West Ashley FlashbackThe History of Our Water (part 4 of 4)
March 4, 2018
By Donna Jacobs | Contributing Writer
The hooray moment came 75 years ago. On Feb. 23, 1943 the contract was signed with the Charleston Constructors.
The March 13, 1943 edition of The Charleston Evening Post reported that: “The Charleston Constructors have ordered materials for construction of a water main from Charleston under the Ashley river to St. Andrew’s parish. Cost of the project will be $105,917.
By May of 1943 the newly formed St. Andrew’s Parish Exchange Club felt celebratory and they appointed a committee charged with organizing a “celebration program.” A.W. Whitehouse, Ernest Alwood, George Seignious, and I.D. Peek were the appointees. As the committee got busy planning the celebration, Colonel A.G. Goodwyn continued the efforts to supply water to the neighborhoods in the Parish not included in the original design.
Pinecrest Gardens, Pierpont, DuPont, Orleans Road, Stono Park, and Edgewater Park were among the group invited to attend a meeting in late May of 1943 to discuss extending the water main to service their residents. The result of this meeting was the formation of another committee chaired by W. Lloyd Fleming to coordinate the extension of water service to more of the Parish.
The construction of the water main during the summer of 1943 must have gone smoothly. By August, James E. Gibson, the manager and engineer for Commissioners of Public Works announced, in an article that ran in The Charleston Evening Post, that his office was accepting applications from the residents of St. Andrew’s Parish fire and water district for water service to their area. Sept. 1 was the projected service start date. The article was in addition to an official Notice that ran in the same issue.
This was exciting news for the Parish and the members of the Exchange Club of St. Andrew’s Parish did not waste any time moving forward with their plans for “a celebration in connection with the turning on of city water in St. Andrew’s Parish”. Numerous articles ran in The Charleston Evening Post updating the public on potential dates — Oct. 1 with a rain date of October 8 was the original plan; committee structure – Exchange Club president, Albert P. Lyons and six additional members were added to assist in the celebration organization.
The history of the Parish prepared by Rene Ravenel, an engineer for the county sanitary and drainage committee, would become part of the brochure that would be printed for the occasion. “Fifty Years of Progress” was the title of the article Ravenel prepared for the souvenir brochure that the Exchange Club intended to publish and distribute as part of their planned celebration. He presented this history at the Sept. 23, 1943 meeting of the Exchange Club.
“City Water Now Flowing to Developments Across Ashley” was the headline that ran in the September 29, 1943 edition of The Charleston Evening Post. Moreland was the first to receive water from the twelve inch main that was installed under the Ashley River. Windermere, which had been serviced by a water tank, was next. Ashley Forest, Carolina Terrace, and Avondale were next in line with Wappoo Heights and The Crescent being the last of initial suburban developments receiving “Goose Creek” water.
It was summarized that the project had cost $139,000 with financing provided by a public service commission bond, a federal grant and a federal loan. The article also included a meeting announcement for the next evening where the members of the Exchange Club would discuss the final details for the celebration.
Friday October 22, 1943 was the date set for the “Celebration of Progress”. The first item on the program for the day would be a football game held at the St. Andrew’s Parish High School. The “iron man football team of St. Andrew’s high” would play “Walterboro Hi”. Bleacher seats to accommodate 1000 spectators were erected at the football field adjacent to the school on Wappoo Road. All the extensive planning was coming to fruition. After the gridiron performance an “Ole Time” Fish Fry was held at the Coburg Dairy for the football team members, distinguished guests, and members of the St. Andrews Parish Exchange Club. A Band Concert followed featuring the Charleston High School Band then an Evening Program with a long line up of distinguished speakers, local dignitaries, and band music all intended to celebrate and congratulate the Parish. The program ended at 10 pm with the drawing of “lucky numbers” for War Bonds.
The Ashley River, Wappoo Creek, and the Stono River border St. Andrew’s Parish. There was water everywhere and now due to the hard work of a few community minded individuals there was water for all the Parish residents to drink.
This is the fourth and final of a series of installments on how water was brought to St. Andrew’s Parish. Do you have any stories about St. Andrew’s Parish and the early days of West Ashley? Contact local author and historian Donna Jacobs at email@example.com.