building after the hurricane of 1893, and the bungalow dominated new construction before and after World War I. Commercial construction also reflected increasing prosperity. The historic district includes 475 contributing resources and 350 noncontributing resources.

Grand Army of the Republic Hall Info

Address: 706 Newcastle Street, Beaufort, SC 29902
GPS Coordinates: 32.435565,-80.674197

Grand Army of the Republic Hall Map

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6 Comments about Grand Army of the Republic Hall

Elijah Washington says:
October 5th, 2019 at 8:02 am

Any information regarding the Grand Army of the Republic Hall located at 706 Newcastle Street in the City of Beaufort, SC should be obtained from the following: SUVCW of Beaufort, P. O. Box 1961, Beaufort, SC 29901 (Attn: Commander).

[…] at the last stop of the day, here at the Grand Army of the Republic Hall, outside of which I spotted parked a red Ford F250 pickup truck with a bumper sticker that read […]

SCIWAY says:
March 25th, 2018 at 10:28 am

Thanks again for this information! We have it updated.

SCIWAY says:
March 25th, 2018 at 10:15 am

Alice, thank you so much! This is wonderful information and we will work on getting it added this week!

Alice Washington says:
March 24th, 2018 at 3:47 pm

In this particular presentation, no mention was made of the Fred S. Washington Woman’s Relief Corps, Beaufort. David Hunter Post purchased the Hall on December 18, 1845. According to a deed, David Hunter Post No. 9 rewarded “the Woman’s Relief Corps the Hall and grounds for their part and help to pay for the Hall and for their willingness in helping to care for the veterans.” A partial list of those who signed the deed was Leroy Gibbs, Moses Brown, and Edward Wallace, Commander. This was done June 15, 1896.

Brianna N Paglia says:
March 21st, 2017 at 9:31 pm

I am Brianna Paglia and I am writing from Queens University of Charlotte. Currently, I am working with the Gullah Geeche Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission on a project whose goal is to inform and educate the public about important cultural heritage sites to the Gullah culture. I am contacting you because of your photo of Grand Army of the Republic Hall found on your website, and I’m hoping you would be willing to grant us rights to utilize it in our project. The picture would be used as part of a nonprofit multimedia map, and be credited back to you and/or your website. The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. This means that all contributions, such as the rights to utilize this photo, is tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. It would mean a lot to myself, as well as the GGCHCC, if you would allow us to use your photo in an effort to educate about, and preserve this important culture.
Thanks for your consideration,
Brianna Paglia


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