I recently went for a routine check-up with my ophthalmologist and noticed a young girl looking at frames with her mother which reminded me of my first eyesight test at 8 years old.  I didn’t realize that I was short sighted until I got my first pair of glasses and saw how bright, clear and colorful the world could be!  I then moved to contact lenses in the 1980s and Lasik eye surgery 20 years ago.  Yet another benefit of being around during this time in medical history.

The concept of eyeglasses as we know them today is fairly recent, but the idea of improving natural eyesight goes back to Roman times. The Roman philosopher Seneca, who was a tutor and advisor to Emperor Nero, boasted that he read “all the books in Rome” through a large glass bowl filled with water which magnified the print. The Romans are also credited with discovering that they could use glass to enhance their ability to see small text.  These small flat-bottom pieces of glass with spherical tops were laid on top of text and called “reading stones”.  These were especially useful for monks who used them to continue to read, write and illuminate manuscripts as they aged, and their eyesight deteriorated.   Italian monks were early adopters of the first wearable glasses which appeared in 13th century Italy when basic glass blown lenses were set in wooden, leather or animal horn frames which were handheld in front of the face or perched on the nose.

Glass blowers then started making lenses of different thickness to correct varying levels of impaired vision.  These grew in popularity and spread through Europe during the Renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries with many paintings of this era showing the educated and prosperous wearing these strange looking contraptions on the face.

In 1740, London-based scientist, inventor and businessman Benjamin Martin published a book title “A New and Compendious System of Optics”.  He also developed “over the ear” glasses frames so eyeglasses could be used without the use of hands.  This led to the development of more accurate lens development and thinner lenses supported by stronger frames.  Another Benjamin – Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, great inventor, writer, printer, politician and more – is credited with inventing bifocals in 1784.  At the age of 78, he was struggling with his eyesight and as is common with advancing years, both his near and far-sight were affected.  He apparently cut lenses in half and put them together in one frame.   Some people have challenged this and think that rather than inventing them, he might have merely been an early adopter of a split-bifocal lens developed about the same time in England where he travelled and spent many years during his long life.  But like many things in history, in time the details become blurred (bad pun intended).

Until the industrial revolution of the 19th century, eyeglasses were only available to the relatively affluent as they were individually handcrafted.  Then came mass production and an increase in lens technology and accuracy of prescriptions, so eyeglasses became available to most of the population.  During the early 1900s a trend began where glasses became a fashion statement as frames of different shapes, materials and colors were available.  About that same time, the invention of strong plastics entered the industry, which could be molded into different shapes and sizes compared to the old-fashioned wood, metal, or horn frames.  It was not until the 1980s that plastic lenses were introduced which are lighter and thinner than glass and less likely to break.  This was followed by technology allowing for protective coatings that reduce glare and UV light. 

What about sunglasses?  There is evidence that prehistoric Inuits wore flattened walrus ivory in front of their faces to protect them from the sun’s rays. In ancient Rome, the emperor Nero held a polished emerald in front of his eyes to reduce the sun’s glare while he watched gladiators fighting.  By the 12th century the Chinese were using slabs of smoked quartz held against the user’s face in a rough frame to block out the sun’s light. Then for several centuries, lenses were darkened by various means to further improve the wearer’s vision in the sun.

The modern era of mass-produced sunglasses really began in 1929 when Austrian immigrant and naturalized American Sam Foster, who had developed a business based on recently developed plastics technology with salesman William Grant, launched inexpensive sunglasses to the public in an Atlantic City Woolworths, reportedly for just 10 cents per pair.  From this moment, a huge industry was born. 

Foster Grant sunglasses became very popular when Hollywood stars began using them to shield their eyes from the bright studio lights, as well as trying to disguise themselves from paparazzi. My American born and raised husband tells me that he remembers the famous advertising campaign in the 1960s – “Who’s behind those Foster Grants?”

Back in the 1930s, the military also got involved to develop effective eyeglasses to protect pilots from high altitude glare, and polaroid filters were introduced allowing glasses to protect against harmful UV rays.  In 1936 the Bausch & Lomb Company launched Ray-Ban anti-glare aviator glasses using this technology, which General Douglas MacArthur made iconic during the second world war.  The marriage of eye protection and style and fashion continues to the present day.  For more information visit  www.history.com

I will leave you with a thought provoking quote from 20th century American educator Helen Keller who overcame the adversity of being both blind and deaf, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”.

God Bless America!  Stay safe, stay well, and stay positive.

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Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com  or via her PR and marketing agency at www.lesleyfrancispr.com



SAVANNAH, GA — FEBRUARY 23, 2021 – The nomination period for Historic Savannah Foundation’s 2021 Preservation Awards has been extended by two days, giving those with noteworthy projects a little while longer to submit them for recognition. The deadline, previously set for March 1 is now Wednesday, March 3 at 5 p.m.

Each May, HSF celebrates the area’s best preservation projects with a program that recognizes individuals, organizations, and companies who embody and practice excellence in preservation in Savannah and Chatham County. Historic Savannah Foundation members who have completed a restoration project within the past three years, or who know of a restoration project that may be award-worthy are encouraged to submit a nomination.

Projects must have been completed within the past three years, and entrants must have the consent of the property owner for a nomination. Self-nominations will be accepted. Nominations that were previously submitted but were not selected to receive an award may be revised, expanded and resubmitted. To be eligible for an award, nominated projects must have adhered to the applicable Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. For more information on these standards, visit www.nps.gov/tps/standards.htm.

“We anticipate a great selection of projects to be submitted for consideration by our jury. Savannah’s focus on historic preservation efforts improves annually, which makes choosing winners an increasingly difficult decision. We hope the preservation community will join us as we celebrate the best in Savannah’s historic preservation projects,” HSF CEO and President Susan Adler said.

The general evaluation criteria include:

1. Quality and degree of difficulty of the nominee’s project or effort.

2. Degree to which the nominee’s project or effort is unusual or pioneering or serves as an example that influences good preservation practices.

3. Demonstrable or measurable impact of nominee’s project on the community.

A jury of local professionals with representation from the fields of architecture, preservation, academia and planning is invited to review nominations for HSF’s Preservation Awards. 

Nominations should fall under at least one of the following categories: restoration, rehabilitation, new construction, stewardship, craftsmanship or archaeology.

The deadline for all award nominations is 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Mailed entries must be postmarked or dropped off at HSF by this date. The application cost is $45 for HSF members. Non-members are asked to join HSF by visiting http://www.myhsf.org/giving/general-membership/ prior to submitting the application. Preservation Award recipients will be notified by the end of March. The nominator or primary contact will be notified for those not selected. Award announcements and presentation will be made at HSF’s Virtual Preservation Awards Ceremony in May.


Mail entries to:                                                                        Hand-deliver entries to:

Historic Savannah Foundation                                               Historic Savannah Foundation

Attn: Preservation Awards                                                      Attn: Preservation Awards

P.O. Box 1733                                                                        321 East York Street

Savannah, GA 31402                                                             Savannah, GA 31401


Historic Savannah Foundation saves buildings, places and stories that define Savannah’s past, present, and future. Following its formation in 1955, HSF started a Revolving Fund to save endangered historic properties, now totaling more than 400 buildings throughout several of Savannah’s historic districts. HSF has grown into one of the most respected local preservation organizations in the country — emphasizing not only the protection of individual historic buildings but also the revitalization of blighted neighborhoods. HSF demonstrates the cultural, social, and economic benefits of preservation as good public policy by proving that preservation

and progress go hand-in-hand.


For more information about the awards or Historic Savannah Foundation, please visit www.myHSF.org or contact Kimberly Newbold, Research & Education Associate, at 912-483-7294 or knewbold@myhsf.org. For sponsorship information, please contact Megan Kerley, Director of Development at 912-483-7190 or mkerley@myHSF.org.



For media inquiries, please contact Hollie Barnidge at hollie@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-272-8651, Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950, or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).



BRYAN COUNTY, GA – FEBRUARY 22, 2021 – Bryan County has named Lori Tyson as the new county clerk. Tyson has been employed by the county for five years, having served as the assistant to the county administrator and customer service supervisor for four of those years.

Tyson replaces Donna Waters, who retired in January from her post as county clerk after 41 years with the county. Bryan County Administrator Ben Taylor said he has faith in Tyson’s ability to step into her new role and lead with confidence.

“We are fortunate to be able to promote Lori to this position. She is already very familiar with the inner workings of the job and has a wealth of knowledge regarding the county’s operations, which will serve her well in this new capacity,” Taylor said. “This position is extremely important to county operations, and Chairman Infinger and the commission have full confidence in Lori. We congratulate her on this well-deserved appointment.”

Tyson, who is originally from Claxton and now lives in Pembroke, is delighted by the new opportunity, and looks forward to furthering her career.

“I’m thankful to the commission for trusting me with this important role. I’m eager to continue serving the residents of Bryan County and doing all that I can to make a difference in our community,” Tyson said.

For more regular information about Bryan County, please visit www.bryancountyga.org or follow the county on its social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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For media inquiries, please contact Hollie Barnidge at hollie@lesleyfrancispr.com or
912-272-8651 or Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950.



SAVANNAH, GA – February 20, 2021 – Leaders in education from across the state of Georgia recently testified in support of Senate Bill 59 (SB 59) to ensure equal provision for students at charter schools. Savannah Classical Academy (SCA) Executive Director, Barry Lollis, testified at this week’s regular session hearing of the Senate Youth and Education Committee in Atlanta. The legislation to amend Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated relating to elementary and secondary education passed through the Senate Youth and Education Committee and will now move on to the Rules Committee.   

The Georgia State Senate Committee on Education and Youth has general jurisdiction over K-12 education, certified employees of schools and school facilities. SB 59 is a crucial charter school bill that

the Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA) is championing along with key legislators, including Sen. John Albers, District 56, who is sponsoring the legislation.  SCA is a charter school within the Savannah Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS), which supports this important bill which addresses:  

  • State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) flexibility
  • The Quality Basic Education Act (QBE)
  • Local charter facility stipends
  • Federal funding allocations

SB 59 would allow charter schools throughout the state of Georgia, multiple opportunities to opt into the SHBP. The act would provide an additional opportunity for existing charter schools to elect to participate in the state health insurance plan for teachers and employees. In addition, certain employees of state charter schools would be included in the definition of “public school employee” for purposes of the health insurance plan for public school employees. According to Lollis, “This will help schools attract and retain high quality teachers, specifically in Georgia charter schools that have majority populations of underprivileged students.”   

To provide additional QBE funding for each full-time equivalent student within a local charter school, Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated is amended by revising Code Section 20-2-165.1 This legislation would extend the existing per pupil funding weight for charter system students to include locally authorized charter school students, which, according to the QBE Act base of 3.785%, is $106 per student.

According to proposed amendments with SB 59, each local board of education would make educational facilities available for use by local charter schools or provide a facility stipend to each local charter school to offset costs related to educational facilities if a facility is not available. SCA is currently located in a lease-owned building, meaning funds needed for facility upkeep is paid for out of the school’s operational budget. In addition, a local charter school would not be charged a rental or leasing fee for an existing facility or property normally used by the public school.

Finally, this bill would require the State Board of Education to provide for direct allocation of appropriated funds to local charter schools. Lollis shared with the committee that SCA has not been included in the ESPLOST program for the past two ESPLOST cycles, and despite specifically asking the local school board to be included in the next ESPLOST, the local public charter schools will not receive an allotment of ESPLOST funds from the upcoming ESPLOST program.

“Districts are earning this capital credits based off students enrolled in our public charter school, however this capital benefit is not shared with the local charter schools,” said Lollis. “Senate Bill 59 would be a great help to local charter schools in order to level the playing field and provide extra opportunities and support for the public-school children we serve in our local communities.”   

SCA is a tuition-free, public charter school serving Chatham County students in grades K-12. The charter school is funded by the public education system but retains a charter that allows it to operate autonomously under a board of parents and community members. It is the philosophy of SCA that all students benefit from a rigorous, content-rich, education program that develops academic potential and personal character. To learn more about SCA, please visit www.savannahclassicalacademy.org.

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For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com or 229-393-6457, Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950, or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377). 



BRYAN COUNTY, GA – FEBRUARY 19, 2021 – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp paid a visit Wednesday to Bryan County, where he tried out the new Interstate 95/Belfast Keller interchange for the first time. He then chatted with local leaders and business owners about the significance of the new infrastructure as well as its economic and growth implications.

Kemp participated in a small business roundtable discussion, moderated by Rep. Ron Stephens, at the Bryan County Administrative Complex on Capt. Matthew Freeman Dr. He talked with representatives from Coastal Electric, McDonald’s, Rayonier and RE/MAX Accent as well as local leaders, dignitaries, and elected officials, including GDOT State Transportation Board Member Ann Purcell, Bryan County Commission Chairman Carter Infinger, Sheriff Mark Crowe, Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter, Development Authority of Bryan County CEO Anna Chafin, Richmond Hill City Council members Robbie Ward and Steve Scholar, Bryan County Engineering Department Director Kirk Croasmun, Bryan County Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher, Bryan County Administrator Ben Taylor, and Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce CEO Kathryn Johnson.

The participants discussed the importance of the interchange, which officially opened last month and has already begun to improve traffic flow and motorists’ safety. In addition, the newly created exit on the Interstate 95 corridor is expected to generate additional economic opportunities and draw new business to the area.

Kemp was generous with praise for the county and the widespread collaborative efforts it took to get the $19 million interchange project in place.

“These partnerships with the department of transportation, the great leadership we have there with Russell McMurry and his team, the legislative partners like (Rep.) Ron Stephens, the county’s local government, the mayor, the chairman, councils, commissioners, the great job the school board is doing educating the future workforce, and the business community and chamber working with economic development partners – Bryan County really has everything you need right here. I’m so optimistic about this region’s potential in the future, and I’m just glad to be here,” the governor said. “The sky is the limit from here. Not just for Bryan County, but for this whole area.”

Following the roundtable discuss, Kemp held a brief press conference and took questions from media outlet representatives and journalists in attendance. He touched briefly on a variety of topics brought up by journalists, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, possible absentee voting legislation, and the ways in which local infrastructure improvements – like the new interchange – matter at a state level and beyond.

Bryan County Commission Chairman Carter Infinger thanked Kemp for all the support he has offered Bryan County and encouraged the local business owners and operators in attendance to share their insights on how the interchange and other infrastructural upgrades will positively affect the region’s growth and economic climate.

“I think this was a great opportunity for some of our area business people and local employers to talk to the governor about the changes they see happening here and their expectations for the future. It’s important that Gov. Kemp hears these things from individual county governments and communities so he understands what a big impact it has on us when the state is willing to work with us, help fund projects and assist us in planning,” Infinger said.

For more regular information about Bryan County, please visit www.bryancountyga.org or follow the county on its social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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For media inquiries, please contact Hollie Barnidge at hollie@lesleyfrancispr.com or
912-272-8651 or Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950.



SAVANNAH, GA – February 15, 2021 – Historic Savannah Foundation, a leading nonprofit preservation and cultural institution, will recognize Women’s History Month with its free virtual lecture, Women in Savannah’s Historic Preservation Movement: A Perspective, at 6 p.m. Monday, March 8 via Zoom. This lecture will be presented by Davenport House Museum Director Jamie Credle, who will highlight women pioneers in preservation and their important achievements.

Credle will discuss organizations with a local impact, such as the Colonial Dames, Trustees Garden Club, and the Junior League of Savannah, as well as individual icons and groups. This includes Emma Adler, Paula Wallace, and Anna Colquitt Hunter. Hunter, along with six other determined and civic-minded women, helped found Historic Savannah Foundation (HSF) in 1955 for the purpose of saving the Davenport House from demolition. Today, HSF has saved more than 400 Savannah structures from similar fates. 

The free lecture is presented by HSF as a community service and an opportunity for enrichment on topics related to its mission.

“I am excited to share my knowledge about women in preservation and, hopefully, increase the community’s awareness on the importance of these individuals to Savannah’s preservation movement,” Credle said. “I’m looking forward to this opportunity to shine a light on people who may not be considered ‘preservationists’ in a traditional sense, with the idea that we can all be preservationists.”  

The lecture on March 8 will also serve as the launch of a new HSF initiative to honor local women who have made a name for themselves by working to further regional historic preservation efforts. Beginning on March 9, HSF will highlight the following contemporary women – who’ve been essential to the success of regional preservation efforts – through an awareness campaign: Ardis Wood, founder of “The Victorian Lady” tour company; Briana Grosicki, real estate developer and former associate principal of PlaceEconomics; Ellen Harris, co-founder and principal of Ethos Preservation; Holly Kincannon, architect, stone conservator, and founder of Kincannon Studios; Jessica Kelly, a Realtor with Engel & Voelkers Savannah; Leah G. Michalak, director of historic preservation for the Chatham County-Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission; Luciana Spracher, director of the City of Savannah’s Municipal Archives; Mae Bowley, executive director of Re:Purpose Savannah; Meredith Stone, an architect with Gunn Meyerhoff Shay Architects; Rebecca Fenwick, co-founder and principal of Ethos Preservation; Sarah Ward, president and preservation principal for Ward Architecture + Preservation; and Vaughnette Goode-Walker, director at the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum.  Every day for 12 days beginning March 9, HSF’s social media followers can check the organization’s social media accounts to read about each of the women’s accomplishments, backgrounds, and preservation work.

Anyone interested in attending the free lecture on March 8, should RSVP by emailing sadler@myhsf.org, who will then send participants the Zoom information prior to the event. Using that information, participants will log on for the virtual lecture.

For more information about HSF, please visit www.myHSF.org. To learn more about the Davenport House Museum, please visit www.davenporthousemuseum.org


For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or email kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com, or Hollie Barnidge at hollie@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-272-8651, Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).



SAVANNAH, GA – February 15, 2021 – Asbury Memorial Church has announced its plans to observe the 2021 season of Lent with virtual Taizé services at 7 p.m. every Wednesday through March 24. These special virtual worship services will begin on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. Participants will focus on silence, breathing, healing, prayer and reflection. These 20- to 25-minute services, featuring soulful, musical chants and soothing visuals, can be viewed online by visiting www.asburymemorial.org.

“Taizé is a type of worship which enables you to clear your mind and really listen to the Holy Spirit,” said Asbury Memorial Church Reverend Billy Hester. “Anyone is welcome to join these peaceful and empowering services, and we look forward to virtually sharing this experience with everyone interested in participating.”

Asbury Memorial is a Christ-centered, forward-thinking, all-inclusive congregation that celebrates the joy of God creatively and is committed to remaining a welcoming and affirming congregation for all. For more information about Asbury Memorial Church, please visit www.asburymemorial.org.

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For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com, Lesley Francis at 912-429-3950 or lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com, or the team at 912-417-LFPR(5377).



SAVANNAH, GA – FEBRUARY 1, 2021 – A couple of Savannah’s exceptional first responders will be honored Thursday, April 15, 2021, by the Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire. While one is a police officer and the other is a paramedic, they both heroically risked their lives and safety with no reluctance to save citizens in imminent danger.

During the annual Tak Argentinis Valor Awards ceremony at the Charles H. Morris Center in downtown Savannah, the club and its supporters will recognize Officer Raymond Purnell of the Savannah Police Department and Paramedic Mindy Cauley of Chatham Emergency Services.

Purnell’s gallant actions saved many innocent bystanders and put his own life in jeopardy. As a dangerous situation escalated, he jumped into action and literally ran toward flames to detain a suicidal shoplifting subject and bring an end to a conflict that posed a risk to several onlookers. Paramedic Mindy Cauley’s selection for her act of heroism stems from the night she talked a suicidal man out of jumping off the Thunderbolt Bridge while driving home from work. She went above and beyond the call of duty, placing herself in grave danger and saving the man’s life.

The honorees were selected for the awards by a committee of law enforcement and fire command officers, according to Club President Mark Dana. Nominations were received from the 20 counties that comprise the Two Hundred Club of the Coastal Empire’s support and service area. The award recipients each will receive a plaque and a medal of valor.

“The 200 Club’s main mission is to support first responders and their families in case of death or critical injuries in the line of duty. Everything we do as an organization is to serve these local heroes who make sacrifices to keep our community safe,” Dana said. “That is why we must recognize first responders who display great acts of valor in the face of danger and put others’ safety before themselves. We hope this award is a symbol of our sincere appreciation for these brave individuals’ service.”

The club is a nonprofit, independent organization that relies on its members’ annual dues and donations as well as fundraising events to provide donations to the families of fallen and injured first responders. 

Tickets to the Valor Awards are $25 and include entry to the awards ceremony and heavy appetizers. A link to purchase tickets will soon be posted on the club’s website, www.twohundredclub.org. For more information, please call 912-721-4418 or email info@twohundredclub.org.

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For media inquiries, please contact Hollie Barnidge at hollie@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-272-8651 or Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912-429-3950 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).



Historic Beaufort Foundation

By Mary Thompson 


Perhaps you’ve driven past the historic John Mark Verdier House and noticed she could use a fresh coat of paint. You aren’t the only one. At the Historic Beaufort Foundation, we have been raising funds to repair and repaint the John Mark Verdier House and are excited to announce that the time for our “Paint the Lady” project is finally here! Work started in the beginning of February and is anticipated to take 8 to 9 weeks.

As a resident (or visitor) of Beaufort, you may know that the John Mark Verdier House is one of the town’s architectural jewels. John Mark Verdier built this house in the center of downtown Beaufort between 1801 and 1805. The house became a symbol of Verdier’s success as a merchant as well as the influence of the Adam brothers on the Beaufort Style of architecture. While the house remained in the ownership of the Verdier family until the 1940s it never served as a private residence after the Civil War but served as commercial space for a wide variety of businesses. Unfortunately, all this change was extremely destructive to the grand historic house. Due to its decline, the building was placed on the city’s demolition list in the mid 1900s. If it weren’t for a group of concerned Beaufort citizens who banded together to save the house from demolition, we would not enjoy the beauty and history of this magnificent house today.

As you may know, the John Mark Verdier House currently operates as a historic house museum. The house will be closed during the renovation. We will be sure to keep you informed as to our progress and projected reopening dates. And, we promise, this preservation project will be worth the wait! With the museum closing for a short time, we are providing an opportunity for you to learn more about this historic property prior to its reopening. We’ve put together videos about the history of the home on our website for you to enjoy by following this link.

What exactly will be happening to the house during the renovation?

Let us give you a glimpse into the preservation process:


Although the John Mark Verdier House dates back to the early 1800s, its current exterior color pattern was based on historic paint color analysis documenting the mid- nineteenth century and evidence from Civil War era photographs.   We are pleased to share that, with continuing assistance from Susan Buck, noted paint color expert, we will return the house to its original ca. 1804 appearance. Instead of the salmon paint color you are used to, we will be taking the house back to its original creamy white exterior color. The rendition below will give you a better idea of what to expect.

Recent research, by Colin Brooker, indicated the tabby foundation was originally covered in a waterproof “cement” invented in London in the 1790’s.  Paint analysis indicated the foundation was then painted a dark brown and scored (a technique also known as penciling) to appear as it was ashlar stone.  This type of faux painting was typical of the Federal Period of architecture.   Historic Beaufort Foundation is excited that the new research will guide the renovation paint scheme.


To begin with, the house will be hand scraped and hand painted and damaged or deteriorating wood will be replaced on the exterior of the building. The preservation team will go to painstaking effort to match the historic nature of the building, The repair process will likely be slow as we follow appropriate preservation practices and due to the age of the building. Extra care must be taken to ensure no further damage is caused.

Do you want to be a part of this amazing effort? You still have the opportunity to assist us in preserving Beaufort’s architectural history! While we have secured enough funding for this extensive renovation project to move forward, we are still raising funds to ensure the completion of the renovation. You can visit our website at Historicbeaufort.org to make a donation or find more information about our preservation plans. Help us “Paint the Lady” and bring back the grandeur of our beloved John Mark Verdier House.


I always strive to combine the best stereotypical character traits of both nations I love and of which I am a proud citizen.  Americans ‘rise to the occasion’ and ‘get it done!’. The British are known for their stoical nature, for having a ‘stiff upper lip’ and ‘staying calm and carrying on’.  These traits have been and continue to be much needed by us all during the challenging days of the pandemic.

Last week, the land of my birth bid farewell to a very British hero who died at the age of 100 years from COVID-19. Tom Moore was born April 30, 1920, in Yorkshire in the north of England to a hard-working family.  He served in the Far East, fighting for his country alongside other allied forces during World War Two and was clearly part of what Americans call “The Greatest Generation”.  After the war he worked his way up in the construction industry and eventually ran a concrete company. He didn’t marry until later in life – he was approaching 50 – but had nearly 40 happy years with his younger wife Pamela and they raised two daughters.    After he lost his wife in 2006, he lived with one of his daughters in a charming English village in the county of Bedfordshire, about 60 miles north of London.

It was here, and just last year at 99 years old, that Captain Tom really caught the attention of the nation.  Using his walker, it was his routine to slowly walk around the perimeter of his family’s 80-foot front yard every day.  Last spring, during the UK’s first lockdown, Tom Moore decided to raise money for Britain’s National Health Service’s frontline pandemic workers.  He decided to ask for donations to walk 100 laps of his front yard before his 100th birthday on April 30, 2020 – determinedly pushing his walker as he slowly proceeded to do just that. He wanted to raise about $1,200 but after the story of his fundraising mission went viral, he ended up raising $45 million – yes, million! – for health workers fighting COVID-19.   In July last year, Queen Elizabeth II knighted Moore at Windsor Castle in one of her first public appearances after the country’s first lockdown in 2020.  So, Captain Tom became Sir Tom Moore. 

To put Britain’s fight with the coronavirus in context, the UK – with a population of about 67 million people – currently has the third highest number of recorded coronavirus deaths in the world. Only the United States (population 328 million) and Brazil (population 213 million) have had more.   The National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom is the nationalized healthcare system in which the government pays for services and owns the hospitals and employs the doctors.  In normal times the NHS is often criticized and represents a highly-charged political topic;  however, the visible and selfless actions of NHS workers during the pandemic has led the nation, and those from all sides of the political spectrum, to come together to show their support.  That’s why Sir Tom’s gesture struck a chord with the British public.

Last year the social movement, ‘Clap for the NHS’, began in Britain on March 26, 2020 as a one-off commemoration to show support for NHS staff who were working long hours during the first nationwide lockdown. There have been similar initiatives in other parts of Europe and some cities in the USA.  After millions of people across Great Britain got involved by standing outside or at an open window clapping, banging pots and pans and even playing bagpipes, the initiative expanded to include all key workers and continued every Thursday evening for ten weeks until May 28 2020.  Politicians, Royal Family members and celebrities also joined in to show their support.

The day after it was announced that Captain Tom Moore had died, residents across the nation paid their respects by clapping for him simultaneously at 6 p.m. local time. Church bells and fireworks also went off in honor of this great veteran, in what I think was a very appropriate and symbolic show of appreciation and unity.  For more information visit  www.bbc.com

Captain Tom Moore was a light in the darkness of this pandemic.  His desire to help, his message of hope, and his dogged perseverance has really proved that it is possible to live a full and meaningful life, even at 100 years old!  

I say goodbye this week with a quote from Captain Tom himself when talking about the pandemic last year.  “At the end of the day we shall all be OK… the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away.”  Thank you for the inspiration Sir Tom and Rest In Peace.

God Bless America!  Stay safe, stay well, and stay positive.

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Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009.  She can be contacted at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com  or via her PR and marketing agency at www.lesleyfrancispr.com