11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Penn School

Year Listed: 1990, 1991
Location: St. Helena Island, South Carolina


The historic buildings at the Penn Center are located on 50 rural acres along the Sea Island coast in Beaufort County, South Carolina. This site of 17 original buildings was one of the first locations of a school for formerly enslaved Africans, built in 1862. The campus consists of multiple-use facilities, including a museum, an archives, an administrative building, a maintenance shed, an early childhood learning center, and seven other buildings for use by the public for meetings or overnight accommodations. The majority of the buildings are wooden structures that face deterioration from age and weather. Conditions range from water damage to roof areas and interior spaces, to rotted siding, inadequate or antiquated HVAC systems, lack of security/fire suppression systems, termite damage, inadequate alterations for handicap accessibility, poorly constructed roadways that have not been upgraded to accept current traffic, damaged and diseased 100-year old oak trees surrounding the campus.