The continuing role of the foundation in history education and the preservation of the remnants of our collective pasts took on new and greatly expanded dimensions with the acquisition of the assets and obligations of The Hilton Head Island Historical Society in the summer of 2005. At the time it was the oldest cultural organization of its kind on Hilton Head Island having been formed October 1, 1961. Its former responsibilities for the preservation and maintenance of two significant sites from the Island’s past now rest on the shoulders of The Heritage Library Foundation.
The Fort Mitchel site in Hilton Head Plantation contain the remains of a coastal defense battery erected in 1862 to protect the southern approaches to Port Royal Sound by way of Skull Creek from incursions by Confederate gunboats based in the Savannah River.
The Zion Chapel-of-Ease Cemetery at the intersection of Mathews Drive, William Hilton Parkway, and Folly Field Road is the location of the Island’s first Episcopal Church built around 1786 at that location to serve the needs of island planters and their families during the heyday of the sea island cotton boom.
The History Division supports historic research and studies to enrich the knowledge of Island’s past and that of the surrounding Low Country and Sea Islands of the Southeastern Atlantic coastline.
The shelves of The Heritage Library contain a wide ranging collection of historical works of all types including bound volumes, periodicals, CDs, Microfilm and Video tapes and among the unpublished manuscripts. Visitors to the library are encouraged to browse the collections for items of interest and to check the on-line catalog using the keyword search.
Throughout the year special programs are held in The Peeples Heritage Room on topics of historical interest. Interested parties are encouraged to watch the Events section and check the local newspapers for dates, times, and subject matter.