Endangered African American Historic Sites

Pine Tree Hotel, Mosquito Beach, South Carolina

The Pine Tree Hotel was one of the few beach hotels open to African Americans in South Carolina during segregation in the 1960s. Hurricane Hugo in 1989 badly damaged the landmark, and it hasn't been open since.

The 14-room hotel still sits boarded up on James Island in Charleston, but a new $490,000 grant will help pay to restore the historic site near Mosquito Beach, according to the Historic Charleston Foundation.

 

The rural island community of Mosquito beach off of Sol Legare Road on James Island was a popular waterfront hangout for African-Americans in the early 1950s during the time of segregation. Because blacks were forbidden at white beaches on Folly, the black residents were forced to travel to black beaches such as Riverside Beach, which was all the way in Mount Pleasant. As a resolution, the owners of the Creekside property, which is still owned today by the same family, opened a pavilion in 1953. The community was christened "Mosquito Beach" in an attempt at realistic irony in honor of the pesky insects that populated the marsh. The "Pine Tree Hotel" was constructed in 1961 and had 14 rooms where guests shared a common kitchen and bathroom.

Recently, the owners of Pine Tree Hotel had to defend the structure against aggressive Charleston County Building inspectors who fought for having the building demolished. After making the building safe from trespassers and enclosing it in a chain link fence, Charleston County continued to demand its demolition and the owners had to defend itself in court. Though a the most recent judgement dismissed the county's claims, the hardships put on the owner make it difficult to have the resources to rehabilitate the property.

Links:

Hotel served black beachgoers in Jim Crow South Carolina.

Here's how it could be saved Endangered SC civil rights era hotel on Mosquito Beach to be restored 

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