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Chapel View House — Pawleys Island, South Carolina


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Chapel View House

This photo of the old Chapel View House was taken in July 2011. It was located directly across the street from the beautiful Pawleys Island Chapel. Sadly, it suffered extensive damage after Hurricane Matthew swept through the state on October 8, 2016. Subsequently, Chapel View was demolished on November 2, 2016.

Chapel View

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Chapel View House Info


Address: Myrtle Avenue, Pawleys Island, SC 29585
GPS Coordinates: 33.427611,-79.122841

Chapel View House Map

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9 Comments about Chapel View House

Vitoria Lane Marsh says:
March 4th, 2019 at 3:47 pm

Once a garage with four bedroom quarters upstairs, the land Chapel View was cut off from, and gifted to Dr. Porter of Georgetown, by the next home north. That was in 1930. Dr. Porter donated his creek rights (to middle of creek) for the building that is now Pawleys Island Chapel, to be brought from Georgetown.

Dr. Porter then willed it to his neice Sylvia Brockington, a teacher in Andrews SC. Her husband deceased, she told her daughters that she could afford to educate one and the other one got Chapel View. The feud ensued the rest of their lives with Alice, the eldest, getting the education she never used, and Sylvia struggling to ride the bus to Charleston to night school to earn a teaching certificate. Sylvia never forgave the slight to her obvious greater intelligence as she told it to me. She, nor her Baptist preacher husband, had skills nor income to keep Chapel View up.

Victoria Lane Marsh says:
March 4th, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Still traumatized by actions taken by next owner, tearing down Chapel View instead of repairing foundation and roof in historic district. I did not believe that was allowed by law. The previous owners, Sylvia Brockington Weeks and Kelley Weeks, sold [Chapel View] to me in 1991 with provisions in my contract that I never alter the architecture without written permission from them. I believed, with all my heart, that if it was the law, and my contractor having reassured me not to worry, except the money, the pine foundation had finally completely collapsed, as we knew it would. The lean toward back rear was leaning more, and Russell would have to come repair the cold water line in the yard. It had been all the way in the creek after [Hurricane] Florence, but the cypress post-and-beam house needed nothing but mud washed off and [to be] reset on a new foundation. That same was the case after Matthew. Someone else, with no values I could discern, did not notify me and tore it down with all my personal belongings inside. I was evacuated up to my daughters in Wilmington, and my contractor said the yard’s a mess, I’ll get Russ over to repair that buckled cold water line, then you can come back.

Victoria Lane Marsh says:
March 4th, 2019 at 4:06 am

Laura, be assured it was only falling down because I could not sell enough paintings to earn the money necessary, and my body became too crippled to do work I once did myself.

Vicki Marsh says:
March 4th, 2019 at 4:02 am

Ted, no such truth as that. Anyone with depth, passion, loving the historic district, could easily have remodeled and restored [Chapel View]. I had all the approvals, engineers plans paid for, nothing would destroy the post-and-beam cypress box. Load of untruth. The charm and original historic [character] worth saving were fine. As a matter of fact, during Florence, Chapel View was swept all the way into the creek. The foundation has been the weakness.

Cranes picked it up, did not rebuild the foundation for the ages, but the box was solid as a rock. The cypress held. Unfortunately lacking the funds and skills to do a proper job before setting the house back on, and the pine was substituted by a crooked contractor after Hugo.

Lifting the whole home by a house mover, building a foundation on stilts with new steel underpinning, the box of historic Chapel View was just fine. It was the rotted pine foundation that gave way. Anyone with brain and heart, and money, the new foundation could have been installed, finished and all the pouches rebuilt, the view over the dune now would would have been priceless. It was equal expenditure to tear it down as would have been for new foundation [and] cranes to put house back on top of them.

Victoria Lane Marsh says:
March 4th, 2019 at 3:43 am

My love affair with Pawleys Island began in 1976 while staying at the Tip Top Inn. I literally was so dazzled with the beauty of that perfect day – besotted, mesmerized – I dropped to my knees by the surf and begged God, “God please. This is it.”

Since I was 5 years old, standing in the surf on the OtterBanks [Outer Banks?], superstition I had learned as a child from my nanny, I prayed it EVERY day. I even remembered it with my prayers in college, motherhood, and God, for myself, wisdom, discernment and to live beside the ocean. Artists are intense that way. They need to breathe the beauty.

Always an artist, on shakey financial footing, I looked at every property for sale, rented several weeks every year, best experiences I could ever make memories for my daughters. Last eight words every time I prayed, “God please find us a home on Pawleys Island.”

Hyper-focused, not like I had not been to Hawaii, Bali, the Great Barrier Reef, the Pacific Coast, Bora Bora, Tahiti, it was not that I had not experienced stunning locations beside oceans. It was the combination of history, preservation, people I met there every year who valued and embraced preservation unerringly. I was right at home with the locals, the reassurances that treasuring every board of arrogantly shabby history counted, was cherished. Commercialism and lucre would never overpower history and values. Every person stood firmly for the same values, which were my own. In 26 years of owning Chapel View, only three persons valued money over history.

I was home for life. Painting the environment was my niche for the rest of my life. I loved the Island, and the Island loved me back with passionate beauty, sunsets, sunrises, fog, even there for the ions of thunderstorms, to be there for the big snow, what was that, ’92? The weather presented change and inspiration, color, light, while my stairs to my second floor were worn deeply in the middle from 90 years of happy people going up to bed, visions of sand dollars, the sensations the waves leave reverberating in one’s body, the sunset so beautiful that after 41 years, some could still bring me to tears.

Chapel View was built by Dr. Porter of Georgetown in 1930. The neighbor to the North loved Dr. Porter and his wife, so they cut off a piece of their land, what became a flagpole undersized lot, but nonetheless, built on for love, not money. Dr Porter loved Pawleys; he donated his deeded creek land and brought the building that is the Chapel from Georgetown, the next year I believe. The construction was a remodeling of the big garage the neighbors had built, with quarters for guests, the four bedrooms, with a corner sink in each, and one of the short claw footed tubs in the upstairs bathroom. So the odd construction – low ceilings, lift-up and hook-on ceiling windows, the sky visiable through the boards in every room, and heart pine unfinished floors, patinaed after years of scrubbing with lye soap and corn brooms.

So the two cars, I heard rumor they were Bear Cats, the reason they built a garage to protect them, came in through what became the north wall of the first floor divided by sustaining wall, creating two bays. Serving as living room, the bay nearest the creek, and kitchen, dining, and gathering in the second one, with access to the boardwalk to the ocean from both first and second floor. At some time, there was a bath with a shower, and a simple outside shower added. I added a complete, lovely outside shower in 1993. On the downstairs back porch, I closed in a washer and dryer and tool and storage room. I added a deck to the front to watch the creek – and watch it, paint it, know it, love it I did.

Dr. Porter left Chapel View to his niece Sylvia and her husband, Kelley Weeks. She had been Sylvia Brockington, and taught school in Andrews. No, I skipped a generation, to her parents. Then Sylvia had one sister, Alice, older. Her father had died, and their mother said, “I only have enough money to educate one of you, and the other one must take Chapel View.”

Sadly that created a lifelong feud, that as far as I was told, Sylvia took to her grave, never speaking to her sister again. Kelley Weeks was a Baptist Preacher, not given to any talents with his hands, nor accuity with repairs and maintenance. They struggled along, caught in financial bind after financial bind, as taxes and insurance ballooned, hiring handy men usurped a preacher’s salary.

Bless their hearts, the less they could afford to keep up, the lower summer rentals could bring in. The adventure was mattress springs sticking your back, a kitchen consisting of rusty fridge and stove plugged in. No cabinets. One set of shelves, the homemade tables, grapevine chairs, the same sparse furnishings that had been put in the house by Dr. Porter in 1930 when he made the garage his beach home. To me, this added to the charm. I was way ahead of my time, embracing the charm of shabby. Of barefoot, slamming screen doors, ceiling fans so old that the one over my bed shed a blade while on, luckily hit the bone over my eye, instead of in it, and wow, did I ever have a shiner. Metals corrode and loose strength, then snap in salt air over the years. Everything rusts. My idea was to make it pretty, charming, books and paintings, but I never had the money to do all I needed or wanted to do.

So inside walls were all cypress, or original 1930 real bead board in oceanside downstairs room. I did not paint anything that had not already been painted, and adding all new wiring. Some painted boards were taken out, marvelous surprise, the backside of the boards were beautiful, light cypress and preserved. Had I had the funds to keep remodeling, I could have taken them down, stuffed in some insulation and put them back up as natural cypress again. The upstairs bedrooms had doors to the outside, accessing directly the boardwalk to the ocean. I kept an electric kettle and coffee press in the upstairs bath, so I could make coffee, take a cup, dogs out straight to ocean, to watch sunrise, or just sit on the rocks of my groin, drink my coffee and thank God every morning for the beauty, the humility, the awe, the wonder … that made me a sponge … absorbing it anew every day.

The mornings became harder and harder, pain beginning to consume me, eventually discovering that was onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis had been diagnosed when I was 36. Beauty always won over pain. When I had to fairly crawl, use arm crutches to get myself down the boardwalk, I simply got a thermos with a strap to carry crossbody, and a velcro strap to carry cup on my crutch. I could still carry sketch book with a basket on walker, but there was no one to actually get art supplies unless I had a guest.

So in 1991, after Hugo, the Weeks, so easily scammed as I am, had solid insurance, but were scammed by unethical contractors, paid for Cypress, paid for whole foundation rebuilt, new roof, underpinning, new sheeting. It was a windfall opportunity for Chapel View, but their lack of presence, knowledge, and research, waiting for a trusted local contractor, were conned by a fly-by-night, evil sociopathic con. The pine he slipshod shored up the foundation with rotted. The patched, rotting roof sheeting and cheapest crud for shingles, how bad was it? I noticed after I bought, there was sand every day, every morning, even when I was there alone, on top of my Douvet in the morning, a dusting on everything. My son-in-law went up to the attic, and as lazy as this, I am not sure I have ever seen. They had not swept the sand from Hugo over the side before they charged a fortune, did a pittance to the roof. The sand above our heads was deeper than the rafters, bucketing sand outside took three people the next three weeks. Ugh. Sometimes, not so charming. But lesson learned, a location can render a human so happy, they enjoy the work, are grateful to be able to figure out how to pay for next materials to fix next problem. At the beach, it is never one and done. It is constant nurturing borne by love. Same reason we gladly make all the sacrifice of self to our baby. Sacrifice now to keep afloat till I die, then like Sylvia did, like the rules and law dictate, in the historic zone, all must be faithfully preserved … never anything destroyed.

My renters, guests were very, very special, old, wise souls. Let people without depth rent the McHouses. Especially after Hugo, the island that stayed in families was corrupted by greed, and there are people who lust for new and luxury, comfort for themselves, being isolated from nature, their comfort their only concern. Don’t know why they bother. Living in Chapel View was living in a tree house. The cacophony of serenade, songbirds on every limb, just watch and listen from your bed awakening. The screened porches around two sides of upstairs did provide shade necessary at midday, protection from being eaten by noseeums at night, but persons surrounded by trees. The sound of the surf calming one’s nervous system always. Just listen, touch, become a grain of sand and live as dust you came from, and the dust to which you will become.

The pull-chain lights, the board carved with names and dates, back to 1937 … yes, that board where strange kids, I am sure thought carving their presence while sitting on the commode became a trend into the ’90s. How funny. Laughter of children, ghost stories on the beach, my daughters dressing as Alice in white cotton nightgowns, standing on the groin at night making Alice sounds. Card games, late into the night, teenage boys lined up on my walkway, waiting for girls to come. Friendships for them that lasted. My eldest opting to go to College of Charleston. The Episcopal priest from The Citadel arranging weekends at Camp Baskerville, the priest from C of C bringing girls, their meeting there was beginning of a romance that led to marriage. Pawleys never ceased to be magic and miracle for me. In 2008 I fell over my Australian Shepherd and ruptured [my] Achilles Tendon. I had Brewster bring a drawing board, my supplies and a tarp to cover at night down to my front deck. To endure the pain, the long healing, I began painting the Chapel, over and over and over again. Every nuance of the day’s weather, the day’s color, I recorded every day, as I found it, as my emotion responded to what was right in front of me. Many dear patrons on the Island bought these, and the Mayor making 12 of them a forever grouping over his fireplace. He and Alice stood by me through thick to thin. So grateful to them.

SCIWAY says:
November 3rd, 2016 at 6:33 am

Thank you for the update, Ted. What a sad loss.

Ted says:
November 2nd, 2016 at 11:16 pm

This house was demolished on 2 November 2016 as the result of damage from Hurricane Matthew. Here’s the tweet from the Pawleys Island Police Department:

https://twitter.com/PawleysIslandPD/status/793865282888564736

Laura says:
May 16th, 2013 at 1:28 pm

The house is owned by Vicki Marsh, a painter from Abingdon, Virginia. I stayed there once long ago. Now it’s falling down.

Anne says:
April 27th, 2013 at 5:15 pm

I have wonderful memories of Chapel View. As poor college students, my husband and I rented it every August for our anniversary back in the 70s. It was a mess then, but full of charm and REALLY cheap. I have tons of stories about Chapel View, many more than I could relate here. If you’re interested in learning more about Chapel View, send me an email.




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