“The Bluffton Historical Preservation Society, Inc. was organized in 1981 at Bluffton, South Carolina by W. Hunter Saussy and sixteen other interested residents of the town. From that modest beginning our membership has grown to hundreds of interested people; many of these are descendants of early families of the area.
The Society’s constitution states its purpose: ‘To bring together people interested in history, and especially in the history of Bluffton and its vicinity.’ Our major function is to discover and collect any material which may help to establish or illustrate the history of this area. The Society will provide for the preservation of such material and make it accessible as far as may be possible, to seriously interested persons who wish to examine or study it. The Society also will underatke the preservation and marking of historical buildings, sites, and monuments. The Society seeks to arouse interest in the past by furnishing historical information to newspapers and other media and by holding meetings with lectures and papers presented and discussed.
The opportunity to fulfill the Society’s purpose to undertake the preservation of historical buildings occurred in 1998. Several historic homes in Bluffton had recently been sold and the Society became increasingly aware of the need to become involved in the preservation of such structures. In February 1998, the decision was made to purchase the Cole-Heyward house at 70 Boundary Street from Mrs. M. Hasell Heyward, and tours of the antebellum house and former slave quarters began almost immediately.
The house-museum was designated as an official project of the Save America’s Treasures program, and in 2002, it also became the official welcome center for the Town of Bluffton. The preservation of this house has raised the awareness of the need for preservation of the entire town (which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996).
Excerpted from “A Guide to Historic Bluffton” published by the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society in 2007.
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