Beaufort is steeped in historic charm and natural beauty, but you might not realize just how amazing that history and nature are.
Here are fun facts about one of our favorite places.
1. Beaufort, founded in 1711, is the second oldest city in South Carolina, after Charleston.
Beaufort grew much more slowly than nearby Charleston. The reason? The constant threat of battles with Native Americans and a potential attack by the Spanish.
2. The French attempted the first European settlement in the area in 1562 on nearby Parris Island.
They called the settlement Charlesfort. The French settlement of Charlesfort failed to prosper. After the French Navy failed to come back to resupply the struggling soldier-settlers, they mutinied, built their own ship, and sailed back to France with sails made of bed sheets. The boat the French settlers made makes Port Royal Sound the first port in the U.S. to build and launch a transatlantic vessel.
3. Although its name sounds French, English and named after Henry Somerset, the Duke of Beaufort founded the city.
4. Beaufort is actually made up of 68 islands.
At high tide, the city is as much water as it is land. Spectacular salt marshes, as far as the eye can see surrounds Beaufort. The Beaufort County area accounts for almost a quarter of all of the marshland on the entire east coast.
5. There are no frogs in Frogmore Stew.
Frogmore Stew got its distinctive name at Gay Fish Company sometime in the 1960s. Frogmore is the name of a village on nearby St. Helena Island. The iconic South Carolina dish has been a staple of Lowcountry cuisine for decades or longer. Sometimes called Beaufort Stew or Lowcountry boil, shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn on the cob are its main ingredients.
6. Because of the efforts of local son, Robert Smalls, President Abraham Lincoln to accept African-American soldiers into the Union Army.
Robert Smalls was an enslaved man who organized and executed one of the most daring escapes in the Civil War to free his wife and children. He commandeered and piloted a Confederate ship through Charleston Harbor to freedom. Smalls was elected to the South Carolina Legislature and the United States House of Representatives during the Reconstruction era. He was born and died in Beaufort, and you can still see his home today at 511 Prince St.