White Point Gardens Bandstand Renovation Progress Aug. 2009

As of Aug. 2009, restoration work of the White Point Gardens bandstand has removed the circa 1934 foundation and steps, the original cast iron columns, and decorative arches.
The tiled roof has been raised and is presently resting on steel I beams awaiting completion of the new foundation along with re-installation of the original cast iron columns and arches.
The $273,500 price tag to renovate the 1907 bandstand has not gone without comments in this era of widespread economic downturn, however supporters of the project state that the bandstand generates revenue for the city from rental of the space by wedding parties and is an "iconic structure" worthy of restoration.
The band stand has become a prominent landmark and favorite destination for brides and visitors during it's 107 years in White Point Gardens, but some question the need for such extensive rebuilding of the structure rather than a more conservative and less expensive preservation project.

In a recent post to "Paint Charleston Daily", a reader states the following: "The band stand is completely made of cast iron. The casting was done by Riley iron works in 1902. Does anyone know if this is a descendant of the present mayor and what the cost was back then to cast the columns and upper arches? And, where was Riley iron works foundry? David"

I haven't heard of the casting history of the bandstand before this comment. Anyone know any more information about the Riley ironworks foundry? (Click here for my post about Riley Iron Works in Chas, SC).

PS - Here is a link to pictures of the renovated White Point Gardens Bandstand in March 2010.


Katherine Muschick Schneider said...

According to Dr. Nicholas Butler, Manager of "The Charleston Archive" at the Charleston County Public Library, early 1900's city records list John F. Riley as operating his foundry on South St. in Chas.
Census records indicate that this John F. Riley was the brother of Mayor Joe Riley's grandfather, Andrew J. Riley.

It's interesting that David states the bandstand's ironwork was cast at the Riley Foundry in 1902. Dr. Butler says he found no mention of the Riley Foundry in newspaper stories about the bandstand from 1906-1907. The 1902 date seems early for the White Point Gardens bandstand which wasn't proposed until 1905 and built in 1907.

The bandstand was a gift to the city from the Carrington-Williams family. City records of that era don't contain any information about the cost or source of the materials. However, a story in the Jan 19, 1907 issue of the Charleston News and Courier states that the yet-to-be-erected bandstand will cost "about $5,000."

David does present interesting information about the beautiful cast iron columns and arches of the bandstand. Does anyone have additional information about the origin of the bandstand's iron work?

Katherine Muschick Schneider said...

Dustin Clemens, Project Manager of the White Point Gardens Restoration Project for the City of Charleston Parks Department has confirmed that there is a "Riley Iron Works" mark on the base of a White Point Gardens bandstand column. A picture of the foundry mark may be see in the blog post-"Riley Iron Works Origin of White Point Gardens Bandstand".

David said...

I may have been incorrect on my time line of 1902 and 1905 does seeem to be the correct time line for construction of the cast iron structure as I have seen it inscribed on a piece of the band stand. It may be interesting to know that the original castings of the arches, 4 small and 4 large, had large defects in the cast. Meaning large holes and defects throughout the arches. Thease defects were repaired at the time of it's original casting and not at a later date as some may have assumed but are deteriating. The defects are being corrected now by David Rowland a Charleston native using 2 part expoxy. All moldings and flutes will be brought back to life. The West System expoxy is expected to out last the cast iron material on the structure.

Katherine Muschick Schneider said...

Hi David,
Michael Blanchard, President of Charles Blanchard Construction Co. allowed me to see the restoration work his company is completing on the ironwork of the bandstand. I had an opportunity to talk with David Rowland as he worked on restoring the damaged cast iron arches. It was a rare opportunity to look inside the 100 yr. old cast iron pieces of the White Point Gardens bandstand from the John F. Riley Iron Works foundry in Charleston. I felt as if I had taken a trip back in time...

Thanks for your comments and information about the restoration of this historic landmark.


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