Fort Sumter Trust helps preserve history

  • Wednesday, August 20, 2014

These model ships are being sold to benefit the Adopt a Cannon initiative sponsored by the Fort Sumter Trust. STAFF PHOTOS BY SULLY WITTE


Some of the most rare war-time relics sit right here in the Lowcountry at Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter. They’ve weathered many storms, from the bumps and bruises of war to Hurricane Hugo.

The Fort Sumter Trust, made up of citizens from across the Lowcountry, undertook the Adopt-A-Cannon initiative. Jim Thompson, a member of the trust, explained that it supports Charleston’s national park sites at Liberty Square, Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie and the Charles Pinckney site. The overview of the trust is to support the park service like a three-legged stool. “There is education, where we bring kids to parks; there is the preservation aspect and commemoration of special events,” said Thompson.

At Fort Moultrie, conservation work on the cannons is done, and at Fort Sumter, there will be three “witness guns” requiring the same attention, which will be undertaken this fall.

State-of-the-art conservation of one cannon at Fort Moultrie was about $4,000, while conservation at Fort Sumter is priced at $6,000.

So far, trust members have raised $19,000, enough to have already contracted, completed and paid for the three historic cannons at Fort Moultrie.

The trust is just shy of the money needed to complete the work needed for the cannons at Fort Sumter.

Gene Steuch, a disabled naval architect who lives in North Charleston, builds ship models and has donated a model of the Hunley to the trust to use as a fundraising promotional item. When Thompson went to pick it up, he liked Steuch’s work so much he bought three more models from him, two Confederate and two Union.

All four models are now for sale with all proceeds going back to the trust to complete the cannon restoration work.

The models of the CSS Hunley, CSS Alabama and USS New Iron Side will be offered for $1,000 a piece. The USS Galena model will be offered for $750.

To purchase a model or view any of Steuch’s other works, contact Thompson at jimthompson83@mail.com

Staff conservators from the Warren Lasch Conservation have been performing work at Fort Moultrie and later at Fort Sumter. Interested donors are encouraged to visit the fort to see the work firsthand.

For more information on the trust, visit www.fortsumtertrust.org. Donations can be mailed to 40 East Bay St., Charleston, South Carolina 29401.

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