Wednesday, March 27, 2013
A prominent street in downtown Goose Creek has a new name that refers to an old place.
Brandywine Boulevard officially became Button Hall Avenue when workers changed the street signs on March 1.
Goose Creek Mayor Michael Heitzler put forth the initiative to the Goose Creek Planning Commission, which opted to change the name about two months ago.
“That road traces the old Button Hall Plantation Avenue,” Heitzler said. “The road came off St. James Avenue all the way to the plantation house. The two-story brick plantation sat where the Public Works property is now.
“Time is one of our dimensions. The past is an important indicator of where we’re going in the future. I want the people of Goose Creek to know where we came from.”
Heitzler is an authority on Goose Creek history and spent time researching documents before publishing the 36-page article “Boochawee: Plantation and Legacy in Goose Creek” in the Jan. – April 2010 edition of “The South Carolina Historical Magazine.”
By 1680 all the land in Goose Creek on deep water was taken up, Heitzler said.
“In the middle of Goose Creek there was a great swaft of property called ‘Boochawee’ by natives,” the mayor said.
The 2,400 acres was drained near Foster Creek. The land was about as large as modern-day Crowfield and was located in the middle of today’s downtown Goose Creek reaching all the way to Foster Creek.
The land was granted to James Moore, an Englishman who came to Goose Creek by way of Barbados. Heitzler said Moore was one of the so-called “Goose Creek men.”
“When he died he violated the prevailing laws of the time,” Heitzler said. “He had to keep the land together and give it to his oldest son. He didn’t obey the British protocol. He divided it among his children.”
His daughter Rebecca received Button Hall, a roughly 500-acre part of the Boochwaee tract.
“Button Hall was renowned as arguably the most technologically advanced inland rice plantation,” Heitzler said, adding that they used the latest thrashing machines and horse-driven power to shake the husks off rice grain.
The Button Hall rice would be transported by wagon and then shipped to Europe, according to Heitzler. This was subsequent to inland rice era.
Boochawee was the country home of Gov. William Bull, the last royal governor of South Carolina.
As a plantation in the new republic it had a large library. William Laughton Smith, an important early leader in South Carolina, was one of the owners.
“The Button Hall heyday was early in the history of the nation,” Heitzler said. “ In the Civil War it was a collection of tenant farms owned by Langdon Cheeves.”
The home that stood at Button Hall was a two-story brick house with a slanted room. That home was eventually taken down, and what remained of the plantation was built upon. Today, the neighborhoods of Colonial Heights, Beverly Hills, Foxborough, downtown Goose Creek and part of Liberty Hall Road make up the land of the former Button Hall.
Brandywine Boulevard traced the identical route of the old Button Hall Avenue to the main house of Button Hall.
The old Button Hall Avenue intersected the Goose Creek High Road that proceeded to Moncks Corner and all the way to Fort Dorchester on the Ashley River. Button Hall Avenue was once a major intersection, Heitzler said.
The road that followed the power lines was called The Road to Dorchester. What is U.S.-176 today was called the Goose Creek High Road, which intersected with Old Moncks Corner Road that continued west to the mountains.