A historic Gullah cottage on Daufuskie Island is available for vacation rentals after a nearly yearlong restoration.
The Frances Jones House dates to the 1800s. Its restoration began earlier this year and was finished in October, according to Katie Alice Walker of KAW Communications, a public-relations firm for the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation.
Jones, for whom the house is named, was a teacher and principal at the segregated Mary Fields School and the founder of the annual Daufuskie Day, first held in 1976.
The work, announced by the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation in October 2013, is the first in the new Daufuskie Endangered Places Program. The historically accurate restoration required replacement of termite-damaged floor joists and a partially destroyed roof, as well as replacement of windows that had been stolen, trust executive director Michael Bedenbaugh said.
The house has been modernized to accommodate guests, and the faded, peeling yellow exterior paint has been replaced with a coat of blue.
While the trust restores many buildings around the state, the Frances Jones House is the first it fixed up without purchasing it. An heir of Jones owns the cottage, and the home is leased by the trust for the restoration and rentals.
Rental profits will help pay for restoration of other historic Gullah buildings on Daufuskie. The homes will eventually be turned over to the heirs, who keep the properties and have the opportunity to earn money, as well, Bedenbaugh said.
Bedenbaugh said Daufuskie was a perfect spot for that model because of the number of historic properties owned by heirs.
The Hinson White Home, built in the 1860s and added onto in the 1890s, also is being restored on the island. Its renovations won’t be as extensive as the Jones House’s and should be available for rent by January, Walker said.
Island Accommodations will manage the rentals, she said.
Walker said about a dozen homes have been identified for possible restoration and rental, but agreements need to be signed first. Only empty homes will be renovated, so no residents will be displaced.
The project was originally funded by a $150,000 grant. On Tuesday, the trust announced that the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, which distributes money to causes around the area, had set up a fund to help support the Daufuskie preservation efforts.
No rental bookings have been made, but the house has been toured by several people, Bedenbaugh said.
“People want to come later in the season,” he said. “There’s a big interest in tourists to come to the island and experience staying in a Gullah cottage.”
For more information about renting the Frances Jones House, call 843-785-8021 or go to http://bit.ly/1zYtO0y.