Sullivan’s Island

Car Window tintingin Sullivan's Island, SC

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Troop Films has been installing paint protection film for over 4 years now, and we are always improving our techniques.

Auto Tint Shop Sullivan's Island, SC

Trust the Troop Car Window
Tinting Difference

 Paint Protection Sullivan's Island, SC

In today's hectic, always-on-the-go world, having a car is essential for transportation around the city. It's hard to imagine life without a car. Without them, you wouldn't be able to make it to work, the grocery store, the laundromat, or important events like your children's sports events. Having a vehicle is a necessity these days because we use them so much, but many car owners don't make strides to protect their investment or what might be inside that investment.

Aside from purchasing an extended warranty for your car, one of the best ways to protect your car is with professional vehicle window tinting in Sullivan's Island, SC. What a warranty won't do, however, is boost curb appeal, reduce sun glare, block harmful radiation, protect your valuables, and provide privacy 24-hours a day.

At Troop Films LLC, we specialize in the finest ceramic window tints and certified paint protection films in South Carolina. We have been installing tints and paint protection film for several years and are always improving our techniques. As true window tinting experts, we have had the pleasure of working on so many different types of vehicles - from multi-million-dollar sports cars to junkers barely worth a grand. Doing so has allowed owner and certified installer Stephon Troop to refine his window tinting game and master techniques like clear bra installation. Today, he has a full-service team behind him, ready and waiting to serve loyal customers just like you.

Unlike some of our competitors, we take meticulous steps to ensure we provide the best work possible on your vehicle. We don't believe in taking shortcuts just to save a few cents. Instead, we go the extra mile to ensure all our customers are satisfied, whether it's completing special request projects or simply taking the time to ensure our work is done right. Whether you own a vintage Ferrari or a busted-up Ford, we aim to provide the highest quality car window tinting around.

When we say we're detail-oriented, we mean it. Here are just a few reasons why customers choose Troop Films for their car window tinting in South Carolina:

  • We remove vehicle parts like blinker covers to ensure dirt and grime aren't trapped.
  • We use computers to make sure your tint or coating is installed properly and precisely.
  • We remove emblems and badges so that we can wrap underneath them, giving your car more protection.
  • We wrap all edges of our ceramic window tints, so your job is seamless, and your tint remains effective year-round.

Curious about how we protect so many cars in South Carolina and the metro Sullivan's Island area? Expertise, customer service, and affordable prices are just the start. Our excellence starts at the top - here are a few words from Troop Films owner, Stephon Troop.

SERVICE AREAS

Meet Your Certified Vehicle Window Tinting Installer

Stephon and his wife, both originally from the chilly state of Pennsylvania, moved to Sullivan's Island, SC, for the warm beach weather and friendly Lowcountry residents.

Though Stephon now has many years of car window tinting under his belt, his training was completed under one of the best car window tint installers in the United States. Installing window tints, paint protection films, and ceramic coatings alongside during this time helped Stephon learn all the techniques and tricks needed to succeed. After training up north, Stephon continued to learn in Texas, where he became a certified paint protection and window tint installer. Since that time, Stephon has mastered even more car protection techniques to offer his customers a comprehensive list of services.

 Auto Tint Sullivan's Island, SC

Car Window Tinting
in Sullivan's Island, SC

Here is a simple truth: not all vehicle window tinting services are equal. Sure, you could spend a few bucks on a DIY window tinting kit, but going this route almost guarantees trouble. From unsightly fading to film bubbles, these offer the bare minimum in protection. With subpar quality, these kits also peel very quickly, causing you to spend more money to re-apply or have your tint professionally installed.

Speaking of window tinting services, few companies in South Carolina combine professional applications with the highest quality window tint film available. That's what sets Troop Films apart from other window tinting businesses - quality film, expert application, meticulous attention to detail, and the best customer service available.

Unlike some of our competitors, we use SunTek ceramic window tinting film, which is among the best in the industry. This technologically advanced product line provides outstanding, top-of-the-line films. With ceramic technology, infrared rejection and solar performance are enhanced, resulting in a non-metal construction that doesn't cause interference with portable or onboard electronic devices.

Our SunTek ceramic tint options come in a range of nine darkness levels. Each shade of tint has an ultra-attractive appearance, is non-reflective, and helps prevent color changes. With this fantastic film, you, your passengers, and your vehicle's interior are protected from 99% of UV rays from the sun. With outstanding infrared and heat rejection properties, your vehicle's interior comfort remains cooler and more comfortable all year long.

 Tint Services Sullivan's Island, SC

Most Common Reasons to Tint
Your Vehicle's Windows

Here are just a few of the most common reasons why South Carolina vehicle owners choose Troop Films for window tinting:

Privacy

Privacy

When we ask our customers why they want to tint their windows, privacy is often first on their list. When you begin to think about it, it makes sense. Why allow other drivers to invade your privacy when you can keep prying eyes off of your identity and personal belongings? It's not unreasonable to want privacy for you and your family while you're driving. You never know who you will pull up next to at a red light, and with our vehicle window tinting services in Sullivan's Island, SC, they don't have to know you either.

Style

Style

There's something inherently cool about having your windows tinted. Even if you're not trying to impress anyone with your car, having your windows tinted helps give it a refined, modern look, which enhances curb appeal. If you're getting tired of the way your car or truck's exterior looks, spice it up a little and bring it into Troop Films for professional window tinting. We think you will be happy with the results.

Comfort

Comfort

Have you ever sat down in your vehicle in the middle of summer, after it's been sitting outside all day? It feels like your car has turned into an oven. Sometimes, it can get so hot in your car that it's hard to grip the steering wheel. As you probably already know, summers in South Carolina can be brutal. When the temperatures heat up in the Lowcountry, your vehicle traps most of that heat, causing interior temperatures to reach unsafe levels. But when you have your windows tinted with Troop Films, your car will stay cooler in the spring and summer. With ceramic film, glare from headlights and streetlights is also reduced, meaning you can see easier without having to strain your eyes. More comfort and more safety - what's not to love?

Health and Safety

Health and Safety

When you think about car window tinting, most folks don't think about the health and safety benefits involved. But when it comes to you and your passengers, safety should be top of your list. High temps in your vehicle, usually caused by UV rays, are a safety concern not only for your skin and eyes but for your car's safety mechanisms. This is especially true for your airbags, which can be damaged and left inoperable when interior temperatures are high enough. Obviously, that's a huge safety risk.

Fading Dashboard

Fading Dashboard

Over time, your vehicle's dashboard will take a beating when your car is left out in the sun. The combo of harmful UV rays and high heat can ruin dashboard materials, leaving them cracked, faded, and in need of repair. Fixing your dashboard can be a costly endeavor. However, doing so can be avoided with high-quality ceramic tints from Troop Films.

 Ceramic Window Tint Sullivan's Island, SC

Certified Installer

Benefits of Vehicle Window Tinting
in Sullivan's Island, SC

If you're still on the fence about ceramic window tinting for your vehicle, consider
the following benefits of our SunTek films:

 Ceramic Coatings Sullivan's Island, SC
  • Unrestricted Communications - some window films contain traces of metals, which can cause interference with devices. Our metal-free films won't interfere with your cell phone, GPS, satellite radio, or other electronic devices that you use while driving.
  • Resistant to Color Changes - Our technologically-advanced window films are scientifically created to give you an attractive, non-reflective appearance without color fading.
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty - You read that right - when you buy window tints from Troop Films, your products are covered by the manufacturer against peeling, adhesive failures, changes in color, cracking, and delamination. Some restrictions do apply.
  • Precise Installation - When you work with Troop Films, you can have peace of mind knowing your window tint will be applied seamlessly and accurately. That's because we have access to core pattern-cutting software that trims your window film tightly. With our precise installation, you can rest easy knowing your tint will fit the make, model, and year of your vehicle like a glove.

The Ultimate Protection: Car
Window Tinting and Paint
Protection Film in Sullivan's Island, SC

They say the first cut is always the deepest, and that's certainly true when it comes to your vehicle. Few things are as frustrating as getting out of your car, only to realize that a stray rock has dented your favorite car or truck. Dents and scratches from road debris like rocks and even acids from bugs all take their toll on your vehicle's overall appearance and value. Along with UV rays, "road rash" from winter salt, sand, rocks, pebbles, branches, and more will compromise your vehicle's integrity and can mean lower resale value.

If you're looking for total protection from heat and UV rays as well as road debris, we recommend car window tinting in Sullivan's Island, SC along with our paint protection film application. Paint protection film, also called your vehicle's clear bra, provides a shield of protection from road rash, preserves your car's paint job, increases its longevity, and can increase its resale value. Paint protection film is very useful for everyday use, especially if you're driving on the highway or simply want to protect your favorite car. Clear bras are also helpful for work vehicles, which often receive dents and scratches due to the nature of their work.

At Troop Film, our SunTek paint protection film is among the highest quality films in the industry. Common application areas include:

  • Vehicle Paint
  • Door Handles
  • Headlights
  • Rear Fenders
  • Front Bumpers
  • Mirrors
  • Hoods
 PPF Sullivan's Island, SC

Our paint protection films are completely reinvented products that merge the hydrophobicity of ceramic with premium, self-healing paint protection film. Common benefits of having your vehicle protected with paint film include:

01

Endurance

Your car's finish will stay flawless and fresh with our car protection films, which shield against salt, rocks, insects, and other debris.

02

Resistance

Our HydroResist top-coat protection boosts your vehicle's stain resistance by limiting dirt and water accumulation on your protection film's surface.

03

Self-Healing

It sounds too good to be true, but our films really do heal themselves by using the heat from the sun or your vehicle's engine.

04

Look Great

Our paint protection films are available in high gloss and matte finishes, leaving your car with outstanding optics and clarity.

Have Questions? We've Got Answers!

In addition to the highest-quality car window tinting products, our customer service team excels at answering any questions you may have. We're here to help in any way and can even help determine which kind of protection is best for your vehicle. Call, text, or fill out the inquiry form on our website. Before you know it, your car will be super-stylish and even safer to drive with the help of Troop Films LLC.

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Latest News in Sullivan's Island, SC

First Trio Of Loggerhead Nests Hatch On Isle Of Palms

By Mary Pringle for The Island Eye NewsLate July is crunch time during loggerhead nesting season. This is when our turtles are still laying multiple nests each week and nests that were laid in May are hatching at the same time. The average incubation time for a loggerhead nest to hatch and produce turtles in South Carolina is about 45 to 60 days. On the Isle of Palms the first three nests to hatch did this in 57, 59 and 53 days. Newly hatched loggerheads normally come out of the sand at least several hours after the sun goes down. Aft...

By Mary Pringle for The Island Eye News

Late July is crunch time during loggerhead nesting season. This is when our turtles are still laying multiple nests each week and nests that were laid in May are hatching at the same time. The average incubation time for a loggerhead nest to hatch and produce turtles in South Carolina is about 45 to 60 days. On the Isle of Palms the first three nests to hatch did this in 57, 59 and 53 days. Newly hatched loggerheads normally come out of the sand at least several hours after the sun goes down. After several days the 100-plus hatchlings that have been breaking out of their eggs with their sharp “egg tooth” have all worked together to dig toward the surface where they wait until the temperature near the surface drops a few degrees. This is their instinctual cue that it is probably dark above the surface and safer for them to make their break to the ocean. There are nocturnal predators such as ghost crabs, raccoons and coyotes, but at least birds and blazing hot July sun are not likely to create problems at night. Some hatchlings even emerge from the nest well after midnight or just before dawn. Surprisingly, two out of the first three nests on the Isle of Palms recently emerged during daylight hours – one near the 5 Avenue Access path before the sun went down on the evening of July 15 and the other at the Wild Dunes Property Owners’ Beach House as the sun was rising on the morning of July 18. Since we have been having lots of cooling rain showers in the last few weeks, this could have tricked them into thinking that nighttime cooling had cooled down the sand and not rain showers. On July 15 the Redd family from Aiken was staying in the vacation rental house at 512 Ocean Blvd. when their children saw one hatchling leave the nest about 6:30 p.m. They called the DNR hotline number on the nest sign 1-800-922-5431 and reported this. The DNR Radio Room in Columbia notified our team that this was happening. You can also report this locally to the IOPPD at 843-886-6522. We rushed out onto the beach in time to escort well over 100 hatchlings to the water on a beach with many people present. At least light disorientation is not a problem in the daylight because the turtles can see the ocean clearly. It was important to keep people away from the area between the turtles and the ocean waves as they crawled down the slope of the beach. Beachgoers were thrilled to witness such a special event, and some were even moved with tears in their eyes. Then on the morning of July 18, a nest that had been laid in Dewees Inlet near the Links golf course 17th tee and relocated to a dune just north of the Wild Dunes Property Owners’ Beach House started to erupt. Turtle Team member Carolyn Eshelman who lives in Ocean Club Villas was checking the beach for new nests and the existing nests for signs of hatching. She reported seeing turtles there in the early morning sun.

Other team members went, and they protected this group of hatchlings crawling to the water.

With 50 nests and counting on our two islands, it is turning out to be a very prolific year for our loggerheads. As of July 20, Isle of Palms has 37 nests with three hatched. Sullivan’s Island has 13 nests and none have hatched.

Mt. Pleasant adjusting short-term rental rules, number cap and taxes

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - Mount Pleasant is changing its options and limits on short-term rental regulations. The town first implemented a short-term rental policy in 2020.The planning committee decided rentals should not make up more than 1% of the town’s residential property, and owners would have to apply for a permit and pay a special tax. The 1% calculation allowed 437 rental properties in the town.Planning Director Michele Reed says short-term property ordinances are new to a lot of cities in the past few years....

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - Mount Pleasant is changing its options and limits on short-term rental regulations. The town first implemented a short-term rental policy in 2020.

The planning committee decided rentals should not make up more than 1% of the town’s residential property, and owners would have to apply for a permit and pay a special tax. The 1% calculation allowed 437 rental properties in the town.

Planning Director Michele Reed says short-term property ordinances are new to a lot of cities in the past few years.

“About four years ago, they decided to have staff start kind of conducting some public meetings and start doing some research on what are other municipalities doing and we did we looked at we looked at Folly Beach and Sullivan’s Island, the City of Charleston, and then we looked at municipalities and cities in other states to see how other folks did in other areas of the country,” Reed says.

Now the city is working to refine the ordinance. They will cap applications at 400 short-term rentals and offer two types of applications for owners. Owners who rent out between 24 and 72 nights a year, will pay a $250 application fee and a 4% tax on their property. Owners who rent out more than 72 nights a year will pay a $1,500 application fee and a 6% tax on their property.

“You recognize things as it’s put in place and you begin to administer it. You can’t write the perfect ordinance. So you see where there’s loopholes or you see where there’s problems or the language isn’t crystal clear. And so you see where those changes need to be made. We’ve done that a few times. And now we’re seeing, people do this for different reasons. And have different needs. So maybe we can accommodate that through changing up the program and how we operate it a little bit,” Reed says.

Reed says the application fees basically cover the cost to the planning department to operate the program. When it comes to the rental taxes, between the county and other sources, Mount Pleasant gets about 1% of the money from short-term rentals.

“I think council will recognize that if they didn’t, it could get out of control. And to kind of, not only protect those that want to operate, but also to protect the existing quality of our neighborhoods and the community so that they wouldn’t overtake neighborhoods and things like that,” Reed says.

Reed says all current short-term rental operators will have a chance to reapply before opening the applications to new properties until they hit 400 units.

Kerry Dawson, a Carolina One real estate agent, says she has long and short-term rentals and thinks the city is doing a good job so far.

“That’s how I get my income. I applied for the business license and permit from the get-go. So, I was probably one of the pioneers of that. And it’s been a really simple process,” Dawson says. “It’s been pretty good pretty easy. They’ve kept us informed of any changes. Or anything we need to do as far as taxes that kept it really simple. The little books that they send us each month, and it’s, it’s a good thing, I think.”

One owner, who preferred to remain anonymous, says his rental property is actually a future investment, that he rents to try and offset the cost of owning it.

“Our big desire to purchase this property that we have is not an income generator, but it’s to ensure that my kids are taken care of and have property to live on one day before it’s too expensive to buy,” he says.

He says his property is on the waitlist for the short-term rental, and the cap number could mean he doesn’t get a permit. That would be detrimental to him, as he tries to rent the property to cover the cost of buying and owning it.

“I should have the ability to rent long term and short term and that’s my perspective since I own it. I’m paying probably three times the property taxes on this rental property because it’s a secondary property, and I don’t have the rights to do what I want to,” he says.

The changes are currently in the beginning stages of discussions in the planning committee. The committee will hold a public hearing on the changes at its Aug. 24 meeting at 5 p.m. Reed encourages any owners to come to the meeting or to send their comments through the town website to be a part of the discussion.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Highest-rated barbecue restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina

Cooking meat low and slow over an indirect heat source—the only real qualifications for barbecue—is a truly American tradition, going back to indigenous cultures and picked up by early Spanish colonizers who also gave it the name the cooking style goes by now: barbacoa. Today, barbecue is a wildly popular staple across the U.S., with many cities and regions ...

Cooking meat low and slow over an indirect heat source—the only real qualifications for barbecue—is a truly American tradition, going back to indigenous cultures and picked up by early Spanish colonizers who also gave it the name the cooking style goes by now: barbacoa. Today, barbecue is a wildly popular staple across the U.S., with many cities and regions boasting their own take (and all claiming to have the best). Because barbecue meat spends hours upon hours cooking, restaurants are a go-to source for many Americans who would rather not spend all day and all night tending to their flames. Stacker compiled a list of the highest-rated barbecue restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina on Tripadvisor. Tripadvisor rankings factor in the average rating and number of reviews. Some restaurants on the list may have recently closed.

#16. Home Team BBQ

– Rating: 4.5 / 5 (441 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (4.5/5), Service (4.5/5), Value (4.0/5), Atmosphere (4.0/5)– Type of cuisine: American, Bar– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 2209 Middle St, Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482-8780– Read more on Tripadvisor

#15. Smokey Bones N. Charleston

– Rating: 3.5 / 5 (182 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (3.5/5), Service (4.0/5), Value (3.5/5), Atmosphere (4.0/5)– Type of cuisine: American, Bar– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 7250 Rivers Avenue, Charleston, SC 29406– Read more on Tripadvisor

#14. Melvin’s BBQ

– Rating: 4.0 / 5 (427 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (4.5/5), Service (4.0/5), Value (4.0/5), Atmosphere (4.0/5)– Type of cuisine: Quick Bites, American– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 925 Houston Northcutt Blvd, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464-3448– Read more on Tripadvisor

#13. Southern Roots Smokehouse

– Rating: 4.0 / 5 (91 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (4.0/5), Service (4.0/5), Value (3.5/5)– Type of cuisine: American, Barbecue– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 2544 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC 29414-5325– Read more on Tripadvisor

#12. Cumberland Street Smokehouse

– Rating: 4.0 / 5 (184 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (4.0/5), Service (4.0/5), Value (4.0/5)– Type of cuisine: American, Bar– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 5 Cumberland St, Charleston, SC 29401-2603– Read more on Tripadvisor

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#11. Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint

– Rating: 4.5 / 5 (35 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (4.0/5), Service (4.5/5), Value (4.0/5)– Type of cuisine: Quick Bites, American– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 1622 Highland Ave, Charleston, SC 29412– Read more on Tripadvisor

#10. Melvin’s Barbecue

– Rating: 4.5 / 5 (132 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (4.5/5), Service (4.0/5), Value (4.5/5), Atmosphere (4.0/5)– Type of cuisine: Quick Bites, American– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 538 Folly Rd, Charleston, SC 29412-3002– Read more on Tripadvisor

#9. Duke’s BBQ

– Rating: 4.5 / 5 (94 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (4.5/5), Service (4.0/5), Value (4.5/5), Atmosphere (3.5/5)– Type of cuisine: Quick Bites, American– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 331 Folly Rd, Charleston, SC 29412-2548– Read more on Tripadvisor

#8. Bessinger’s Barbecue

– Rating: 4.0 / 5 (578 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (4.0/5), Service (4.0/5), Value (4.0/5), Atmosphere (4.0/5)– Type of cuisine: Quick Bites, American– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 1602 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC 29407-7869– Read more on Tripadvisor

#7. Home Team BBQ – Downtown Charleston

– Rating: 4.5 / 5 (134 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (4.5/5), Service (4.5/5), Value (4.0/5)– Type of cuisine: Barbecue, American– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 126 Williman St, Charleston, SC 29403-3113– Read more on Tripadvisor

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#6. Rodney Scott’s BBQ

– Rating: 4.0 / 5 (552 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (4.0/5), Service (4.0/5), Value (4.0/5)– Type of cuisine: Quick Bites, American– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 1011 King St Corner of King Street and Grove Street, Charleston, SC 29403-4140– Read more on Tripadvisor

#5. Poogan’s Smokehouse

– Rating: 4.5 / 5 (1,207 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (4.5/5), Service (4.5/5), Value (4.0/5)– Type of cuisine: Barbecue, American– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 188 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401-2123– Read more on Tripadvisor

#4. Home Team BBQ – West Ashley

– Rating: 4.5 / 5 (476 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (4.5/5), Service (4.0/5), Value (4.0/5), Atmosphere (4.0/5)– Type of cuisine: American, Bar– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 1205 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29407-5301– Read more on Tripadvisor

#3. Swig & Swine

– Rating: 4.5 / 5 (2,182 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (4.5/5), Service (4.5/5), Value (4.5/5), Atmosphere (4.0/5)– Type of cuisine: American, Bar– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 1217 Savannah Hwy, Charleston, SC 29407-7826– Read more on Tripadvisor

#2. Queology

– Rating: 4.5 / 5 (1,445 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (4.5/5), Service (4.5/5), Value (4.5/5), Atmosphere (4.0/5)– Type of cuisine: American, Bar– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 6 N Market St, Charleston, SC 29401-2062– Read more on Tripadvisor

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#1. Lewis Barbecue

– Rating: 4.5 / 5 (839 reviews)– Detailed ratings: Food (5.0/5), Service (4.5/5), Value (4.5/5)– Type of cuisine: Quick Bites, American– Price: $$ – $$$– Address: 464 N Nassau St, Charleston, SC 29403-3828– Read more on Tripadvisor

Why Confederate flags are flying in the middle of Charleston Harbor

Charleston’s contradictions often are clearly visible from the city’s harbor.Near the historic district, which has benefited from stringent preservation efforts over many decades, new hotels and apartment buildings rise. The soon-to-open International African American Museum located on Gadsden’s Wharf confronts Confederate flags flying above Castle Pinckney on Shutes Folly in the middle of the harbor.Those flags, when they appear, greet thousands of people a week on the water — vacationers on cruise ship...

Charleston’s contradictions often are clearly visible from the city’s harbor.

Near the historic district, which has benefited from stringent preservation efforts over many decades, new hotels and apartment buildings rise. The soon-to-open International African American Museum located on Gadsden’s Wharf confronts Confederate flags flying above Castle Pinckney on Shutes Folly in the middle of the harbor.

Those flags, when they appear, greet thousands of people a week on the water — vacationers on cruise ships, mariners on commercial vessels, tourists on harbor tours or private boat charters, visitors to Fort Sumter who take the ferry that passes Shutes Folly. The flags also are viewed from the land by thousands more every week who walk through Waterfront Park or along the East Battery.

Some visitors to Charleston who go on boat charters wonder aloud about those flags. Why are they there? Who decides to raise them? What message do they convey about the Holy City? Others voice their support.

Many don’t recognize the Confederate flags when they fly on Castle Pinckney because they are always the lesser-known divisional or national banners, never the Southern Cross that became the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, which is the one most closely associated with the Confederacy and the one that provokes the most controversy.

So it can come as a surprise when visitors learn that the flag on Shutes Folly is, say, the “Stars and Bars” or The Citadel’s battle flag, or South Carolina’s flag of secession.

On the water

The island has three parcels, according to Charleston County GIS records. The southernmost parcel is owned by the Sons of Confederate Veterans Fort Sumter Camp 1269. The other two are “undevelopable” and slowly fading away. One is deeded to Henry Laurens; the other to the Mary Simons Estate. The whole island now is a bird sanctuary. Visitors are forbidden.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans looks after the old fort, but restoring it and maintaining it would cost a fortune, so the installation is left to endure the elements and the nesting birds with little human intervention.

Every month or so, an SCV member rides a skiff to the castle and changes the flag. The idea is to raise flags that have historical significance, though sometimes one will see the Irish flag in honor of St. Patrick’s Day or the Italian flag to mark Columbus Day. At the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the group raised a blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag to show solidarity.

For Carolina Day, which marks the patriot victory over British forces at the Battle of Sullivan’s Island in 1776, the state flag (or a historical version of it) will flap in the breeze. For the Fourth of July, the U.S. flag is hoisted.

But during other parts of the year, the SCV often raises a Confederate flag of some kind.

Sailboat charter captain Mark Stetler said he tries to avoid mentioning the flags until one of his guests ask about them, then he’ll strive to offer a neutral response, keeping politics off the boat.

“The discomfort starts with me,” he said. “I try to say as little as I can.”

But, often, he will feel the need to offer some explanation, so he tells his guests about Castle Pinckney, its history and its current status, and he’ll tell them that Confederate flags don’t always fly there.

The typical response is “stunned silence,” he said. Sometimes he will get an eye-roll or perhaps a question or comment alluding to the imposition of the Antebellum South and the Civil War onto the year 2022. He’s never hosted a guest who expressed support for the flags, he said.

Chris Rabens, a powerboat charter captain, said he passes by Castle Pinckney with his guests frequently. Usually, they are too immersed in the experience of being together on the water to pay much attention to serious matters such as South Carolina history, he said. A few will show interest.

Some guests are enthusiastic, uttering expressions of support for the Confederate cause (“The South will rise again!” they might shout); others question the motivations of the Sons of Confederate Veterans or voice mild disagreement, Rabens said.

“I get a broad spectrum,” he said.

Tamara Butler, director of the Avery Research Center at the College of Charleston, said the fort, its history and the Confederate flags that sometimes fly in the middle of the harbor are evidence of the city’s inherent contradictions and unresolved racial and economic tensions — and of the efforts among some to reconcile all that.

“It’s really important for people to see that Charleston is still trying to figure itself out,” Butler said. “My hope is that people will use controversial things (such as Castle Pinckney’s flags) to question their significance.”

The city is a place of public history, and it’s nearly impossible to ensure that all of it is presented and explained, she said.

“I can’t contextualize the fingerprints in the bricks; I can’t be there every time someone sees them,” Butler said. “So we need to have conversations about who’s responsible for public history work in the city.”

Charleston needs to invest more in the people who can do that work, and to ensure that African Americans are included, she said.

“Charleston sells itself as a progressive city, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Butler said.

The old fort

The island of Shutes Folly, little more than an eroding sandbar now, once was much larger and greener. Joseph Shute bought the island from Col. Alexander Parris in 1746 and tried to grow orange trees. The farm ultimately failed, but that’s not likely what gave the island its name. Rather, it was the manmade buildings that did so. A “folly” is a decorative structure, often grand and picturesque, that one might find in a large garden — or on a little-used island.

Shute’s “folly,” in this case, perhaps refers to Castle Pinckney itself, which has become solely decorative. Or it refers to the small grove of trees that once stood on the island’s highest ground.

The South Carolina Ports Authority acquired the island in 1958, but didn’t use it and soon tried to give it away.

It gifted the old fort to the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1269 in 1969, but it was returned to the state Ports Authority in 1984.

On June 21, 2011, the authority sold the remains of Castle Pinckney to the Sons of Confederate Veterans Fort Sumter Camp for $10. A year and half later, the nonprofit Castle Pinckney Historical Preservation Society was incorporated. Its website, castlepinckney.org, provides access to historical documents and photographs, and describes the history of the fort, a chronology of its use, and an accounting of efforts to preserve it.

Shutes Folly has had some sort of fortification on it since 1742. An early earthen and timber structure used during the American Revolutionary War was replaced with a larger log-and-sand fort in 1797, named for Gen. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution.

An 1804 storm destroyed the log fort, but a replacement made of brick soon rose on the site. It was completed in 1810, and was used during the Civil War as an arms depot and a stockade — first for captured Union soldiers, then for Confederate blockade runners.

In 1878, a lighthouse was built there, along with a lightkeeper’s residence, providing its illuminated warning until 1917.

Castle Pinckney, though once armed and garrisoned, was not much used during conflicts and has come to be known as the poor stepchild compared with forts Sumter, Moultrie and Johnson.

Object vs. symbol

Philip Middleton, former commander of the SCV’s Fort Sumter Camp, said his group’s stewardship of Castle Pinckney includes keeping people off the island, protecting the nesting birds and what remains of the historic brick fortifications, and cutting back the profuse growth of vegetation each winter.

“We have been very circumspect,” he said. “We’re proud to be completely inoffensive.”

Unfortunately, restoring the old fort and doing more to interpret its history has been cost-prohibitive, Middleton said.

Messages left for four other SCV members in South Carolina went unanswered.

Castle Pinckney’s history cannot be contextualized properly without public access of some kind, said Michael Allen, a former National Park Service park ranger and former member of the S.C. African American Heritage Commission. Many people don’t realize they’re looking at a Confederate flag, he added.

A flag, if framed and labeled and hung on the wall of a museum, is merely an object for consideration. Flying it atop a flagpole in the public sphere effectively transforms it into an active symbol, Allen said. The banners, then, are not unlike Confederate monuments. Put a statue in a museum and one can provide the necessary context, he said. Put it on a pedestal in the public square and one is making a political statement, whether intended or not.

“So this raises questions about honoring the past,” he said. “Whose past do we honor, and how?”

Kyle Sinisi, a history professor at The Citadel, said Castle Pinckney is a historic installation and flying banners that had been raised above the fort in the past is appropriate. Fort Sumter also once flew a variety of flags, including Confederate flags, he noted.

Fort Sumter no longer displays Confederate flags of any kind.

“Flags add good context,” he said. “They turn (Shutes Folly) from a sand spit with some ruins on top of it into something that has a story. ... To me, it’s just a great shame that we can’t make it a tourist hot spot. It’s so tantalizing, it is so close and yet so far.”

3 local waterways with high levels of reported bacteria

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- With heat index values expected to boost feels-like temperatures into the mid-100s this weekend, Lowcountry residents and visitors will no doubt be searching for a way to cool off.And while a dip in one of the area’s many swimming holes or the Charleston harbor may seem like the perfect idea, there are a few local waterways with high levels of bacteria making them an...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- With heat index values expected to boost feels-like temperatures into the mid-100s this weekend, Lowcountry residents and visitors will no doubt be searching for a way to cool off.

And while a dip in one of the area’s many swimming holes or the Charleston harbor may seem like the perfect idea, there are a few local waterways with high levels of bacteria making them an unsafe option.

Out of 20 tested sites, Charleston Waterkeeper reported high levels of Enterococcus bacteria at 4 sites– Hendricks Park, upper Ellis Creek, and two portions of Shem Creek.

Bacteria results over 104 MPN/100 mL mean water quality is poor and with more rain in the area this week, there are still high results lingering.

“When bacteria levels are high, that means pathogens may also be present. We’re talking about things like Cholera, Tuberculosis, Staph, Vibrio, some really nasty things that can get you sick. So its important that you pay attention to the data,” said Andrew Wunderley, the Executive Director of Charleston Waterkeeper.

Looking to the North, bacteria levels in the Ashley River have come down, returning that spot to GREEN status. Unfortunately, Hendricks Park remains RED despite numbers coming down from last week, meaning swimming and other water-based activities should be avoided in Filbin Creek.

Boaters and swimmers in the Charleston Harbor should have no worries as all points of the Harbor from Melton Demetre Park to Patriots Point are clear.

As expected, things look a little dicier in Mount Pleasant. There’s no trouble in the lower reaches at Shem Creek Park, but the boat landing and residential portions are not a safe option this week. The Cove and Hobcaw Creek both look good to go, though!

Mixed news continues as we head to James Island where Ellis Creek is RED in the upper reaches, but GREEN in the lower reaches. All GREENS for the rest of the island at Sol Legare, Clark Sound, and the Folly River.

Want to launch the boat from somewhere new this weekend? Wappoo Cut Boat Ramp is a great option as it shows no signs of high bacteria levels.

No signs of trouble at the beaches either where Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island are both GREEN according to the latest DHEC data. No data was collected for Folly Beach, Kiawah Island, or Seabrook Island this week.

You can explore the map here.

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