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roofer in St. George, SC

Have you ever taken a second to really think about how important your home's roof is to your health and safety? It's so much more than a simple hat for your house. It protects you from the elements like rain, sleet, snow, and wind. It helps keep you and your family warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Those harmful pests and critters you see roaming around your property? Your roof helps keep them away from your family, too.

When you take those points into account, it becomes clear that your home's roof is crucial for year-round well-being and comfort. So, when your roof is nearing the end of its life, or it needs maintenance or repairs, hiring a reliable roofer in St. George, SC is an investment you shouldn't pass up. For South Carolina homeowners and business owners, only the best and brightest roofing experts will do when it comes to their family's happiness and safety. That's why they call on Hometown Roofing to handle all their repair, replacement, and maintenance needs.

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The Hometown Roofing Difference

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Hometown Roofing has been the top choice for roofing services in South Carolina for years. As locals of the Lowcountry, we pride ourselves on being more than just a roofing company. We're your friends and neighbors. As a family-owned business, integrity, hard work, and personalized service are at the forefront of our values. We believe in providing our loyal customers with the highest quality work completed by experts in their respective fields. Why? Because that's the way we would want to be treated, too.

At the end of the day, we strive to treat our customers with respect, confidence, and understanding. Our goal isn't to rip you off or charge you an arm and a leg for our residential or commercial roofing services. As an Owens Corning Preferred Contractor, our goal is to work hard and provide you with a long-lasting product that you will love for years to come. It's really that simple. When you choose Hometown Roofing, you can rest assured that you'll get the highest quality roofing services in South Carolina, such as:

  • Roof Repair in St. George, SC
  • Roof Replacement Services
  • Roof Maintenance Services
  • Emergency Roofing Services
  • Roof Inspection Services
  • Commercial Roofing Services
Roofer St. George, SC

The Hometown Roofing Process

Whether you're in need of a complete roof replacement in St. George, SC, or minor roof maintenance, our process starts with an in-depth consultation and ends with a smile on our face.

Consultation

Consultation

At the consultation stage, we have a meeting with the client to talk about their roofing needs and evaluate the property. Based on our expertise, we provide recommendations to ensure the best solution for the client's specific roof replacement, repair, or maintenance requirements.

Detailed Proposal

Detailed Proposal

In the detailed proposal stage, we create a comprehensive document that outlines the scope of work relating to your roofing project, the materials to be used, project timeline, and estimated costs. This provides the client with a clear understanding of the roofing project, enabling them to make informed decisions.

Project Installation

Project Installation

During the project installation phase, our team of licensed experts executes the previously agreed-upon plan. We install or repair the roofing system with unmatched confidence and experience while always adhering to industry standards, safety protocols, and local laws. During this process, we strive to stay in touch every step of the way so our clients are always in the loop. We then complete your roofing project within the specified timeline so that clients experience minimal disruptions to their daily lives.

Final Inspection

Final Inspection

When it's time for the final inspection of your roofing project, our roofing contractor's work is thoroughly examined to ensure it meets our high standards and our client's roofing needs. If there is additional work to be done, we'll finish up the project ASAP. If our client has questions or concerns, we always address them before heading home. That way, our customers can rest easy at night knowing they have a reliable, well-maintained roof over their heads.

Protect Your Home or Business with Roof Repair in St. George, SC

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Living in South Carolina means experiencing unpredictable weather patterns. Bright and sunny skies can quickly turn into heavy rainfall, which can cause damage to your roof. That's why it's important to have a reliable roofing company to perform expert repairs when needed.

Whether you suspect damage has been done to your roof or you want preventative maintenance, Hometown Roofing is here to handle the hard work for you. A thorough roof inspection is the first step in understanding your repair needs. Our team will then repair any damage, like weather-worn shingles or roof leaks, to ensure your family is safe and protected.

Some of the most common roof repairs we provide for homeowners and business owners include the following:

  • Torn or Damaged Shingle Repair and Replacement
  • Tile or Shingle Replacement
  • Roof Shrinkage Issues
  • Roofing Leaks
  • Ventilation Issues
  • Pooling or Standing Water
  • Storm Damage Repair
  • Damaged Gutter Repair
  • Roof Flashing Repair
  • Much More
 Roof Repair St. George, SC

Don't wait until it's too late to schedule repairs - your roof might only be one or two South Carolina storms away from needing more than simple maintenance or repairs! South Carolina homeowners and entrepreneurs trust Hometown Roofing for their roof repairs because we:

Prioritize Safety

We put a lot of stock in the ethos of "Safety first before everything." As licensed contractors with years of experience, our roofers have the tools and training to repair your roof without you needing to worry about their safety. Of course, your safety is of utmost importance, too. Hiring an experienced professional saves you from putting yourself and your family in a compromising situation that could involve hospitals, doctors, and injuries.

Because the truth is, roof repairs usually require climbing ladders, balancing on high roofs, and working under pressure. Those aren't things an average homeowner looks forward to. By working with Hometown Roofing, you're leaving the difficult work up to highly trained experts, so you can focus on your family, not recovering from an injury sustained from DIY roofing.

Have Extensive Roofing Experience

You can tell whether a roofer is worth hiring by asking them about their roofing experience. The very best roofers usually have years, if not decades, of professional experience. Those years working up on roofs out in the sun is priceless for homeowners and business owners who want the best roofing service. At Hometown Roofing, our contractors have extensive knowledge and experience, both in advanced applications and basic roof repair theory. Unlike some roofers, Hometown Roofing team members have real-world experience and certifications - something that no amount of reading or watching YouTube videos will provide.

Maintain Warranties on Roofing Products

As a homeowner or business owner, you want every assurance that your new roof or roofing products will last for the long haul. That's why we're proud to provide a 50-year manufacturer warranty and a 20-year labor warranty on all new asphalt architectural shingle roofs. We also provide a 20-year labor warranty on all new standing seam metal roofs and a 10-year labor warranty on new tuff-rib metal roofs.

Provide High-Quality Roofing Craftsmanship

Our team at Hometown Roofing is dedicated to delivering exceptional roof repairs and top-notch service. We take pride in our work and strive for excellence when repairing, replacing, or installing roofs in South Carolina. We understand that even the smallest details matter, which is why we thoroughly inspect our work to ensure the highest quality. Our main objective is to surpass your expectations with true roofing expertise, not just average service. For long-lasting roof repairs, trust the professionals at Hometown Roofing.

 Roof Replacement St. George, SC

Reliable Roof Replacement in St. George, SC

When it comes to getting a new roof for your home, you want to make sure it's done right. That's why you need licensed professionals to handle the complex and intensive process. It may seem like a big investment, but the long-term benefits are worth it. You'll enjoy increased safety, comfort, and a higher home value. At Hometown Roofing, we're the go-to company for roof installations in South Carolina.

Our experts have completed hundreds of successful projects, and we hold ourselves to the highest standards for product longevity, customer satisfaction, and quality craftsmanship. Whether you're looking to upgrade your roof or need a replacement due to damage, we've got you covered. We specialize in many types of roof replacement projects, including:

  • Asphalt Roofs - Cost Effective, Popular, Versatile, and Appealing
  • Metal Roofs - Long Lasting, Low Maintenance, Energy Efficient, Superior Protection
  • Commercial Flat Top and TPO Roofs - Durable, Energy Efficient, UV and Chemical Resistant, Purpose Built for Your Business

When Is It Time to Replace Your Roof?

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At Hometown Roofing, one of the most common questions we get is, "How do I know when it's time to replace my roof?" That's not always an easy question to answer since every roofing structure and every roof replacement scenario is slightly different. Roofs endure harsh weather conditions like extreme heat, strong winds, freezing temperatures, and heavy rainfall, which can damage their protective layers. Although some roofs can last up to 25 years, shingles and other materials may deteriorate over time and become brittle, crack, tear, or disintegrate. While it can be challenging to assess the condition of your roof from the ground, these signs may help you determine when it's time for roof replacement in St. George, SC.

Begin Looking Indoors

It might seem counterintuitive to look for signs of disrepair inside your home, but rooms like your attic can show signs of damage much better than outside areas. Be sure to grab a powerful flashlight first and look carefully for streaks, stains, and drips. Also, keep an eye out for light beams poking through the top of your house. If you see these signs, there's a good chance your roof has leaks and should be replaced.

Cupped, Clawed, or Curled Shingles

You'll need a good view of your roof to check for these red flags, which are telltale signs that your roof is near the end of its life. Curling and cupping look alike and manifest with the ends of your shingles peeling away and pointing up. Clawing happens when the middle of a shingle lifts up while its ends stay attached to the roof. None of these conditions are good, so if you spot them, know that it could be time for a roof inspection.

Age of Your Roof

How old is your roof? If it's more than 25 years old, chances are it's on its way out. The average lifespan of an asphalt roof is 20-25 years. When that time frame passes, you should consider looking at replacing your worn-out roof.

Friends in Your Neighborhood are Replacing Roofs

If you're driving around your neighborhood and notice one or more roofers in St. George, SC, make a mental note to inspect your roof. It's common for houses in neighborhoods to be constructed at the same time, with the same materials purchased in bulk by the builder. As a result, the roofs of these homes tend to deteriorate at a similar rate. With that in mind, if you observe your neighbors replacing their roofs, it may be a sign that you should consider doing the same.

Your Roof is Sagging

A sagging roof is a sign of structural problems and may require a new roof installation. This problem is typically caused by water damage or a broken rafter, and it's important to have a licensed and insured roofing company, like Hometown Roofing, address the issue. To properly diagnose the problem, the contractor may need to remove the shingles and plywood sheathing underneath.

Roofer St. George, SC
 Roof Repair St. George, SC

Emergency Roof Repair in St. George, SC

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Hometown Roofing is available to assist when disaster strikes. We recognize that roofing emergencies can occur at any time, so we provide 24/7 emergency roofing services to homeowners in our community. Here is an overview of the critical emergency services we offer:

Available 24/7
Available 24/7

When you're in a roofing emergency, Hometown Roofing is always here to help. Our expert team is available 24/7 to respond quickly and professionally to any crisis. We understand that your home's safety is your top priority, and we're committed to mitigating damage and providing peace of mind during difficult times.

Help with Insurance Claims
Help with Insurance Claims

Dealing with insurance claims can be overwhelming, especially after a disaster. That's why Hometown Roofing offers assistance navigating the complicated process of working with your insurance company. We'll help you document the damage and submit the necessary paperwork to your insurance provider, ensuring a smoother and more successful claim.

Emergency Roof Tarping
Emergency Roof Tarping

If your roof has suffered severe damage and can't be repaired immediately, our emergency tarping service can provide temporary protection from further harm. This solution will safeguard your home from the elements until repairs can be made. Trust Hometown Roofing to keep your home safe and secure in any roofing emergency.

Storm Damage Repair
Storm Damage Repair

When severe weather hits, your roof can take a beating. From losing shingles to damaging the structure, it can leave your home vulnerable. That's where Hometown Roofing comes in. We offer quick and reliable storm damage repair services to ensure your roof is safe and secure once again.

Stabilize Your Home's Structure
Stabilize Your Home's Structure

If your roof has been severely damaged by a fallen tree or other catastrophic event, call Hometown Roofing ASAP. Our team is here to help. We'll stabilize your roof, preventing any potential collapse or further damage, helping provide peace of mind and comfort in a trying time.

Remove Debris
Remove Debris

After a storm, your roof can be covered in debris that may cause additional damage if left unattended. Our experienced professionals are equipped to safely remove any debris, ultimately preserving the lifespan of your roof.

Temporary Roof Repair in St. George, SC
Temporary Roof Repair in St. George, SC

Sometimes, extensive repairs to your roof can't be completed immediately after an emergency. Our team of roofing experts can provide a temporary fix so that your home is safe, dry, and protected from more damage.

Repairs for Emergency Leaks
Repairs for Emergency Leaks

When your roof sprouts a leak suddenly, it can be catastrophic. Hometown Roofing professionals will locate the source of your leak and provide a quick, effective solution to your problem.

Emergency Roof Inspections
Emergency Roof Inspections

When a severe weather event or other emergency incident occurs, you may need a roof inspection to assess the totality of your damage. Hometown Roofing inspections identify needed repairs. That way, you plan for the next steps and do what's necessary to protect your roof and your family.

Hometown Roofing: South Carolina's Premier Choice for Quality Roofing Services

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Hometown Roofing was born out of a rich legacy and a steadfast commitment to quality. Unlike many roofing companies in South Carolina, we stand by the ethos of doing everything right and never cutting corners. We extend that commitment to your home, whether you need minor roof repairs, a total roof replacement, or something in between. Contact our office to schedule your initial consultation today.

 Roof Replacement St. George, SC

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132 E 2nd N St, Summerville, SC 29483

Latest News in St. George, SC

This historic SC school once united a community. Now, they plan to bring it back to life

Growing up, Edith Williams-Oldham never realized the historical impact of her small school that sat just a “stone’s throw away” from her home.She knew that she learned to play basketball on the St. George Rosenwald School’s dirt court and that the school was where her favorite literature teacher inspired her to be a writer and poet herself.But it wasn’t until she started researching for her book, “...

Growing up, Edith Williams-Oldham never realized the historical impact of her small school that sat just a “stone’s throw away” from her home.

She knew that she learned to play basketball on the St. George Rosenwald School’s dirt court and that the school was where her favorite literature teacher inspired her to be a writer and poet herself.

But it wasn’t until she started researching for her book, “What Grandma Forgot to Tell You,” that she realized that her years at St. George Rosenwald School in the late 1940s and early ‘50s were an important part of history in St. George, S.C., and across the country.

By 2014, when the school property was given to the town of St. George, the walls were decaying and the basketball court was full of shrubs. But now, after an extensive restoration effort lead by alumni and community members, the school is on track to reopen to the public this fall.

From a place that afforded precious opportunity to generations of Black children to a place that fostered community and progress in the Civil Rights era, the newly restored St. George Rosenwald School is a place community members now hope will inform and inspire the next generation.

The St. George Rosenwald School is one of many schools built throughout the South by Julius Rosenwald, a philanthropist and president of Sears and Roebuck, and with the help of educator Booker T. Washington.

The historic South Carolina property was built in 1925 during a time when segregation and Jim Crow laws made it harder for Black students to receive a quality education. The building served as a school and gathering place for Black students until 1954 and after was a meeting space and community center for the surrounding area.

“If you saw the pictures before they cleaned it off, we even wondered if it could be salvaged,” Oldham said.

The school was one of only two Rosenwald Schools in Dorchester County and is the only one still standing, according to the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

Ralph James, the chairman of the St. George School Board and one of the last students to attend the school before it closed, said the school was partially preserved by the neglect.

“It really was neglected to allow these trees to grow up around it, and then there were a lot of cement blocks and cement pieces stored around 6, 7, 8 feet high all around it,” James said. “So when the storm wind blew, that buffered the school from a lot.”

Since 2014, the board, made up of alumni and local legislators, has worked on restoring the building. They have added a kitchen, bathrooms and a board room. They also plan to recreate the old principal’s office and fill the small library with a mix of modern books and ones that James and his classmates would have read.

The school’s updated auditorium will include updated stage lighting, a projector and multicolor walls, which James said tell a story.

When the school hosted an early childhood education program, different walls were painted different colors for different age groups, James said. When the wooden boards from those walls were cleaned and reinstalled, all the colors were mixed up.

“So this was the pattern that was placed up there with intent to paint, and a few persons came in said not to paint,” James said. “It’s original, and it tells a story.”

However, one part of the south wing of the St. George Rosenwald School will feature two rooms most similar to what the building would have looked like while it was open. The board plans to host classes for visiting children in two classrooms fitted with original floors, a blackboard and a stove that would have been used to heat the classroom in the winter.

With the help of the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, old desks were located from across the county and restored so that visiting students can sit it them while learning about the history of the school.

Doug Reeves, the vice president of the St. George Rosenwald School board, said the desks were just part of the board’s effort to preserve the memory of the school.

“We’ve got some alum that’s graduated from that school, and they keep coming back saying, ‘OK, well, this is where it was, you know, when I was here. …Yeah, you ought to do this, or do that.’ And that’s what we kind of kept in mind the whole time,” Reeves said. “We wanted to save as much of that as we possibly could.”

The project has become a community effort, according to Oldham, who said the alumni group even sponsored the restoration of a nearby restaurant themselves.

In the 1920s, the Black community held fish fries and fundraisers to be able to build the Rosenwald school, and Oldham said for the restoration project, the alumni did the same.

“Well, what we did was we just emulated what our parents, foreparents had done,” Oldham said. “We raised money.”

Oldham said she hopes the continued effort to rebuild the school and surrounding buildings will help to uplift the community that the school sits in the center of.

For Oldham and James, the Rosenwald school represents a time of unity and support throughout the Black community in St. George.

James described the school as “the jewel, the pride of the community.” The Black community flourished around it, with restaurants, shops and movie theaters creating a vibrant uptown St. George that was nicknamed “Little Harlem.”

“As I walked the streets as a child, everyone knew of me, and you could just, from house to house, you can depend on a little helping hand along the way,” James said. “You were never a stranger. So that feeling is something that can’t be duplicated in a way, but it does tremendous to build citizenship and to strengthen humankind.”

Oldham said that the St. George Rosenwald School itself was so popular that it was overfilled and had to hold classes in the nearby church or in auxiliary buildings.

For many students, Oldham said the school was a life-changing opportunity that many Black children didn’t have. One of the school’s oldest alumni even begged her mother to ride their family’s bull to school during a particularly bad storm so she could maintain her perfect attendance.

“This school was a prayer, an answered prayer,” Oldham said. “To be in a room where there was no leaking room, there were heaters with wood, coal burning to keep them warm, there was toilet paper, even though it was an outdoor toilet, it was flushable.”

Even after the school closed, it acted as an organizing place in the Civil Rights movement, according to the National Park Service, which recognized the school as a part of the African American Civil Rights Network in 2021. The building was used to prepare community members to vote and hosted “Project Deep” which helped prepare Black students to enter integrated schools in Dorchester County.

“That school has been a venue for progress since the day it was built,” Oldham said. “We want to make it even more so now.”

James said the additions to the St. George Rosenwald School were made to help make the building a community space again. He hopes to see the school host everything from history lessons to Rotary Club meetings to birthday parties.

“Hopefully, we will be able to demonstrate not only here what can happen, but to other communities just what would happen if you would, again, begin to find something that would bring you together, bring the area together and give you a common cause,” James said. “Give us hope, again, create love for one another and more than that ... an education and to stimulate our minds and to do good things.”

In addition to classrooms and meeting spaces, the updated St. George Rosenwald School will partner with the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry to include informational exhibits for younger visitors on the south side of the building, James said.

“I think one of the slogans, ‘a mind is a terrible thing to waste,’” James said. “So here we are not wasting minds, but we are rejuvenating them, we are strengthening them.”

To Oldham, involving and engaging the youth, which she considers anyone from children to 40-year-olds, will lead to the success of the project.

“This is the greatest gift that your foreparents could have given you. The opportunity to learn about where you came from, who they were, why you’re here and how you got here and what this school has contributed to the community in St. George and surrounding areas,” Oldham said. “We would hope that you would take interest and learn and keep supporting it to build a better community.”

According to James, the St. George Rosenwald School is on track to host a grand opening in September.

This story was originally published August 4, 2023, 5:30 AM.

St. George restaurant marries faith, family and food

ST. GEORGE — Sweeping the floor following the lunch rush at Nannie’s Kitchen, Sherrie Benson sings along to “It Matters to the Master” by Southern Gospel group The Collingsworth Family.By the time the small St. George restaurant has closed at 3 p.m., Benson has been hard at work for close to 12 hours, baking off biscuits and muffins in the wee hours of the morning. Later in the early evening on this Monday, she will lead a Bible st...

ST. GEORGE — Sweeping the floor following the lunch rush at Nannie’s Kitchen, Sherrie Benson sings along to “It Matters to the Master” by Southern Gospel group The Collingsworth Family.

By the time the small St. George restaurant has closed at 3 p.m., Benson has been hard at work for close to 12 hours, baking off biscuits and muffins in the wee hours of the morning. Later in the early evening on this Monday, she will lead a Bible study at the restaurant she opened with her husband Shane in November 2021. The group of about a dozen women planned to discuss a book titled, “Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible, and What He Wants to Do with You.”

Some restaurants feel like they’ve been around for decades, even if they haven’t. Nannie’s Kitchen, located at 307 North Parler Ave. just under one hour from downtown Charleston, is one of those places.

Homegrown knickknacks fill the walls, from coffee mugs to children’s soccer jerseys. By the door, there is a photo of Edna, or Nannie, Benson’s grandmother and the inspiration for the small restaurant. Edna was a praying grandmother who helped get Benson through tough times, she told me after I recently visited Nannie’s for lunch.

After placing my order for the barbecue sandwich with mustard sauce, I turned my attention to the baked goods case, which Benson later told me was decimated from a busy weekend. There was still more than enough to choose from, including apple fritters, blueberry muffins and a chocolate-covered cake pop with a delightfully unexpected strawberry filling. In addition to the baked goods, Nannie’s Kitchen serves breakfast sandwiches, soups, salads, meatloaf, grilled pimento cheese, hot dogs, Hershey’s Ice Cream and more.

Food first connected Sherrie and Shane when they met, but opening a restaurant only became a reality when they moved to St. George from Summerville in 2020. The couple fell in love with the calm streets and friendly neighbors in their new South Carolina home, a place that felt more comfortable than a rapidly developing Summerville.

Dorchester County school gets attention for its role in history

Rosenwald Schools helped educate Black students in segregated South. Could a national park follow?ST. GEORGE, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - A part of history in St. George that was set to be bulldozed now has a bright future.The Rosenwald School in St. George was a building many people may never have been aware of, but it was one of thousands across the south that educated black children during segregation. It opened in 1925 and closed in 1954, eventually falling into an extreme state of disrepair with a caving ceiling, deteriorating floo...

Rosenwald Schools helped educate Black students in segregated South. Could a national park follow?

ST. GEORGE, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - A part of history in St. George that was set to be bulldozed now has a bright future.

The Rosenwald School in St. George was a building many people may never have been aware of, but it was one of thousands across the south that educated black children during segregation. It opened in 1925 and closed in 1954, eventually falling into an extreme state of disrepair with a caving ceiling, deteriorating floors and chipped, peeling walls.

But a group of former students got together and came up with a plan to save their historic upper Dorchester County school. The newly renovated St. George Rosenwald School will officially become a museum and community center.

It was in schools like the Dorchester County site, and nearly 5,000 others built in the American South a century ago, that Black students largely ignored by whites in power gained an educational foundation through the generosity of a Jewish businessman who could soon be memorialized with a national park.

They are now called Rosenwald Schools in honor of Julius Rosenwald, a part-owner and eventual president of Sears, Roebuck and Co., who teamed up with African American educator and leader Booker T. Washington to create the program to share the expenses of schools for Black children with the community.

There was no public transportation for the school’s students so most had to walk to school except for the lucky few, like Ordie Brown, who caught a ride on a donated bus.

“My father was fortunate enough to buy an old school bus and by getting that bus, I was able to drive that bus from the St. Mark community, bringing children from there, here to this school,” Brown said.

Rosenwald School historian Andrew Feiler says every county in the state had at least one Rosenwald School. Some had up to five. With no public transportation, attempts were made to place the schools in central, accessible locations.

Rosenwald gave $1,500 to each school; the remainder of the cost of each school had to be split between the Black community and local governments. For the Black community, cash, land, material or labor could count as their contribution, Feiler said.

“The leaders of this program reached out to the Black communities of the south and they said, ‘If you would contribute to the schools, because we want you to be a full partner in your progress.’” Feiler said.

Ralph James attended first and second grade at the school and now serves as chairman of the group of seven responsible for restoring the school to repair a caved ceiling, decayed floor and chipped, peeling walls.

“It’s a center of hope. It’s a center of encouragement,” James said. “It inspired us in spite of the odds and challenges we faced.”

The 76-year-old retired municipal judge has made it his life’s goal to restore his old school.

“Education has always been the key to success. Julius Rosenwald gave us that key,” James said.

The six-classroom building will now serve as a museum, historic site, field trip venue and community gathering place for years to come. When visitors walk inside, they will see some of the original floors and some of the original student desks.

The building will feature memorabilia from the school including yearbooks, homemade band uniforms, major red uniforms, and pictures of graduating classes.

State Sen. John Mathews secured $65,000 in state funding while the group raised around $4 million for the project on their own.

“This community came together in a great way to make this project work,” U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn said. “This is the kind of thing that brings people together, and I’m so pleased that they are preserving this history.”

The St. George school was one of the larger ones with six classrooms and an auditorium. Most schools only had one or two classrooms. More than a third of America’s Black children in the first half of the 20th century were educated in a Rosenwald school.

Other Rosenwald schools have been converted into senior centers, town halls, special event venues or restaurants. Many remain recognizable by the careful plans Rosenwald approved. Tall windows oriented to the east and west assured an abundance of natural light and ventilation in rural areas where electricity often didn’t reach until after the Great Depression.

In St. George, the vision isn’t just restoring the school, but providing a sense of the thriving African American neighborhood surrounding it during segregation. Businesses including a grocery store, barber shop and pool hall benefitted the Black community.

Inside the restored school, two classrooms look almost as they did 70 years ago. Another classroom is a public meeting room. The auditorium has been turned into a multipurpose space and will have exhibits detailing the school’s history and hands-on science displays, James said.

“You can feel what it was like just like I did,” he said.

A grand opening is planned for September.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Rebirth of St. George Rosenwald school preserves history, promises new future

ST. GEORGE — School’s open.This renovated Rosenwald school — one of about 500 in the state, and one of nearly 5,000 in the American South, all constructed between 1913 and 1932 — hosted its first big meeting when members of the board of the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina gathered in the auditorium on Aug. 8.It was an occasion to remember the history of the school, to celebrate its rebirth and to consider its future. Plans already have been laid to partner with the ...

ST. GEORGE — School’s open.

This renovated Rosenwald school — one of about 500 in the state, and one of nearly 5,000 in the American South, all constructed between 1913 and 1932 — hosted its first big meeting when members of the board of the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina gathered in the auditorium on Aug. 8.

It was an occasion to remember the history of the school, to celebrate its rebirth and to consider its future. Plans already have been laid to partner with the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry on establishing a satellite location here, an idea first proposed by Patsy Knight when she was a state representative, and with the Dorchester County Library to furnish the small library room adjacent to the school’s auditorium.

This historic building in rural South Carolina has been restored thanks to a herculean effort by local advocates and financial support received from lawmakers and private sources. Board members of the nonprofit St. George Rosenwald School now hope to build on their success, adding amenities and historical features to the property, securing 3.5 acres of adjacent land to create public green space and more parking, organizing special events and arranging activities for children.

In short, they want this venue to become a community center and, thus, the epicenter of town.

They have supporters:

The project got underway more than a decade ago, led by Ralph James, a former educator and municipal judge who attended the St. George Rosenwald School as a child. Matthews found $65,000 in rural development funding to help the community purchase the property. Charleston-based architect Glenn Keyes was engaged to salvage the water-damaged and badly deteriorated structure.

Money trickled in over the next several years, about $4 million, and little by little the restoration work was accomplished, documented in a series of pictures by Alan Nussbaum, a rheumatologist and amateur photographer. Reeves joined the effort, becoming James’ close collaborator and engaging the interest of other electric cooperative leaders.

An employee of the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Micah Thompson, managed to find dozens of old iron-and-wood desks, the kind once used in the school. One or two of them were part of the St. George Rosenwald School’s original furnishings.

Last year, Stephens sponsored an earmark worth $500,000 to help cover costs. This year, he sponsored another for $400,000.

“I’m not stopping, trust me,” he said, referring to his staunch support of the efforts in St. George. “They won’t let me stop.”

James said the main building is ready for public use, but there are still a few pieces of the puzzle to put in place. A train carriage eventually could sit on a short stretch of rail by the school and become a café, as well as a memorial to the late schoolteacher Ezekiel L. Gadson — a poet, singer and disciplinarian who worked as a railway porter before becoming an educator. A current version of the old sweet shop that once was located nearby could entice youths.

An outhouse and shop building behind the school, once was used for vocational training, could soon be renovated and transformed into an exhibit space featuring information about domestic life in the Black community during Jim Crow.

The wooded area just east of the school perhaps could be purchased for the purpose of creating public greenspace, with trails, historical interpretation, an amphitheater and extra parking.

Historic partnership

Clara Dixon Britt, 101, remembered attending the school for third grade and, later, for eighth grade. She’d walk five miles to get there, except on days she could ride an ox.

Ordie Columbus Brown, 94, had to travel farther — 6 miles or so — but often found a ride. His father eventually purchased a small school bus, and a teenage Brown would drive it, full of students from his community, south to the school.

He played on the basketball team, which used a rough-cut court located between the two wings of the building. The team was good, and one year made it to the tournament level. Brown visited the nearby White high school to ask permission for the players to prepare for the tournament by practicing on the high school’s hardwood court. School officials said no.

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Julius Rosenwald was a Chicago-based businessman and the son of immigrant German Jews who became president of Sears Roebuck and Co., the biggest retail store of the early 20th century. Sears sold pretty much everything, and it distributed a thick catalogue through the mail, enabling many Black people forbidden by legalized segregation from shopping in regular White-owned retail stores to purchase all kinds of items, from seeds to lumber to kitchen supplies.

After Rosenwald made his fortune, he became an avid philanthropist. He met Booker T. Washington in 1911, and the two men worked out a plan to build a network of schools for African American children. At the time, the separate-but-equal legal doctrine codified by the Supreme Court in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case resulted in unequal public education. White schools generally were much better funded than Black schools, and the entrenched poverty among African Americans that was a consequence of nearly three centuries of slavery and Jim Crow meant that education was a privilege that not all families could afford.

Rosenwald and Washington changed that. Eventually, the 5,000 Rosenwald schools ensured that about a third of all African American children could receive a quality education. The schools produced a new generation of achievers, setting the stage for the freedom struggle of the 1940s and ’50s, followed by the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

St. George family recounts moments trees fell on their house during Monday night's storms

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — Not one, but three pine trees fell on a house in St. George when severe thunderstorms rolled through Monday night."So, it’s a lot to take in, and then thinking about the process that we have to go through to get the work done is something else too," said Shawn Calvin.St. George family recounts moments trees fell on their house during Monday night's storms (WCIV)Calvin and her husband, Frederick, have owned their home on Davis Terrace for about 15 years. They are deva...

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — Not one, but three pine trees fell on a house in St. George when severe thunderstorms rolled through Monday night.

"So, it’s a lot to take in, and then thinking about the process that we have to go through to get the work done is something else too," said Shawn Calvin.

St. George family recounts moments trees fell on their house during Monday night's storms (WCIV)

Calvin and her husband, Frederick, have owned their home on Davis Terrace for about 15 years. They are devastated and overwhelmed by the mess.

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"About 9 o'clock is when the weather started to shift," she said. "It started raining really heavily, and the wind started blowing, and then by 10 o'clock is actually when it got really bad. So at that point, I was in the den talking to my sister and my husband was in bed."

She told her sister she was going to put the dog up in the other room and get ready for bed. That's when the ceiling came crashing down.

"I noticed that the middle part of the ceiling in the den fell in, and rainwater was coming in at that point," she said. "When I went down the hall to grab my purse, I noticed some of the insulation was coming down in the hallway."

They just finished remodeling the home, so the damage hit hard, but they are still grateful.

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"Well I’m full, but blessed because nobody was injured," Calvin said. "The dog and my husband, we all got out safely, but it’s just a lot to take in because we have had the house newly renovated. We haven’t been back here a year."

Now, they will find someplace to stay until they know if it’s safe.

"We’ll stay with relatives until we know the plan for repairs or what our next steps are," Calvin added.

But in the meantime: "So, we’re hoping that they can get it repaired in a few months or less, and we’ll move back in, prayerfully. Until then, we’ll just reside with relatives," Calvin said.

According to the National Weather Service in Charleston, there were 18 reports of wind damage across Colleton and Dorchester counties.

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