About Wando Woods Neighborhood
Wando Woods is a picturesque neighborhood located in the City of North Charleston, Charleston County, bounded by Ashley River to the South-West and Dorchester Road to the North. It is a trully pearl of North Charleston. Wando Woods consists mainly of 1950's to 1970's era brick ranch style homes.
The land on which today's Wando Woods located originally belonged to the Kiawah Indians who are known to have played an important role in Charleston founding. Their Headman convinced the English to build their settlement near his principal village at the present day Charles Towne Landing.
However, a decade later in, 1682 the English who did not need help and support of the Kiawah Indians any longer started forcing them to leave their ancestral land along Ashley River and forced them to move to the present day Kiawah Island. The local Kiawahs' population reduced to about 200 men influenced by the blessings of the civilization: smallpox, guns, whiskey, and slavery.
On March 6, 1695, the English introduced taxes for the remaining Indians: the General Assembly passed into law act 128 requiring every Indian to provide: "one wolf's skin, one tiger(panther) skin or one bear skin or two cat skins each year". The punishment for not complying was whipping in public. It took about half-century for the English to reduce the Kiawah Indians' population to 15. In 1743 these 15 Indians appeared before the governor to request land to live on. The governor only gave them permission to move south of the Combahee River. The Kiawahs disappeared as a tribe.
The phosphate mining boom in Charleston area of the 19th century when deposits of phosphate were discovered in local river beds and underground also made its mark on Wando Woods history. Charleston area with its riverbank sites soon became a favorable place for mining for the ease of excavation and transport. According to the records, by the end of the 19th century more than two dozen companies, most located along the Ashley River, produced one-half of the world’s phosphates. The first commercial cargo of one hunderd tons of phosphate rock is believed to have been mined in Wando Woods - west of today's Holbrid street. The Charleston News and Courier wrote: The first cargo, one hundred tons, was shipped by the schooner Renshaw, on the 14th of April, 1868, to Baltimore, Md. By John R. Dukes, Esq., president of Wando Company, Charleston. ... This schooner could have been loaded at or in the general location of the boat landing site at the end of present day Flynn Street. (News and Courier 1884:54).
Wando Woods and some other neighborhoods in North Charleston still show evidence of the parallel pits and mounds - the inheritance from phosphate mining era. The little valley with a stream running through is also the legacy of that time in history. The stream runs along Dorsey Avenue, then parallels Withers Drive, turns northward under Plum Street, continues to follow Withers Drive until it ends its way in the marsh. This little creek, originally flowing from the Cooper River to the Ashley, according to old maps were first given an Indian name "Onsaw", and later "Filben", after the name of the owner of Filbens Plantation located to the east of Wando Woods and bordering on the Cooper River (News and Courier 1884:54).
Among the not so good consequences of the mining boom are the depressions in the earth where digging happened and railroad tracks laid to move rocks. Railroad track bed depression was found between todays Withers Drive and railroad track. Dig site depressions can be found along Dorsey Avenue, Withers Drive, Flynn Street, Holbrid Street all the way to the boat landing. It is probable that the riverbank was several feet higher than it is today.
However, the phosphate industry did not last long. After 20 years of intense mining, the industry came to a standstill and eventually collapsed.
Moving to the 20th century, this place had no trash collection or telephone services and only marginal mail services. Locals used to take care of their garbage on their own, dug their own water and sewage systems. It was a period of very slow growth with just around a dozen families living in the neighborhood along the Dorchester Road which was later renamed into Dorsey Avenue.
Pauline and Herman's house located at 3825 Dorsey Avenue was the first dwelling to be built into today's Wando Woods. Herman was born in 1911 and Pauline in 1916. He was one of the first three paid fireman in the North Area having served the Fire department for 40 years and retiring in 1973 as Fire Chief. Both he and his wife were from Rosemont. They married on September 12, 1935. Pauline died on November 29, 1989, and is buried in Revierview Cemetery next to Herman who passed away on March 13, 2006.
This home is located at the corner of present day Dorsey Avenue and Lysa Street and was built in 1945 the year in which Germany surrended on May 7 proclaimed V-E Day. On August 14 of the same year known as V-J Day Japan accepted unconditional surrender. This was the year when President Roosevelt died and President Truman took his place. The WWII ended.
Pauline and Herman Pooser donated their land to build Lysa Street named for their first granddaughter.
A lot of Yardbirds lived in Wando Woods.
Navy Yard workers getting zero defects Award (1970s). The picture is taken from the Charleston Naval Shipyard.
Top row: sixth from the left is Keith Ivey. Front row: the last to the right: Danny Smith