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The Voice of the United Estates of Deer Park

Official Publication of the Deer Park Neighborhood Council

Vol. 15; No. 48 February 2009

When: Monday, February 16th 2009

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Place: Deer Park Baptist Church Fellowship Hall Speaker: “Coffee and Gossip”


by Julia Long

Coffee and Gossip? What kind of a topic is that for the monthly civic club meeting?

By "gossip" we mean the good kind of talk that happens when people reminisce and share memories. We're going to enjoy some light refreshments while we talk and remember and share with each other. This would be worthwhile just by itself as a way to bring our neighborhood closer together. But it is also a part of our "2009 Deer Park History Project." The Project involves pulling together the various records of our Deer Park history into a book to be published by Christmas!

Every person is important in making that history complete. Wouldn't you give anything to have in your hands right now a book put together by your family a hundred years ago telling you how they lived and what they valued and what they cared most about? We often think of "history" as something that happened a long time ago, but actually we are making future history right now. A hundred years in the future, your descendants will be fascinated by every detail of how you live now. This book is for them. Your descendants will be deeply grateful that you took the time to be sure that they possess such a book.

Each month this year, the newsletter will include a small sample of what you will find in the history book. In this newsletter, you'll find part of the information we've collected on Hurricane Gracie. You'll also find a sharing sheet to fill out. It has twenty simple questions for you to answer. To get your mind working, the sheet includes for most questions an italicized excerpt from my own answer to that question. Your answer doesn't have to resemble mine in any way; I've just shared mine to show you how easy it is to jot down things that other people (now and in the future) will enjoy reading. If you get this newsletter in the mail, just write your answers on the back of the question sheets. Feel free to use as many additional sheets as you wish.

If you get this newsletter by E-mail, you can print out the questions and write by hand on the back of the sheets, or you can type directly under each question and print out questions and answers together, or just E-mail them. If there's a question you don't want to answer, just skip it. Please do include your name and contact information so that I can get in touch with you if necessary to ask for clarifications and further details.

Bring your sheet with you to the meeting this coming Monday. If you cannot come to the meeting, you have several choices: mail your form to me, Julia Long, 2704 Fernwood Drive, N. Chas, SC 29406. Or call me at 797-0893 so I can arrange to have it picked up. Or, if you get your newsletter by E-mail, just E-mail me your form at julialong@bellsouth.net.

Even if you don't care whether you yourself are remembered in our history book, please take the time to honor your family members - parents, spouses, and children - by making sure that they are remembered in this way.


Thanks to the many people who have already renewed their memberships. For those who haven't done so yet, please don't delay in renewing your membership for 2009, as right now the yearly dues are only $10.00. Given the way prices have risen for mailing, sadly it's time to raise our dues just a bit. We voted at the last meeting to increase dues to $15 beginning in April. That gives you a golden opportunity to get a last-minute bargain: so get your $10 in now! Either bring your dues with you to the February meeting, or else please mail them to Linda Brinson, 2510 Gable Street, North Charleston, SC 29406. And here's another incentive to get your membership dues in: when the Deer Park history book comes out, non-members will need to pay full price, while DPNC members will get a special discounted price of 35% off!


Every Thursday from 10 AM to 2PM, through April 9: free help preparing your taxes

Tues, Feb 17: Time for Twos at 10:30; Internet Basics class at 4PM

Wed, Feb 18: Preschool Story time at 10:30 AM; School Age Special Read-in at 4PM

Thurs, Feb 19: Free Clinic by a lawyer on Family Law at 6PM; Book discussion 6:30PM

Sat, Feb 21: African American Tall Tales 1 PM, for all ages

Mon, Feb 23: Wee Reads for children 24 months and under at 10:30AM

Tues., Feb 24: Time for Twos 10:30AM; Class on E-mail Basics 11AM

Wed, Feb 25: Preschool Story time at 10:30AM

Thurs, Feb 26: Young Adult Chocolate Festival at 6PM

Sat, Feb 28: Movie "Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters' First 100 Years" at 2PM


Saturday, Feb. 21, from 12-6 p.m. outdoors at the North Charleston Fire Museum location, 4975 Centre Pointe Drive in North Charleston. There will be information for families, businesses and children on how to prepare for any emergency; an interactive children's area to demonstrate fire safety and other preventative tips; and interactive displays from federal, county and municipal governments, volunteer organizations and local businesses to include rescue boats, fire trucks, and much more.

Garbage Pick-up Schedule

Garbage: Every Wednesday

Leaves/Grass: Every Wednesday

Large Trash: Every Wednesday

(Please note that Thursday will be pick-up day when City Holiday falls on Mon., Tues., Wed.)

Recyclables: Every other Thursda7 (Feb. 19, March 5, March 19th)

Key Personnel

City Council District 3 Robert Jameson 824-1500

County Council Rep Elliott Summey 200-4244

Neighborhood Crime Watch Representative Volunteer Needed!!

N. Chas. Dispatcher 745-1015

Housing Director Darbis Briggmann 740-2560

SPEED Team Rep. Jimmy Wagner 745-1069

Code Enforcement William Holley 740-2681

CAC Representative Membership Linda Brinson 553-8832

Board of Directors

President Julia Long 797-0893

Vice President Dennis Isgitt 797-2455

Secretary Chandler Schwede 437-4736

Treasurer Linda Brinson 553-883

Board Mbr. Apptd. Beth Evans 437-4140

Board Mbr. Elected Susanne Azevedo 572-2321

Board Mbr. Elected Audrey Carpenter 553-7768

Board Mbr. Apptd. Mary Hutson 553-4451

Newsletter Distribution Jimmy Mitchum 553-0665

Jim Driver 553-0768

Bill Lusk 553-1348

Newsletter Susanne Azevedo 572-2321

Disaster/ Preparation James Brown 553-4329

Sick & Sunshine Susanne Azevedo 572-2321

Voter Registration Douglas Azevedo 572-2321


I was a young teenager at the time, but the fall of 1959 made an impression that I remember well.

Hurricane Gracie was first noted as an area of bad weather over the ocean on September 18, and became a tropical depression on September 20. It was named on September 22, just hours before reaching hurricane strength. Its highest wind speeds recorded were about 140 mph, and the lowest pressure about 950 mbar.

When seven days later Gracie made landfall south of Edisto Island, over St. Helena Sound, she was a Category 3 storm at about 120 mph. This put Charleston County on the normally more dangerous northeast side of the storm, where Gracie’s hurricane-force winds extended 100 miles out from the eye, and gale-force winds 200 miles out. While aircraft evacuated, and naval vessels went upriver, there were eight merchant ships caught in the harbor.

A Submarine Electrician's Mate who was stationed on the USS Sea Owl SS405 later described what the eye of Hurricane Gracie looked like at sea: “It was as though we were in a huge soup bowl 20 miles in diameter. We were in the 20 mile flat part of the Ocean with extremely smooth water, as smooth as a still lake, and all around the 20 mile diameter was a rim of water 50 feet high. In the 20 mile eye, the sky was perfectly blue, but extending all the way up above the 50 foot water wall was the swirling black cloud which you could not see through.”

Gracie’s movements over the ocean had been erratic and hard to predict. We had little advance notice, giving people little time to evacuate even if they wanted to. On September 27, the News and Courier reported that Gracie’s “threat to the U.S. mainland was fading fast” as she was “expected to continue moving away.” On Monday the 28th, the morning paper referred to Gracie as “one of the pokiest hurricanes in recent years.”

But about 1p.m on Monday, a Hurricane Watch was issued from Savannah to Wilmington, and then upgraded in about three more hours to a Warning. That night, I wrote in my diary, “Gracie is supposed to be here tomorrow about noon. She’s really a big, mean one they say. And headed right for Charleston! Maybe it’s just another warning, with nothing more than rain, like so many others have been. I hope. But there’s enough threat so school’s out tomorrow.” Tuesday morning the News and Courier’s headline story began, “A howling hurricane named Gracie is expected to hit the Charleston-Savannah coastal area between daylight and noon today, packing winds of severe intensity . . . .”

The newspaper later reported Gracie’s time of arrival as 11:25 Tuesday morning. Despite it being dead low tide, the winds were so strong at Charleston, and drove the water in so, that the tide was the highest recorded since 1940.

Despite being repeatedly warned to stay away from the picture windows in the front of the house, I sneaked into the living room to watch the storm. An especially tall pine at the front corner of the yard was twisting slowly round and round, gradually breaking up the ground. It reminded me of the way I pulled up onions or carrots by first turning them to loosen them. Then the entire tree lifted straight up into the air, roots and all, and for a tiny moment hung there completely free of the ground before falling with an enormous crash.

My mother had insisted two years earlier that my father leave the back yard full of pines when he built the house. After the storm, the trees were almost all gone, broken or fallen over or pulled up. Juanita Stephens, then Thompson, says that all 19 trees in their yard fell. Though only a child at the time, Gail Thompson remembers the trees lying all around her house, which had been surrounded by thick woods.

The electrical wires fallen along the streets were hot and sparking, making it risky to check on family and neighbors, but people did it anyway.

That night in bed I used a flashlight to record in my diary, “It was no warning this time! It’s been awful. Seven pines in our yard came up by the roots. No lights, no water, no TV. or radio and we can’t call on the phone. Others can call us.” Southern Bell later estimated that twenty thousand phones were put out of order in the state, most of them in the Charleston area.

Deer Park had no city water at the time, and the weather was hot that week. My father had planned our then two-year-old house with the well water drawn up by electricity directly into the kitchen faucets. Technology showed its limitations when we found we had no way to get to the water with the power off. The Mitchums and the Chapmans were among those who hooked up hand pumps within a day or two, while the Bowers family was able immediately to draw their water with a bucket. Despite 3.8 inches of rain, as measured at the airport, Deer Park didn’t suffer too much from flooding. In those days, our neighborhood was still full of wetlands. The early houses were carefully sited to take advantage of natural rises that drained into the swampy areas. The houses also were primarily one-story, built close to the ground to shelter from the wind.

Down on Reynolds Avenue, a couple of National Guardsmen watched over one of my family’s favorite shopping places, Edwards 5c 10c $1 store. But Baldwin Brothers (parts and motorcycles) on Spruill wasn’t so lucky. Part of the damaged store collapsed into the roadway. Before police could arrive to move the concrete blocks and steel girders out of the street, looters entered and stole some of the parts.

On the evening of Wednesday the 30th, Deer Park Baptist Church had its prayer meeting as usual, but by candlelight. Among the many families represented there that night giving thanks for our safety were Bowers, Brown, Slaughter, Furr, Chapman, Long, and Thompson.

We were fortunate to have a gas stove, while those with electrical stoves of course couldn’t cook. But people found ways to manage. The Chapmans set up grills on their front lawn and for long hours they worked at cooking the 250 pounds of beef that had been in their freezer. They gave away plates of the delicious hot food to anyone who came by. I remember the whole street smelling like a restaurant.

Southern Ice Company reported doing a record business on Wednesday. Juanita Stevens remembers waiting in line several times only to discover the ice had run out just before she got to the head of the line. North Charleston High School, with its city water and its classrooms with lots of natural light, re-opened, and students who had no water at home were allowed to start the day with a cold shower: it was wonderful! I felt sorry for the younger children who couldn’t go back to their school because the rooms were too dark.

Thursday, October 1, the News and Courier reported an interview with officials from S.C. Electric and Gas: “An aerial survey of lines south of Charleston revealed extreme damage to power lines near St. George, Summerville, Yemassee, Beaufort and Walterboro. It will be one to three weeks before power can be restored fully to those areas. Approximately 65 high voltage structures are down, and many trees have fallen on lines. Five major transmission lines are down.” On Saturday, October 3, our street got electricity, but not everyone was so lucky. Emma Baker on Ladson Road recalls going 13 days without power.

Before Gracie dissipated in New Jersey on September 30, it was responsible for 22 deaths, 10 of them in Georgia and South Carolina, and caused $4 million in damages (in 2009 dollars, that’s $104 million). More than half of that damage was in Charleston County. The storm isn’t on the official list of retired names, but “Gracie” hasn’t been used again.


Please be a part of your community history project.

Be as specific as you can in answering, but don’t let the fact that you don’t remember some detail, stop you. Every comment is a huge help. If you have questions, call me at 797-0893. Be sure to answer questions 1 and 2. Then, answer as many of the other questions as you wish. Just type your answers under the question right here. To stimulate your thinking, I’m including a few excerpts from some of my own answers in italics. That doesn’t mean your answers have to be similar in any way. If you then print these sheets out, bring them to the next civic club meeting if you’re coming (and I hope you are), or mail them to me, Julia Long at 2700 Fernwood Drive, North Charleston, SC 29406. If you prefer, save this file and E-mail it to julialong@bellsouth.net


Hints: Please print your full name and nickname (if any), and, if you’re willing, give your birth year. Birth years will not be listed in our history book. They are helpful in our book writing, so we can tell what generation you are a member of, and we can guess what people grew up as contemporaries.


Hints: These are for contact purposes only. If you’ve lived more than one place in the North Area, please tell us what neighborhood as that helps us place your relationships.


Hints: Spouse, children? Parents or other relatives live, or lived, nearby? Please print their full names and nicknames, and, if you’re willing, their year of birth, so that we can roughly judge their age at various times in our story. Again, birth years will be identified only for those who have passed away and have their birth and death dates already published in an obituary.

My parents, my brother, and I moved here in 1957, about the time I started high school, and my grandfather, born 1889, moved next door in 1964. Granddaddy owned much of this block surrounded by University Boulevard, Fernwood, Deerwood, and Shadow. He provided a lot to my father, and another lot to my Uncle Robert, who lives here still. Also, Uncle Earl owned a lot on Shadow, and my Uncle Pickett bought the lot on the corner of Nevonna and University, though neither of them ever actually lived here. One of my mother’s brothers had a store at the head of Dantzler. The street is named after him.


Hints: Where is your family from? Share a bit of your family’s history.

My father’s family moved to Dorchester Road from Eutawville around 1923. My mother’s family had lived at Four Hole Swamp since about 1757. My parents met at the Shipyard during WWII. My father worked in the electrical shop, and my mother rode a little motorbike around, checking and tending to the clocks. She was surprised later to discover that my father had admired her so much from afar that he had asked for her transfer to his building so he could meet her. He always said with great pride, “I married the prettiest girl in the shipyard.”


Hints: Why and why did you move to this area? What were your first or early impressions? What was your street like then, and who lived there? Who were some of the first people you met?

My first memories of Fernwood Street, when I was twelve, are of my father slogging through the muddy woods to pick the spot least likely to flood as our future house site. The Bowers family was already here across the street, as were the Mitchums on Powell. Fernwood was mostly woods and the roadway was closely lined with trees.


Hints: What are the things that have changed? Is it for the better or the worse?

We hadn’t been here long when some new people with strange accents moved in on Powell Street. I asked my mother if they had come from far away. She assured me they had. “All the way,” she said, “from North Carolina.” When I met the Holdens’ daughter Nan, I realized that even people from far away could be pleasant to know. Now pretty much all the woods that once lined Fernwood have been replaced with people. It’s good to have so many nice neighbors, but I admit that I really do miss the trees and animals. It’s reassuring that the Holdens are still represented in their original house on Powell by Nan’s brother Jack.


Hints: This northern wooded corner of the county has seemed to be a gathering place for strongly individual people. Who has impressed you as being out of the ordinary? In what way?

We used to have a nice couple who chose to live in their car instead of in their trailer.


Hints: We’ve had ice storms, earthquakes, hurricanes. Do you remember Gracie or the earthquake of that year? Where were you during Hugo? What stands out in your memory about any of these events? Usually there are some small details that stick with us afterwards.


Hints: Do you attend one of our nearby churches? Tell us a little about it, its mission, its history, and the people who go there. Does your church have a history booklet you could share with us?

When the present sanctuary was built at Deer Park Baptist, the Antlers intersection was a simple “Y” with the roads well up into the area where the big interchange is now. I went by the church to find my father kneeling in the dirt, carefully laying out the line where the foundation would go. I looked across to the road, far away through the trees, and said, “Why in the world don’t you put this building closer to the road?” He looked up and said, “One day, they might want to widen the roadways. You have to plan ahead.” How true that was! When the interchange was being planned, a DOT engineers told me that if the church building had been just ten feet closer to the road, it would have had to have been torn down.


Hints: The North Area has had plenty of wildlife, and some interesting domestic animals, too.

Just after we moved in here in 1957, I woke up to find a lovely, curious cow staring in my window, which I had left open. It enjoyed browsing in the yard a while before one of the Scott family retrieved it. About 1960, my brother Kenny bounded into the house laughing, saying, “You can’t fool me with that dead coral snake you put on the top step. I just stepped right over it.” Horrified, my father opened the door to find the poisonous snake crawling along just inches from the doorway.

Dennis Isgitt once had to battle a deer that was attacking his brother. A beautiful little fox that lived under a tree next to

Our fence would come out in the evening, look both ways before crossing the street, and head over to the Mitchum household. Thelma was always a superb cook, so I guess the fox just preferred her handouts to mine. And then, of course, there was the recent pig fracas.


Hints: Do you know any of the firefighters or can you tell any stories about fires or other emergencies?

Before the fire station, we were pretty much on our own. Once when I was in high school, there was an announcement over the P.A. system that there was a fire in Deer Park, and all the boys who lived there were to report to the bus to go home to help fight it. Another day, I got home from school to find my mother in the kitchen with dirty smudges on her apron (most unusual!). With all the men away at work, she and other women on the street had been fighting a fire in the woods. On

three occasions near the end of my father’s life, the firefighters at our Deerwood Station, who are trained for medical emergencies, came, it seemed, almost instantly to provide first aid


Hints: What resident has also had a business here? Where? What kind?

The Cross family had a kiln for making ceramics. My most prized wedding gift (1967) was a tea set with teapot, sugar and creamer, cups and saucers, and little dessert plates, baked in that kiln and made by a group of neighborhood ladies who were studying ceramics together. Not a piece of it has been broken or chipped, and it helps make special occasions even more special.


Hints: Mr. Vick was a gentle, quiet man, whom everybody liked. One night, he was murdered in his Salamander home. My dear friend Dorothy Stephens who grew up on Otranto was killed by a drunk driver in 1973 when she was still in her twenties.


Hints: A group of teenagers here in the sixties used to like to throw a big rope out into the near lane on what is now University Boulevard. When a car approached, they’d pull on the rope, making drivers screech to a halt or swerve, thinking it was the biggest snake they’d ever seen. When the newspaper reported on backyard flooding on Storen, Allen Sherrill made the problem memorable to every reader by commenting that his poor dog was up to its elbows in water.


Hints: Whether you’ve been here a long time or just a little while, think back to people who have moved away, or perhaps died. We don’t want to forget them.

I really miss Jack Garves who lived across the street from me, and has moved to Summerville. Without Jack and his precise, accurate, carefully-thought-out plans, the civic club wouldn’t be here now. And then there was Dr. Wild and his great house set among the trees on the lot that Super K-Mart now occupies.


Hints: Who is good at sports or music or any kind of accomplishment?

Allen Sherrill built beautiful furniture. A.W. Mizell, a master bricklayer, has been called “the Michelangelo of the brick industry.” Bobby Jameson is a great cook, and makes a superb fig sauce.


Hints: So often, the most meaningful things are the small ones. People say or do something that may not have seemed much to them, but has meant the world to you. Speak up, and give credit and appreciation to some of those who have made your life better in one way or another.

Mary Hutson is one of the most modest people I know, but I could not have continued as president of the civic club this long without her solid commonsense observations and quiet supportiveness. When SC Highway Patrol Sergeant John Lee caught teenagers taking off too fast in their cars, he got their attention better than if he had given them a ticket: he made them scrub the tire marks off the road.

18. CRIME:

Hints: Have you or anyone in the area that you know, had any run-ins with crime?

My house was broken into a few years back, and the stolen items included a brand new TIVO, still in the box, and my wedding silver. The North Charleston police found the man, and he’s in prison. A neighbor on my street noticed something odd was going on, and furnished such a detailed description to the police that the officers immediately knew who it was. My

daughter found a piece of the silver for sale on E-Bay online. Doug Azevedo checked out the pawn shop for me and got enough information for me to be able to tell the police the location of my silver.


Hints: If you list these, maybe we can find out.

I can never remember who it was on Wheaten Street who taught piano lessons in the sixties. The family had a feisty little dog that nipped me every single time I went there for a lesson, but I loved the lessons anyway. And whatever happened to Dr. Wild’s son? He used to ride the school bus with us; he’d be about 65 now.


Hints: Who should just not be overlooked? What is it that we should include about them?