Update for Hutchinson House April 2020

Over the past twelve months, the Hutchinson House Project has moved forward with many significant events. We have been awarded a number of grants, we have received a detailed condition report, we have a completed an archaeological survey of the site, we have added to the house historical documentation, we have moved forward with fundraising plans, and we
have just put out a bid package to contractors for completion of stabilization and weatherization of the structure.

To date, we have received three grants for a total of $105,000. The first was a SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) grant for $15,000 for a condition and remediation report that was completed September 2019. The second was a Johanna Favrot Foundation grant for $5,000 to preserve, restore or build new windows for the entire house. The third grant was the large
AACHAF (African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund) for $85,000 to complete the stabilization, weatherization and safe access for the Hutchinson House structure. The last two grants are administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. On March 2nd we submitted a grant application to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Historical Interiors Fund for $15,000 to develop a preservation plan, materials analysis and display plan for the house interior. The inside of Hutchinson House is in remarkably good condition and nearly the same as when the house was first built.

The ‘Existing Conditions and Recommendations Report’ was completed by Simons Young + Associates, 4SE Structural Engineers (John Moore) and Hillary King (Preservation Consultant). The report provides an assessment of the current conditions for all architectural elements of the structure, recommendations for restoration work and a preservation action plan to move ahead with the restoration along with a timeline and estimated costs. This same team has been hired to provide drawings, scope of work, and contractor qualification documents for requesting bids from experienced companies to complete the restoration work. The contract should be awarded in early May for a project start date of June 1. We have to have the project completed by December in order to receive all the grant dollars.

We have received an ‘Archaeological Survey and Interpretation of the Hutchinson House, Edisto Island’ from New South Associates. The principal investigator was Joe Joseph, PhD. A GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) survey was completed in the near vicinity of the house and a Magnetic Gradiometer survey of the same general area was also completed. In addition, a Shovel Test of an extended area was completed which produced several interesting artifacts. In addition to locating building, garden and farmyard features, the survey may have located the site of the cotton gin that helped Henry Hutchinson prosper. The survey also discovered several
artifacts that indicate this site may have been “witness to continuous occupation” from possibly the end of the 17th century to early 18th century.

More history of the Hutchinson House and Hutchinson Family is being discovered. A title search was completed in February and we now have reasonable documentation that shows the Hutchinson House property was part of the 1,590 acres of the original land grant to Paul Grimball, the first property to be deeded by the Lords Proprietors in 1683 on Edisto Island. This fits with the findings of the archaeological report regarding the occupation of this part of Edisto Island.

Our documentation of the Hutchinson Family is also expanding. Greg Estevez, a Henry Hutchinson descendent, has provided several documents and photos that will be digitized, recorded and analyzed over the next few months.

Had a terrific year of fundraising for 2019 that will allow us to do the project that we have planned for 2020. The Team is being formed for the big push for the final restoration of the house and endowment to keep the house and grounds running after the restoration is complete. We are not sure what the final cost might be but we are looking at possibly $1.5 million to be raised in the next couple years, and this includes an endowment of 1 million. Ellie Tiller is our consultant and helping guide the strategy for the project. Currently we are working on mini feasibility studies and doing conversations with community members and major donors to determine how they feel about the HH project and what they would like to see happen in the future and if they are willing to participate and at what levels. We are building a story and a case around the project.

Last year the Hutchinson House site had Sea Island Cotton growing for the first time in over 90 years! EIOLT staff member Tom Austin, prepared a plot, acquired sea island cotton seed that originally came from cotton grown on Edisto Island, planted, tended, weeded and produced healthy plants that allowed the harvest of cotton fibers and seedstock. The plot will be
expanded this year and Tom hopes to improve the yield using seeds from the best plants.

The EIOLT Hutchinson House Committee is working hard to keep up with all the activity surrounding the project. Several Teams have been formed to keep track of all that is going on. We have a team for fundraising, one for tracking construction progress, one for finding, writing and tracking grants, a team for site maintenance and security, another for the sea island cotton project, and a team for finding, cataloging, and identifying artifacts, archaeological oversite all of which will be used to tell the history and story of the Hutchinson House and Family. Each team is led by a Committee member.

And that’s not all. We formed a dedicated Hurricane Team and Hurricane Plan to make every effort to keep the house safe in that event. We have been working with the College of Charleston to find a graduate student who wants to make a project of some aspect of the Hutchinson House. We are talking to the American College of Building Arts to use the House as
a learning resource. Our parking area with the information board has been visited by over 1100 cars since June 1, 2019. We enjoyed our first annual Campout with Fine Dining in October.

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