On July 4, the Colleton County Historical and Preservation Society discovered that the top of the front façade of the ruin at Pon Pon Chapel of Ease toppled.
The damaged part of the ruin was rebuilt in the 1970s after a tree fell through the front during Hurricane Gracie. At this time, CCHAPS does not know the cause, but will be investigating and consulting with structural engineers. The original back corner and original bricks in the front façade are still intact.
The grounds are closed to the public during the investigation, clean-up and planning. The sheriff’s office will patrol the area and protect the structure.
Pon Pon Chapel of Ease is a church ruin dating to 1753 when a brick building replaced a wooden one destroyed by a hurricane. The chapel was damaged again in 1801 and fell into disrepair in the 1830s. During Hurricane Gracie (1959), the front façade was damaged when a tree fell, leaving two original corners in front and one in back. In the 1970s, the front façade was rebuilt. Over time, the top of the façade developed a crack. After Hurricane Matthew (2016), the crack enlarged and CCHAPS contacted structural engineers to develop a plan to stabilize the property.
The immediate area around the chapel has been roped off to protect both visitors and the ruin. CCHAPS plans to continue its fundraising efforts to stabilize the property and interpret the site.
For more information about the continuing work at Pon Pon, follow Colleton County Historical and Preservation Society on Facebook.