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Allen Benedict Court, 1810 Allen Benedict Court (etc): September 2021   1 comment

Posted at 11:08 pm in closing

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Driving on Laurel Street recently, I noticed that something is going on at the public housing development of Allen Benedict Court. I recalled that there had been a fatal gas leak there in 2019, but had missed the follow-up that all the residents had been moved out and the place scheduled for demolition this month.

The development, in the square bounded by Harden Street, Read Street, Oak Street & Laurel Street, was built in 1940 and in those Jim Crow days was the Black counterpart to the Whites only Gonzales Gardens, which was itself recently demolished.

This State article has some reflections on the history of the complex, which went from a safe place to raise kids in the beginning to problematic in recent years. According to WLTX final enviromental testing before demolition has begun.

UPDATE 15 November 2021 -- As of the time of these pictures, (23 October 2021), it looks like demolition is complete, though the rubble has not been cleared. There does appear to be one building which has been left. For historical purposes perhaps?

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Written by ted on September 13th, 2021

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Gonzales Gardens, 1505 Garden Plaza: 4 October 2017   8 comments

Posted at 11:05 pm in closing

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Gonzales Gardens was a public housing project comprising the tract bordered by Lyon Street on the West, Forest Drive on the North, McDuffie Avenue on the East and Washington Street on the South.

According to The State, demolition of Gonzales Gardens started on 4 October 2017. I took these pictures on 1 October when the place was fenced off, but still standing. I have not driven by lately, but imagine it is all down by now.

I never knew much about the place, except that it had something of a shady reputation by the time I became aware of it in the late 1960s. Apparently it was not always that way, and in fact another State story recounts some happy memories of the place from the early years.

The Columbia Housing Authority has the most extensive writeup with a lot of interesting facts. For instance, the place was originally built largely for Fort Jackson NCOs, and was, in those Jim Crow times, initially restricted to white families only. Another thing I did not know was where the name came from: The project was named for the three Gonzales brothers long associated with The State newspaper, one of whom was murdered in 1903 by the nephew of then Governor Tillman.

Written by ted on November 8th, 2017

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