11 June 2008

Silver Anniversary of the Town of Hilton Head Island

The Beaufort District Collection gathers appropriate materials about all areas of Beaufort County -- from just about anywhere we can get them. We have a county wide policy to collect research materials of permanent value that help us understand the history, culture, and environment of the area. And yes, that means the BDC collects materials about Hilton Head Island and other localities South of the Broad River.

Most folks don't realize that during much of the 18th and 19th centuries, Beaufort District covered all of Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties and a small segment of what is now Allendale County. Since our focus is primarily historical in nature, we tend to emphasize materials that focus on 1958 and before.

[Just so you know: In historical circles, something is "historic" at age 50 (which means that I am now "historic" as well!). Issues need to "shake down" for about 50 years before we can get a handle on most of the significance of an event. People, places and events around for less than 50 years tend to be termed "Current Events" in the field of History.]

In the greater scheme of historical events, then, the Town of Hilton Head Island is a newcomer at only 25 years old. [Compare this to the incorporation dates of 1711 for the City of Beaufort and 1852 for the Town of Bluffton.] The Town of Hilton Head Island was designed as a "limited services" town, primarily to wrest planning and development oversight from the Beaufort County government.

Beaufort County Library shares two excellent books about the founding of the Town of Hilton Head Island Evolution of a Town by Buzz Carlota (available at BDC, BLU and HHI) and Profits and Politics in Paradise : the Development of Hilton Head Island by Michael N. Danielson (available at BDC, BEA, and HHI).

We help researchers to go even deeper via the Ciehanski Papers. Nancy Ann Ciehanski gave Beaufort County Library her personal papers about the political climate surrounding the movement to create a new town in the southern part of Beaufort County. As the "forever" part of the Beaufort County Library, the Beaufort District Collection organized the Ciehanski papers for use by researchers visiting our facility -- with the assistance of a SC SHRAB grant in 2004. The collection illuminates Ciehanski's involvement with creating the Town of Hilton Head Island, including her service on the Beaufort County Joint Planning Commission and the first Municipal Town Council. She was also an active member of the League of Women Voters. Please contact us for details about access to the Ciehanski Papers.

Island Packet columnist, David Lauderdale, wrote an article called “Don’t Trample on High Speed History” about the key role Mrs. Ciehanski played in the creation of the Town of Hilton Head Island.

For the more visually minded, we recommend the 25th anniversary video at the Town of Hilton Head Island Municipal Government website.

To round out your research celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Town of Hilton Head Island, we suggest that you come into the Beaufort District Collection and review the contents of the Hilton Head Island (town)--Government [BDC Vertical File].

As always, the Beaufort District Collection is willing to answer your questions about the materials we make available. Please call us at 470-6525 or e-mail me at gracec@bcgov.net to learn more. -- gmc

The Beaufort District Collection is a division of the Beaufort County Library, a department of Beaufort County Government of South Carolina.

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