Colonial fort reconstruction 'largest single undertaking' of county historical society
Ft. Prince George model will be displayed throughout the state to introduce people to the proposed recreation of the colonial fort in Pickens County.
Efforts continue to recreate and rebuild a colonial era fort in Pickens County.
Wayne Kelley, vice-president of the Pickens County Historical Society, calls the effort to rebuild Fort Prince George, “the single largest undertaking that the Historical Society has ever done – or will ever do.”
Fort Prince George was constructed in the Keowee Valley in 1753. Royal Governor James Glen built the fort following requests by members of the Cherokee Nation, who traded with South Carolina colonists.
The fort, which was named for the Prince of Wales, was occupied for 15 years, and was a key site during the French and Indian War, serving as a staging point for assaults.
Fort Prince George was abandoned in 1768.
“Fort Prince George is the difference between you speaking English today instead of parlez vous francais,” said Ken Nabors, Pickens County Historical Society President. “It kept the French out and kept the English influence here in colonial South Carolina.”
Soldiers who spent time at Fort Prince George and would later impact Pickens County and state history include the county's namesake Gen. Andrew Pickens, Thomas Sumter, Francis Marion and William Moultrie.
The original site of Ft. Prince George is now beneath the waters of Lake Keowee, but historical society members hope to bring the fort back to life – and benefit the local economy by doing so.
“It's the missing link between Charleston, Ninety Six and Ft. Loudon in Tennessee,” Nabors said.
The Historical Society unveiled a model of Fort Prince George recently. That model will be doing some traveling this year, in an effort to educate people about the project and what it could do for Pickens County. Kelley said the society hopes to display the model at the State House soon.
He said society members are pursuing securing land to build the fort.
Historical Society members draw inspiration from the reconstruction of Fort Loudon, completed during the Great Depression. Fort Loudon was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.
“Fort Loudon is out of the way,” Nabors said. “You have to specifically want to go there – and they have over 200,000 visitors a year.
“Think what that will do for Pickens County for bringing in tourists,” Nabors continued.
“It will produce very positive benefits, countywide, for generations to come,” he said. “This is an economic investment here, not simply historical. It will make money for the people of Pickens County. It will be a good thing for the Upcountry of South Carolina in unlimited ways.”