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Scanlonville: The Land and The Community

Scanlonville is a quiet marsh-front community located on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Mathis Ferry Road. Established after the Civil War, this African-American community enjoys a rich heritage spanning over 100 years. After the war, many former slaves began to establish their own farms and businesses. The development of Scanlonville is one such enterprise. In 1868, after the death of Paul D Remley, freedman-carpenter Robert Scanlon purchased the 614-acre Remley’s Plantation that was bordered by the Charleston Harbor and the Wando River.

Scanlon founded the Charleston Land Company offering $10 shares to 100 African-American men to purchase large tracts of land. The land was divided into two-acre farm lots and half-acre town lots. By 1870, former slaves who desired to own land could purchase town or farm lots. The Charleston Land Company and the development of Scanlonville is one of four known cooperative ventures between African-American freedmen.

Just west of Scanlonville was Riverside Beach, the oldest, largest, and most popular of five African-American beaches in Charleston County. Riverside Beach was a no-sand beach along the Wando River that officially opened in 1930, and featured a dance pavilion, athletics field, bathhouse, playground, and a boardwalk. Riverside Pavilion was the only venue where Black Charlestonians could see musical legends like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, B.B. King and Ivory Joe Hunter. Music performances at the pavilion spawned juke joints or night clubs in Scanlonville and eventually a hotel called White’s Paradise, frequented by James Brown. In 1975, Charleston County assumed operations of Riverside Beach after the original owner died. Eventually the property was sold to a company that developed a gated community on the land.

Remley Point Cemetery, also known as Scanlonville Cemetery, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. This African-American cemetery is located on private property. A portion of the grounds probably pre-dates the freedmen community and is the resting place of descendants of those first Scanlonville families named Coleman, Small, Drayton, Bailey, Brown, Fordham, Simmons, Webster, and Rivers. 

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Media & Accomplishments

Scanlonville in the Press

The East Cooper Civic club strives to remain an active force in the community. Each event and news story contributes to the vitality and legacy of the Scanlonville community by documenting important historical events. 

  • Neighborhood Community Partnering

  • Playground Improvements

  • Partnered to assure water & sewer services

  • Street and traffic signage

  • Historic markers

  • Inclusion of Historic sites in the National Register of Historic Places

  • Participation in College of Charleston and Clemson University undocumented African American

  • Communities identification Project

  • Sidewalk Placement – 5th & 6th Avenue

  • Citizen & Police Officer dialogues

  • Speed Hump Placement – 5th , 6th & 7th Avenue

  • Graveyard Cleanup

  • Annual Flower Day Memorial Remembrance

  • Frequent attendance at Town of Mt. Pleasant Council

  • “WHAT’S THE POINT?” community sessions

  • Good Neighbor Help

  • Youth Support/Scholarships

  • 4th Avenue Improvement

  • Gullah Festival

  • Sweetgrass Festival – Hosted for 10 consecutive years, 2011 – 2021.

  • Annual Empowerment Seminars – Focus: Culture/Education/Health/Land Preservation

  • Scanlonville Cemetery – Registry National Historical Site, 2002.

  • Scanlon Memorial Park – 0.57 acres awarded back from East Cooper Land Trust

  • Scanlonville 1870 marker exhumed

  • Newspaper Articles: Scanlonville Community

  • Gullah Geechie Corridor Commission News Letter

  • Charleston Post & Courier

  • Los Angeles Times

  • Washington Post

  • Wando High School Paper

  • Chicora Foundation

  • Town of Mt. Pleasant website

  • Finland International Newspaper

  • New York Times

  • Sweet Grass Festival – Hosted 10 years consecutive, 2011 – 2021

  • Documentary – “Bin Yah” and “There’s No Place Like Home”

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