Clements Ferry Street, from Native American path and Revolutionary path to visitors jams | Information


CAINHOY — Earlier than it was considered one of Berkeley County’s most traveled thoroughfares, earlier than it was a rutted, two-lane gravel-and-dirt path, Clements Ferry Street was a part of an vital colonial transportation community that linked a collection of ferries between Charles City, East Cooper and the Cainhoy Peninsula.

The primary land grants right here have been awarded within the 1680s, only a decade after the founding of Charles City. The tiny village of Cainhoy, which was situated in a bend on the Wando River, was established round 1735 and served as a port that linked the inland farms on the Cainhoy Peninsula with the huge plantations related to Charles City.

As European colonists started to settle throughout this space, dozens of ferries have been established to assist facilitate settlement and commerce. With a rising variety of plantations and small settlements popping up alongside the Cooper and Wando rivers, the necessity for infrastructure, which included roads and bridges, to maneuver items between Charles City and the Cainhoy Peninsula turned essential.

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What was as soon as the highway to Clement’s Ferry snakes by means of a 9,000-acre parcel of land resulting in Cainhoy Plantation. Lauren Petracca/Workers

Clements Ferry Street, the place 15,000 vehicles and vans journey each day in the present day, turn out to be a kind of very important arteries.

Throughout the Revolutionary Battle, the highway was utilized by patriot Francis Marion and British Gen. Charles Cornwallis as the 2 rivals moved troops and provides up and down the peninsula.

“What we all know in the present day as Clements Ferry Street was one of many major routes alongside the east financial institution of the Cooper River into the inside of the Cainhoy Peninsula,” mentioned Eric Poplin, a senior archaeologist for Brockington & Associates, a cultural administration useful resource agency that has executed all types of artifact work within the Lowcountry.

“It was a line of journey that was closely used in the course of the colonial interval and is, clearly, nonetheless closely used in the present day,” he mentioned.

Till the S.C. Freeway Division was established in 1917, non-public residents have been liable for the development and upkeep of all public roads, bridges and ferries inside their very own neighborhoods. That included round Cainhoy.

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In February 1785, John Clement, a Revolutionary Battle hero, petitioned the South Carolina Legislature for permission to function a ferry between his property on the “Neck” of the Charles City peninsula (now a part of the previous Naval Base and Shipyard property) and his land on Thomas Island, which is adjoining to Daniel Island.

The highway on the Cainhoy Peninsula, which led to his ferry, would ultimately bear his title.

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“The ferry community was so vital throughout that interval as a result of the roads have been so terrible,” mentioned native historian Suzanna Smith Miles, who has written extensively in regards to the historical past of the Lowcountry and the East Cooper area.

“A lot of the roads that have been constructed again then have been constructed for a cause,” she mentioned. “It wasn’t like some neighborhood highway everybody used. It’s Clements Ferry Street as a result of it’s the highway that results in his ferry.”

At this time, the highway is without doubt one of the most closely utilized in Berkeley County. These 15,000 autos on it in the present day are projected to soar to greater than 58,000 by 2040.

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Visitors crawls by means of the sunshine on Clements Ferry Street close to Jack Primus Street on Feb. 22, 2021. Grace Beahm Alford/Workers

John Clement and his ferry

John Clement wasn’t the primary individual to function a ferry from the Daniel Island space to the Charleston peninsula.

The primary licensed ferry to cross the Cooper River got here in 1731 when Charles Codner operated a ferry that carried passengers throughout the narrowest level of the river between Daniel Island and Charleston. Though few individuals lived on Daniel Island on the time, it was the shortest and best route throughout the river between Charleston and the Cainhoy Peninsula.

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Previous to the Revolutionary Battle, John Scott operated a ferry from Daniel Island to the wharfs in downtown Charleston close to in the present day’s U.S. Customhouse.

Scott, nonetheless, had sided with the British in the course of the Revolutionary Battle and was banished from South Carolina. All his property was confiscated by the state when the colonials gained their independence.

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John Clement used stone mile markers on the colonial highway to point out the space to his ferry. Brockington & Associates/Offered

In 1785, Clement jumped on the alternative to begin his personal ferry.

“John Clement married Katherine Watson, who’s the daughter of William Watson, and he operated the Hobcaw Ferry east of the Cooper River,” Smith Miles mentioned. “Lots of instances that’s how an individual discovered an occupation, due to the household they married into.”

As a part of Clement’s take care of the state, the previous Revolutionary Battle cavalryman needed to keep the highway that led to his ferry, which stretched about 12 miles from Thomas Island to Huger’s Bridge. Huger’s Bridge is situated simply south of the city of Huger in the present day on the intersections of S.C. highways 41 and 441.

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Like most ferry homeowners, Clement constructed taverns at every finish of the landings. The one on the Charleston aspect was referred to as Dover Tavern, whereas the one on Thomas Island was dubbed Calais Tavern. Historians imagine that Henry Laurens, a Charleston native and delegate to the Second Continental Congress, gave the St. Thomas tavern its Calais moniker.

It was frequent to confer with the ferry because the “Dover-to-Calais” ferry after its European counterparts that joined Dover, England, and Calais, France.

The Dover-Calais ferry reveals up on maps as late because the Civil Battle in 1862, mentioned Michael Dahlman, a member of the Daniel Island Historic Society, who wrote “Daniel Island Unearthed: An Archaeological Discipline Information to Daniel Island’s Wando River Shoreline.”

Clement erected stone mile-marker posts on the highway that led to the ferry. A number of of the mile markers nonetheless stay and have been positioned on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations.

“Clement was liable for all of the infrastructure that goes together with proudly owning a ferry,” mentioned Nic Butler, a historian with the Charleston County Public Library. “He had a monopoly and bought to gather charges from individuals who used the ferry. A part of that cash was used to take care of the highway.”

Clements Ferry Marker

A stone mile marker on the colonial highway that led to John Clement’s ferry on the Cainhoy Peninsula. Brockington & Associates/Offered 

John Clement died in 1801 and his son, William Clement, took over the enterprise, however struggled to maintain it afloat.

A decade later, the Battle of 1812 introduced monetary hardship to Charleston because it turned troublesome to ship items to ports of name. With fewer and fewer items headed to Charleston, the the incomes of ferry homeowners declined. The seven hurricanes that battered Charleston between 1804 and 1815 did not assist both. It pressured William Clement to promote the ferry to John Gordon and John Springs in 1815.

The highway that led to the ferry, nonetheless, didn’t change names regardless of the swap in possession — it was nonetheless known as the highway to Clement’s Ferry.

“Retaining the title as Clement’s Ferry would have been fairly typical again then,” Dahlman mentioned. “They saved the title for what we’d name in the present day ‘branding functions.'”

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The highway in the present day

Earlier than Europeans settled the world, Clement’s Ferry Street was most probably a path utilized by Native People. Archaeologists imagine Cainhoy’s historical past started greater than eight,000 years in the past when Native People roamed the banks of the Cooper and Wando rivers looking small sport and looking out the wetlands for oysters.

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Poplin believes that the trail had been a longtime route that had been there lengthy earlier than the primary Europeans stepped foot on the peninsula.

“A lot of the roads we all know in the present day within the space could be traced again to trails that have been utilized by Native People,” Poplin mentioned.

The Clements Ferry Street of in the present day doesn’t precisely mirror the considered one of colonial instances.

The colonial highway that stretched from Huger’s Bridge to Thomas Island cut up to the north close to the present-day Jack Primus neighborhood. The winding highway snaked its approach by means of what’s now the Cainhoy Plantation mixed-use growth.

“They aren’t an identical roads,” Poplin mentioned. “There was one fork that led to the ferry and one other that led to the village of Wando. That a part of the highway was generally known as ‘the highway to Wando.'”

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Vehicles and vans exit Interstate 526 on Clements Ferry Street on Feb. 22, 2021. Grace Beahm Alford/Workers

Harry Frank Guggenheim started buying land on the Cainhoy Peninsula in 1933 and continued buying parcels into the early 1950s when he closed off the northern portion of the previous colonial highway that led to the ferry website.

The highway that in the present day is Clements Ferry Street was a dirt-and-gravel observe for the primary half of the 20th century. It wasn’t paved till the early 1960s, mentioned Fred Lincoln, a longtime resident of the Jack Primus neighborhood.

“When it rained, the highway was barely drivable,” Lincoln mentioned.

It wasn’t till the development of Interstate 526 in 1992 that Clements Ferry Street started to increase in fashionable phrases. Growth on Daniel Island and alongside Clements Ferry Street exploded as visitors elevated.

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Over the subsequent 20 years, Cainhoy Plantation, which straddles Clements Ferry Street, is predicted so as to add 9,000 new properties and switch the world right into a city-sized neighborhood. When the final transferring containers are unloaded, it might eclipse Daniel Island in scale and inhabitants with as many as 30,000 new residents.

Clements Ferry, as soon as a seldom-used two-lane blacktop, is now being widened from to 4 lanes. 5 miles of the highway from Jack Primus Street to I-526 is already 4 lanes.

The widening of one other 5-mile stretch — from Jack Primus Street to S.C. Freeway 41 — is underway. Building is scheduled to be accomplished in 4 years.


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