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Bonds Conway 'Little House' to be dedicated

Posted: October 11, 2011 4:07 p.m.
Updated: October 12, 2011 5:00 a.m.

The nearly 200-year-old “Little House,” an historic home built by Bonds Conway, Kershaw County’s first freed slave, will receive a special dedication Nov. 1 on the grounds of the also historic Price House.

Donated funds and a grant from the state of South Carolina supported the project. Camden’s Price House Commission, a local organization seeking to preserve the city’s African-American heritage, coordinated the restoration efforts in hopes of restoring the home to its original look.

According to Commission Chair Polly Lampshire, the restoration involved the use of original material wherever possible.

“This was done as an idea to really look at this being an African-American historic museum and preserve the history of African Americans in the community. It also really shows what it was like to live in this house for someone at that time,” Lampshire said.

The house was built in the early to mid-1800s on the corner of Market and York streets in Camden, but was moved to near the corner of Broad and York streets in 2007. The building was moved to the Price House grounds as part of a community project aimed at furthering the understanding of African-American history in Camden.

Lampshire said State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, State Rep. Laurie Funderburk and former State Rep. Bill Cotty were instrumental in acquiring funding for the project.

Some of the home’s recent renovations include the rebuilding of windows, the addition of new exterior doors, and the installation of new hardware.

The architectural firm of Cummings & MacGrady Inc., based out of Charleston, worked on the project and measured virtually every step and every board to see if the house could be historically preserved.

“The architects were extremely excited about it,” Lampshire said. “They’ve been great to work with.”

As part of its ongoing efforts, the commission also hopes to collect artifacts, books and paintings to eventually display at the home.

“We’re really looking into doing a heritage, educational quarter where we would be working with Historic Camden and the (Kershaw County) Chamber of Commerce for tourism and the Fine Arts Center (of Kershaw County) for all arts and education. That’s really important to the Price House Commission and also to African-American history,” Lampshire said.

For the Nov. 1 dedication, the organization will also be selling pecans as a way to raise funds for future initiatives.

“They’re very good pecans,” Lampshire said with a laugh.

If funds are available, the commission hopes to build a community garden on the site as well.

“This is really a gift that the commission wanted to give to the community that, hopefully, people will use and learn from, particularly young people,” she said. “We’ve had so many people working on this. It is not just the Price House Commission, but it’s really the whole community.”

Lampshire also said the commission is working with the state’s African-American Heritage Commission to try to put the site on the map as one of the few places that can show visitors what it was like to live during when people resided in the home.

“We’re hoping to have mentoring programs for children as well to let them see what this type of house was like. It’s one of the last houses of its kind,” she said.

Lampshire said the commission is still working on scheduling all the speakers for the Nov. 1 dedication and that future projects are seemingly always on tap.

“It’s history in motion. It just keeps going. But I think it’s something Camden will be very proud of.”

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