By Kristin Hackler
It was an absolutely stunning day on Saturday, March 17, and while St. Patrick’s Day revelers were donning their green and heading out to festivals, Doug MacIntyre was busy manning a table at the nearly complete Thomson Park on the Sullivan’s Island side of Breach Inlet.
For about two hours each day for three days, MacIntyre engaged in conversations with island residents, visitors to the island, and knowledgeable historians about the best wording for the final wayside exhibit to be placed in the park, a panel titled “Charles Town in the American Revolution.” The panel is pretty much complete, and final discussions centered on the inclusion of a line specifying when the name of the city was officially changed from Charles Town to Charleston, and how best to state that the battle at Breach Inlet was the patriots’ first victory against both the British army and navy. A couple other smaller suggestions were discussed and overall, MacIntyre was happy with the turnout and feedback he received.
“I received lots of good input from visitors from near and far,” said MacIntyre, who hopes to have the exhibit complete by this May. Once the final panel is finished, it will be installed at waist height in front of the seaward-facing wall of the park.
Thomson Park is truly a labor of love for MacIntyre, who has dedicated the past few years to bringing awareness to the historical significance of the Battle of Sullivan’s Island and the victory at Breach Inlet.
“It’s appropriate that Thomson Park celebrates and captures the importance of the American Revolution in the setting in which it happened,” said Isle of Palms resident David Dooley, who dropped by with his wife, Susan, while on a bike ride around the islands. “We all need to celebrate the rich traditions embedded in our lives here. If people don’t stop and do what Doug has done and create awareness, it fades away. This pocket of heritage really creates an appreciation of what we have today.”
“This really is a fantastic place to learn history,” said Louisa Montgomery, a supporter of Thomson Park who stopped by with her husband, Ned, to view and comment on the new panel.
Once complete, the four panels at Thomson Park will provide visitors with a comprehensive look into the Battle of Sullivan’s Island. The first panel explains the battle itself and where troops were positioned on a historically accurate map of the area, while the second describes the specific victory at Breach Inlet. The third panel, “Liberty or Death,” shows the different types of men who fought in the battle, from Riflemen to trained soldiers to American Indians, and an estimate on the number of lives lost. The fourth and final panel to be installed describes Charles Town during the American Revolution, and how control of the city and seaport were extremely significant to the outcome of the war.
More than 150 people and organizations contributed to the exhibits, landscaping, and benches, and MacIntyre noted that Bill Watson of Carolina Tree Brokers is in the process of located the perfect palmetto logs to build out the remaining seaward wall of the park.
While the Town of Sullivan’s Island mows the grass and services the large trash cans located at the park, MacIntyre hopes that either a local club or some island residents might consider adopting the park and picking up loose trash or pulling a weed or two whenever they visit.
For more information about Thomson Park and the final panel exhibit, visit thomsonpark.wordpress.com or drop by the park, located next to the parking lot at Breach Inlet on Sullivan’s Island.