What constitutes the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park?
The Reconstruction era began during the Civil War and lasted until the dawn of Jim Crow racial segregation in the 1890s. It remains one of the most complicated and poorly understood periods in American History. During Reconstruction, four million African Americans, newly freed from bondage, sought to integrate themselves into free society, into the educational, economic, and political life of the country. This began in November 1861 in Beaufort County, S.C., after Union forces won the Battle at Port Royal Sound and brought the ‘Lowcountry’ along the South Carolina coast under Union control. More than 10,000 slaves remained there when their owners fled the lucrative cotton and rice plantations. The then-Lincoln Administration decided to initiate the ‘Port Royal Experiment’ in Beaufort County to help the former slaves become self-sufficient.
Where do I park?
Around the visitor center and throughout downtown Beaufort there is metered street parking. At the Penn School National Historical Landmark District, including Darrah Hall and the Brick Baptist Church, there is parking on gravel lots. There is no public access at this time to the Camp Saxton site.
Are there fees?
There are no park admission fees to the visitor center, Brick Baptist Church, or Darrah Hall. Some activities and locations at the Penn Center, which is independently operated, may require an admission fee. Visit the Penn Center website for more information.
Last updated: October 18, 2019