Date of Award

5-2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Historic Preservation (MHP)

Legacy Department

Historic Preservation

Advisor

Jonathan Poston

Committee Member

Jennifer McStotts

Committee Member

Ashley Robbins

Committee Member

Robert Russell

Abstract

Throughout the history of the world the commemoration of the dead has taken many manifestations and forms. Monuments range from burial mounds and tombs to wall memorials and grave slabs. The earliest surviving architectural remains in nearly every culture are the remains of memorials to the dead which can often shed light on the lifestyles of humans from prehistoric times. Beginning in the latter part of the 18th century American graveyards began to exhibit many of the characteristics of modern burial grounds, such as individual burial pits and family grave plots. This practice was no different at Second Presbyterian Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

Located at 342 Meeting Street in Charleston, South Carolina, Second Presbyterian Church’s graveyard has been left somewhat unattended, which has led it into an accelerated state of deterioration. The graveyard1 has had some maintenance, however, it has not been satisfactory. This is a situation where a preservation plan would greatly aid the church in caring for its graveyard. This thesis will provide guidelines in the preservation of Second Presbyterian Church’s graveyard.

The preservation plan is divided into three parts: The first is a brief history of Second Presbyterian Church and its congregation, the second provides preservation guidelines for appropriate repairs to the graveyard, and the third part is a conditions assessment of the grave markers found within the graveyard.

This project is a practical plan for the members of Second Presbyterian Church. However, it should be noted that in all preservation situations professionals should be consulted before proceeding with work.

This effort to help preserve Second Presbyterian Church’s graveyard includes photographing all extant markers, in addition to the creation of a plan of the graveyard that is linked alpha-numerically with a list of those individuals buried there. Preservation guidelines were also created for the graveyard in order to provide those individuals in charge of preservation efforts with a starting point. In addition, each grave marker was systematically catalogued in a conditions assessment which includes the physical condition of each marker and its inscription, if legible. This project was developed as a tool for Second Presbyterian Church that can be altered in the future to suit the changes that occur in and around the church’s graveyard.

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