Beaufort County Tourism Research to be presented at Resort and Commercial Recreation Association (RCRA) Annual Conference

Dr. Andrew J. Beall lo2014  Professor Charlie Calvert lo

For Immediate Release
October 13, 2015

BEAUFORT, S.C. – Dr. Andrew J. Beall, Executive Director of the Santa Elena Foundation, and Dr. Charles L. Calvert, Chair of the University of South Carolina Beaufort Department of Hospitality and Tourism, are invited to present tourism research at the 35th Annual Conference of the Resort and Commercial Recreation Association (RCRA). The RCRA Board of Directors accepted the two researchers as presenters at the 2015 National Conference to be held at Captiva Island, Florida on November 7 -11.

The Santa Elena Foundation, organized in 2014, is dedicated to research and public education. The Foundation will open an interpretive center this year and plans to open an inaugural exhibit in 2016, the 450th commemorative year of the founding of a Spanish settlement in the Port Royal Sound. Beall and Calvert investigated the likely economic impact of history and cultural tourism on Beaufort County from a new Santa Elena History Center. The success of comparable history centers, parks, and monuments was investigated first, leading to the conclusion that 50,000 or more annual visitors will be attracted to a new feature in Beaufort County.

After completing the initial study conducted in 2014, the researchers recommended visitor demand be tested further. Two questions were added to the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce visitor survey. Respondents recorded overwhelming interest to visit a new history center dedicated to the interpretation of 16th Century European settlement in the area of Port Royal Sound.

Beall and Calvert will present their tourism research at the upcoming RCRA National Conference to explain how cultural and history tourism is an economic driver for the local community. Fully developed, the planned Santa Elena History Center may be the catalyst for a 5-10% increase in hospitality-related jobs in northern Beaufort County.

Casa of the Brave? (article by Island Packet)

Pieces of the Past: Story of Santa Elena emerges in fragments (article by Island Packet)


SANTA ELENA HISTORY CENTER One of Beaufort’s Coolest Attractions Awaits

From Dude Magazine:

Santa-Elena-and-Alvaro-ArmaThis is a very exciting time for those who have been involved in the formation of the Santa Elena Foundation. Not only have they secured a solid board of directors of some of the greatest historians of our time, that know tremendous amounts information about the 16th century, they have also secured the old federal courthouse on Bay Street, in beautiful downtown Beaufort. This will be the home of the soon to be opened Santa Elena History Center. DUDE, you are going to love this place! (read more – download article)

Additions Announced for Santa Elena Foundation Board of Directors


For Immediate Release
October 5, 2015

Beaufort, SC – The Santa Elena Foundation announces that Mr. Greg Dyson, Lt. Gen. Jack Klimp and Dr. Martha Moriarty are the three newest members of the Board of Directors, and each brings a skillset, background and passion that will be uniquely beneficial to advancing the mission of the Santa Elena Foundation.

Gregory W. Dyson, Lt. Col U.S.Army (retired), has been a businessman in Beaufort County since 1990. He holds business degrees from The Citadel (BS) and Boston University (MS). Greg and his wife Sarah reside on Lady’s Island. They have been active in many local civic and charitable organizations for the past 25 years to include the Boys and Girls Club of the Lowcountry, United Way, YMCA, Beaufort Memorial Hospital Foundation, Boy Scouts, Friends of the Beaufort County Library, Rotary Club of Beaufort, and The Parish Church of St. Helena in Beaufort.

Lieutenant General Jack W. Klimp served in the United States Marine Corps for thirty-three years. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a B.S. degree and also holds M.A. degrees in Public Administration and National Security and Strategic Studies. During his career in the Marine Corps, he held multiple command and staff positions including operational tours in Vietnam, Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Somalia where he commanded Task Force Mogadishu. From 1993 to 1995 we was the Commanding General here at Parris Island. Since retirement from the Marine Corps he has led a number of non-profit organizations as President and CEO. These included drug rehabilitation programs at Phoenix House and Second Genesis, two trade associations, the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association and the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute and a veteran advocacy organization, the National Association for Uniformed Services. General Klimp comes to the Santa Elena Foundation having sat as a board member of numerous non-profit boards of directors.

Dr. Martha A. Moriarty is the Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. Her responsibilities include managing a number of academic initiatives including new academic degree program development and directing institutional effectiveness for the university. She serves on a number of university committees and is the Institutional Accreditation Liaison to the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Prior to her position as Associate Vice Chancellor, she worked for the University of South Carolina Graduate School, serving as the Associate Director of the Extended Graduate Campus and the Director of the Master of Arts in Teaching degree program on the Historic Beaufort Campus. Dr. Moriarty has served on numerous accreditation committees for the SACSCOC, has consulted with a number of institutions on accreditation issues, and has presented at regional conferences.
The mission of the Santa Elena Foundation is the discovery, preservation, and promotion of the “Lost Century” of European colonization through the international story of Santa Elena, the 16th Century la Florida settlement that became the colonial Spanish capital in present-day United States. The Foundation is currently focused on establishing the Santa Elena History Center at 1501 Bay Street, planning celebrations for the upcoming 450th anniversary, and continuing research, archaeology and educational outreach.


SC Social Studies Teachers Become Students & Learn Santa Elena Story at State Conference

logoFor Immediate Release
September 25, 2015

Beaufort, SC – The Santa Elena Foundation’s mission to “revise history” took another step forward today as South Carolina teachers gathered in Greenville for the annual Council on Social Studies conference.

Dr. Charles Cornett, the Foundation’s Education Director, explained the “lost century” of American history, emphasizing the Spanish-established Santa Elena on Parris Island in 1566, decades before Plymouth and other English settlements, and clarified how Spain’s goals transcended the subsequent commercial focus of the French and English.

When one teacher asked if early American History was being taught incorrectly, Dr. Cornett responded that current curricula is incomplete in this perspective. K-12 and college textbooks used nationwide, including those in South Carolina, do not include details about Santa Elena and related activities during the earliest years of American colonization.

“The victors traditionally have been the major authors of history, and the English won,” Cornett said. “But we now have hard evidence to correct the history.” He then referred to archaeological artifacts unearthed on Parris Island and a treasure trove of the primary sources documents, like letters written by King Philip II of Spain and Santa Elena’s founder Pedro Menendez de Aviles.

Beaufort County teachers like Keith Weaver, from Robert Smalls International Academy, are already teaching the more complete American colonization narrative. During the “Window on the Atlantic” conference session about Santa Elena, Weaver reported on a project with his students in which they studied the facts and prepared interview questions to use at press conference with Spanish Count Alvaro Alvaro Armada Barcaiztegui, direct descendent of Pedro Menendez de Aviles.

“I kept telling them to dig deeper,” Weaver said. “And they did.”

The students Weaver brought to meet the Spanish Count asked whether Spanish students were taught about Santa Elena and questioned his ancestor’s behavior and conquests. The teachers at the Social Studies Conference were amazed.

“I didn’t know any of this,” one teacher responded, pointing to a set of bullet points about Santa Elena’s history.

The session concluded with a review of resources available at the Santa Elena Foundation website, including a short video and a link to materials for educators that includes an in-depth, standards-based lesson plan developed by the National Parks Service, and how to teach Santa Elena history using inquiry and project approaches. Dr. Cornett also shared information about the Santa Elena partnership with Beaufort Middle School which is uniquely integrating Santa Elena into its Classical Studies program.

The website will continue to grow into an exciting resource for students and teachers. Furthermore, students will be able to experience unique learning opportunities with a visit to the Santa Elena History Center, opening next spring in downtown Beaufort, South Carolina.

Meet Spanish Count Alvaro Armada in September

Beaufort, SC – The Santa Elena Foundation is excited to announce the unique opportunity for the general public to meet Spanish Count Alvaro Armada, the current Adelantado of la Florida and direct descendent of 16th century founder of Santa Elena, Pedro Menendez de Aviles.

Upcoming “Meet & Greet” events include:
Wednesday, September 9
-10:00 A.M. short program followed by Q&A
-Coastal Discovery Museum, Hilton Head Island
Friday, September 11
-1:00 P.M. to 2:00 P.M. drop-in and Q&A
-Beaufort History Museum, Downtown Beaufort Arsenal

The public is welcome to come during these times to meet the Count, learn about him and his lineage, and better understand the efforts to bring Santa Elena, the 16th century settlement on Parris Island, into the spotlight as an important aspect of the founding of America.

“This is only the second time in as many years that the Count has visited Beaufort, and we’d like to share this opportunity with the public,” says Dr. Andy Beall, Santa Elena Foundation Executive Director. “It is a critical time for our Foundation – we are working diligently to open the Santa Elena History Center and prepare for the 450th anniversary in April 2016. We are grateful to our partner organizations for hosting these exciting events.”

The Coastal Discovery Museum, a partner of the Santa Elena Foundation, is located at Honey Horn Plantation on Hilton Head Island and is a community based, educational institution dedicated to fostering greater knowledge and appreciation of the cultural heritage and natural history of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. On site of the museum, visitors can also see a Marsh Tacky horse, a breed that descended from Spanish horses that were brought here in the 16th century.

The Beaufort History Museum, also a partner of the Santa Elena Foundation, is located in downtown Beaufort in the Arsenal on Craven Street. It is chartered by the City of Beaufort to share the deep and rich history of the Beaufort District. Among its many exhibits is an introduction to the story of Santa Elena and the 16th century settlement activity in the Beaufort area.

The mission of the Santa Elena Foundation is to discover, promote, and preserve the “Lost Century” of European colonization through the story of Santa Elena. The Foundation is focused on growing its family of volunteers and supporters to help bring this story and History Center to life.

Partnership with local school announced by Santa Elena Foundation

Beaufort, SC – The start of the new school year brought a partnership between the Santa Elena Foundation and Beaufort Middle School, an art-integrated school with Classical Studies program of choice led by instructors Dr. Brooks Thomas and Mrs. Melanie Blanton.

In the coming weeks, when students learn about the earliest years of American History and the explorations of the 16th century, Santa Elena will become a much more familiar term. The school itself is less than ten miles from the actual site of the 16th century Spanish settlement. And as the Foundation prepares to open the Santa Elena History Center in downtown Beaufort, the Classical Studies students will offer their perspective and insight on creating an interpretive center that captures young imaginations.

“The first week of school provided an exciting introduction to the relevant learning this partnership offers. The students are already deeply involved in the creative processes of planning how this history will be shared.” said Dr. Thomas.

The partnership will support the vision of both programs. Students at Beaufort Middle School will make connections with the community as leaders, thinkers, and good citizens while learning, promoting and preserving the history of the 16th century Spanish settlement of Santa Elena. Educational outreach is a key component of the Foundation’s efforts.

“This opportunity allows for hands-on, real world experiences for our students as readers, writers and historians,” Mrs. Blanton noted. Because the teachers collaborate on curriculum and weave key themes throughout a variety of subjects, the Santa Elena story will also engage students in their music, art, drama, English, Spanish, social studies, and science classes.

Forty Classical Studies sixth-grade students are immersed in this partnership, and the learning experiences have stirred excitement and commitment with eighth-grade teachers through their curriculum, South Carolina History. Additionally, academic arts teachers are planning ways students will integrate their learning through the creative process.

“Learning this missing piece of history has become a school-wide endeavor. By assisting in this local re-discovery of 16th century history, the Classical Studies program will build on the past to develop responsible, knowledgeable, creative 21st century citizens,” shared Carole Ingram, principal of Beaufort Middle School, “and the ripple effect will be felt throughout our school.”

In September, the students will have the unique opportunity to meet Spanish Count Alvaro Armada, the current Adelantado of la Florida and direct descendent of 16th Century founder of Santa Elena, Pedro Menendez de Aviles. This also sets the stage for another learning opportunity as Spanish Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15.

“Together we are learning much more about our country’s heritage and the ‘lost century’ of American history,” noted Dr. Andy Beall, Foundation Executive Director. “To have these bright, young minds engaged in the process is simply sensational, and we appreciate the partnership with Beaufort Middle School. We hope that all schools and textbooks will eventually share more information about this important part of American history.”

The Foundation offers a lesson plan created by the National Park Service as a free resource for all teachers and is accessible via the Education section of the Santa Elena website. To learn more about the Santa Elena Foundation’s education outreach and lesson plans, visit

Efforts target bringing Beaufort County’s past into the present

CaptureFrom the Beaufort Gazette:

“More than 30 people filled the meeting room at the Beaufort County Library last week in Beaufort to hear a presentation about progress at Fort Frederick.

After watching S.C. Department of Natural Resources videos, the group piled into cars and followed DNR archeologist Meg Gaillard down to Port Royal, eventually rumbling down a dirt path behind Beaufort Naval Hospital to an 18th-century fort, thought to be the oldest tabby structure in the state and built by the British to defend Port Royal Sound and the city of Beaufort from the Spanish.” Read More at the Island Packet / Beaufort Gazette

Notable new advisors commit to Santa Elena Foundation

Beaufort, SC — The Santa Elena Foundation has named three new members to its Advisory Board: Dr. Walter Edgar, Dr. Rex Garniewicz, and Dr. David Moore.

They join an esteemed group of advisors that participate in the development of the Santa Elena Foundation and offer insight and guidance as the Foundation prepares to open the Santa Elena Center, host the 450th anniversary symposium and commemoration events, and continue archaeology at the Santa Elena site. Their expertise on 16th century and local history, archaeology, museum management, and business development are valuable assets to the Santa Elena team.

Dr. Walter Edgar is a Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the University of South Carolina. He received his B.A. at Davidson College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. at University of South Carolina. Throughout his career as a professor, Dr. Edgar received numerous awards and honors, including entry into the South Carolina Hall of Fame. Dr. Edgar has published dozens of papers, articles, and books; among them is The South Carolina Encyclopedia.

Dr. Rex Garniewicz received his B.A from Wesleyan University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Indiana University. He is currently President & CEO of the Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head Island. Dr. Garniewicz previously served as Deputy Director at the San Diego Museum of Man and as Vice President of Science and Technology at the Indiana State Museum. His interests in archaeology and museum work are wide-ranging.  He has published archaeological work from both Native American sites and early American forts, and he is currently curating a traveling exhibition on the history of beer for the Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. David Moore received his B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and his MA and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He served as the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology’s Western Office archaeologist for 18 years before becoming a full-time faculty member at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. Dr. Moore has directed the archaeological investigations at the Berry site since 1986. He is the author and co-author of numerous book chapters and articles. Dr. Moore is leading 450th anniversary commemoration events for the overland trail of Juan Pardo, which originated at Santa Elena.

The three new additions to the Santa Elena Advisory Board join these members: Dr. Daryl Ferguson, Alvaro Armada Barcaiztegui, Dr. Eugene Lyon, Dr. Paul Hoffman, Dr. Chester DePratter, Dr. William Kelso, Dr. Michael Francis, Dr. Eric Emerson, Dr. Bruce Fryer, Dr. Mary Socci, Dick Stewart, Dean Moss, and Maggie Bertin.

To learn more about the Santa Elena Foundation’s Board and Advisory members, visit


From Dude Magazine

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View full article

The Santa Elena Foundation will soon have a home in a historic building on the corner of Bay and Bladen Streets in Downtown Beaufort. The former Federal Courthouse building will be transformed to meet the mission of the discovery, preservation, and promotion of Santa Elena, the 16th century settlement established on present-day Parris Island. Santa Elena was the European capital city of all Spanish claimed lands from Newfoundland to the Rio Grande known as La Florida.! The children born in Santa Elena would have been forty-years old when Pocahontas met John Smith at Jamestown.

This summer, Beaufort County will finalize a long-term lease with the Foundation to establish a first class Interpretive Center to tell the Santa Elena story. The historic building is located on the original site of the “Barnwell Castle,” one of the finest homes in Beaufort. In 1825, Beau-fort hosted a ceremonial ball honoring the Marquis de Lafayette. Sold to Union officers during the Civil War for taxes, the building was used as a courthouse in the 1870’s until it burned to the ground in 1879.

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Beaufort County Leases Historic Federal Courthouse to The Santa Elena Foundation

BEAUFORT, S.C., March 9, 2015 – Beaufort County Council voted unanimously today to lease its historic Federal Courthouse to the Santa Elena Foundation, whose mission is the discovery, preservation, and promotion of the “lost 100 years of European colonization” through the international story of Santa Elena, the 16th Century settlement and colonial capital on present-day Parris Island in the United States. (Read More – Download Press Release)


Beaufort County tendering lease with Santa Elena Foundation for historic courthouse

From the Beaufort Gazette:

“Beaufort County leaders are putting the finishing touches on a proposed lease to turn the old federal courthouse in Beaufort into a history museum and the main offices for the Santa Elena Foundation.

The plan would give the foundation its first real headquarters and jump-start its efforts to preserve the history of Santa Elena, a 16th-century Spanish settlement in Port Royal, foundation director Andy Beall said.”

Santa Elena Foundation Featured In Dude Magazine

“Last issue I introduced you DUDE followers to the SANTA ELENA FOUNDATION and their ongoing fantastic efforts to bring this important story to the forefront of American history. Yeah, we know the story of Jamestown in 1607 as told and documented by our war winning English forefathers BUT, if the Spanish would have won, I think Santa Elena would certainly be documented as the first real European settlement in America. Of course, now, we’re really biased as this place is located in our very own beautiful Beaufort County, South Carolina, more particularly on Parris Island, Marine Recruit Depot. There is of course a WHY? and it was the battle to see who would conquer the New World: the French, the Spanish or the English. But there is no question about the WHO? of Santa Elena and it is none other than one bad ass DUDE named Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the first governor of La Florida. Let’s get to know this DUDE.”

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Spanish Count Of Guemes To Visit Beaufort

For Immediate Release

Alvaro Armada Barcaiztegui


The Santa Elena Foundation Board of Directors will welcome board member Álvaro Armada Barcaiztegui on his first visit to Beaufort later this month. Sr. Armada is a direct descendent of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, the 16th century Adelantado Mayor of La Florida (governor general) and founder of Santa Elena. Sr. Armada is the Count of Güemes and is to be named the IX Count of Revilla-Gigedo and XX Adelantado Mayor of La Florida by His Majesty Felipe VI, King of Spain.

Álvaro Armada will spend several days in Beaufort County and will meet with members of the news media Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 1 p.m. in the first floor conference room of the Beaufort College Building on the University of South Carolina Beaufort’s Historic Beaufort Campus. The Beaufort College Building is located at 801 Carteret St.

Sr. Armada dedicates his time to the promotion of 500 years of distinguished family history and public service. The count is curator of a private archive of original documents, one of the most important private collections in Spain. He shares with the Santa Elena Foundation considerable international leadership experience and a personal connection to the history of Spanish colonization in North America.

Organized by local business leaders, civic leaders and scholars, the Santa Elena Foundation promotes the history of the arrival of Europeans on the North American coast. Spanish settlers established the community of Santa Elena in 1569 as the first colonial capital in America. The story of European rivals struggling for dominance in North America involved French, Spanish and English explorers and their interactions with nations of Native American people. The Santa Elena Foundation is dedicated to sharing the little known history of this “lost century” through archaeological research, a cultural interpretive center and a living history museum.


The Santa Elena Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Beaufort County, South Carolina. The mission of the foundation is to expand the story of European colonization of North America through discovery, preservation and promotion of Santa Elena, the first colonial capital in the present-day United States.

Dr. Larry Rowland to speak on The Story of Santa Elena: America’s Lost Century

For Immediate Release



Dr. Larry Rowland to speak on

The Story of Santa Elena:  America’s Lost Century


Larry Rowland (1 of 1)When and Where was America first settled by Europeans?  Was it Jamestown or Plymouth as we learned in grammar school?  Or was it really much earlier, right here in BeaufortCounty – in Santa Elena?   The  period, from 1492 when Columbus arrived in America through the end of the 1500’s are crucial years for Beaufort County but these one hundred years have been lost in our history books.

Dr. Larry Rowland, local historian and professor emeritus at USC-Beaufort,  will electrify the public as he brings to life  this “Lost Century” .  The lecture will be held on Sunday, October 19th at 4pm at the Center for the Arts on USC-Beaufort’s historic campus.   Admission is $25

Today, scholars agree that present day United States was first settled as a Spanish community at Santa Elena in 1569. Documents prove that Spain’s Governor-General of la Florida, Pedro Menendez, landed at Santa Elena in 1566 and established a military garrison; Menendez then brought 200 settlers to Santa Elena in 1569. He made it the Capital of Spanish la Florida and nurtured the settlement until his death in 1574. Spanish soldiers and settlers remained at Santa Elena until consolidated in 1587 to Saint Augustine and Santa Elena was abandoned.

The newly established Santa Elena Foundation, a non-profit organization based in BeaufortCounty is sponsoring the lecture in conjunction with the Center for the Arts.  The Foundation’s mission is to expand the story of European colonization of North America through discovery, preservation and promotion of Santa Elena.

For more information, please contact the Center for the Arts box office at 521-4145.!special-events/c1q2z


Santa Elena History

In the mid-16th century, Spain and France competed for control of North America. The Spanish government believed it had exclusive rights to the continent by the blessing of the Catholic Church, and France disagreed. To protect its Atlantic shipping route from English and French privateers, Spain colonized points along the southeastern coast from the Caribbean to the Carolinas. One of these outposts was Santa Elena, the first colonial capital of Spanish Florida. Spanish colonists founded Santa Elena in 1566 on an island in the Port Royal Sound of present-day South Carolina. Both French and Spanish colonists occupied the site during the 16th century. Today, the Charlesfort-Santa Elena site is a National Historic Landmark important for its associations with the 16th century conflict between Spain and France for control of the New World and with officers Spaniard Pedro Menendez de Aviles and Frenchman Jean Ribault. The site is also considered archaeologically significant.

Dr. Charles Cornett joins Santa Elena Foundation to help educators expand colonial curriculum

Dr Charles Cornett  2014August 8, 2014, Beaufort, South Carolina – The Santa Elena Foundation Board of Directors welcomes Dr. Charles Cornett as Director of Historical Education. Cornett, a retired school superintendent, will serve on the Foundation’s advisory board and coordinate education outreach.

“Our goal is to align American understanding of our colonial past with historical evidence, particularly archaeological evidence that confirms the Spanish established the Santa Elena settlement on Parris Island circa 1566,” explained Cornett. “Santa Elena predates Jamestown and Plymouth by decades. Unfortunately, while school history texts describe the Pilgrims’ arrival and First Thanksgiving—with their cast of English characters—they say little about life at the earlier Santa Elena, a Spanish town that existed for twenty years. Of course in the past, only the victors wrote the history.” Cornett is facilitating the implementation of the National Park Services (NPS) Santa Elena curriculum by encouraging educators to use and enhance what he calls “inquiry-based” lesson plans that engage students in discussion, analysis of maps, use of the Internet and much more. In particular, he points to how the NPS plans seek to have students synthesize conclusions and apply new learning. For example, students are challenged to find ways to educate their own communities.

“The Santa Elena story should be a point of pride for South Carolinians and all Hispanic students,” Cornett said. “Santa Elena’s 450-year anniversary comes up in 2016 and we hope to have made real progress by then. The National Park Services will soon release a resource for teachers, including web-based lessons plans that challenge students to delve into the fascinating history of Santa Elena.