In one of several videos produced by the Heritage Library, Louise Cohen talks about her great-great-grandfather and his family coming to Mitchelville on Hilton Head Island in a wooden bateau after escaping from Rose Hill Plantation on the mainland. COURTESY HERITAGE LIBRARY

A new series of videos, produced and presented by the Heritage Library, explores the many stories of the Lowcountry’s past and how the people here today are connected to the events that shaped our island.

Hilton Head Island became famous for its beautiful beaches, great golf and terrific tennis, but beyond the resort splendor you’ll find a rich history and architectural sites that amaze.

You might drive by the Zion Chapel of Ease Cemetery and appreciate the architectural beauty of the Baynard Mausoleum, but until you read the names and learn about the lives these island pioneers lived, you don’t know the full story.

You might see the heritage, pride and traditions of the native Gullah people on display at festivals and events, but until you hear the stories of those who live that tradition today, you can’t truly appreciate those who came before.

Appreciating these stories is an important part of understanding what the Lowcountry is today, which is why the Heritage Library recently launched its “Our Storied Island” video series. Capturing both the beauty of Hilton Head Island and the fascinating tales that await around every corner, these magnificent video capsules cover many topics from native Gullah traditions to the island’s colonial past.

In one you might discover how a pair of silver chalices traveled to Hilton Head from England, were looted during the Civil War and recovered decades later and returned to a south-end church. In another, you’ll discover the military strategies that played an outsized role in creating Hilton Head Island as we know it.

Each video gives insight and inspiration into a different key moment in history, and reveals fascinating tales behind some of the famous names that made the island what it is today.

“The ‘Our Storied Island’ series is a true celebration of the history of our Island and the people behind it. Video is helping us bring our history to life,” said Heritage Library Executive Director Barbara Catenaci. “It’s so important for us to preserve these stories and these places for future generations of island residents and visitors,” she added.

You can view the full video series at 

Lowcountry resident Barry Kaufman is a freelance writer.