Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
R. Grant Gilmore III, PhD
Katherine Saunders Pemberton
Throughout the historic streets of Charleston, South Carolina there is a forgotten and overlooked stone. It is in the narrow gaps between houses, along carriageway walls, underfoot on garden paths, and in foundations of many historic buildings. The forgotten stone of Charleston is Bermuda stone. This thesis provides the history of Bermuda stone in Charleston, South Carolina. This history was written answering the following research questions. How and why was Bermuda stone imported to Charleston? Who were the people bringing Bermuda stone to Charleston and who were the people using it as a building material? When was the period of significance for Bermuda stone importation to Charleston? What are the different uses for Bermuda stone in Charleston, and can a relative value be placed on Bermuda stone as compared to other building materials in the way it was used? What are the basic material properties for Bermuda stone that allow it to be identified in the field?
An introduction informs the reader about the material properties of Bermuda stone. These properties were identified by comparison of known Bermuda stone samples from Bermuda to samples of the stone found throughout Charleston. Detailed photography, material definitions, and locations of Bermuda stone in Charleston serve as the field identification guide for future researchers.
The aforementioned research questions were answered through exhaustive research in Charleston's libraries and archives. This information was used to construct the history of Bermuda stone in Charleston. The results of this research and material study indicate that Bermuda stone was first used in Charleston by Bermudian immigrants and traders in the late 17th and early 18th centuries and it was imported in great numbers throughout the 18th century. By the 19th century, changing economic ties between Charleston and Bermuda, as well as cheaper locally sourced material like lumber and brick made the importation of Bermuda stone obsolete. Bermuda stone has a long and important history in Charleston. It merits further research and conservation of this unique material.
Schwebler, Justin M., "The Forgotten Stone: A History and Analysis of Bermuda Stone in Charleston, South Carolina" (2015). All Theses. 2170.