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05/07/2015

History Professor Honored For His Contributions to Preserve S.C. History

Quick Facts

 Edward Lee, a 1983 Winthrop graduate who serves as mayor of York and has been a Winthrop history faculty member since 1994, will receive the Elected Official Award.
 His award is one of several Historic Preservation Awards to be given out at 2 p.m. June 5 in the lower lobby of the State House by S.C. Lt. Governor Henry McMaster.
 The awards, which are sponsored by the Palmetto Trust, the S.C. Department of Archives and History, and the Office of the Governor, recognize exceptional accomplishments in the preservation, rehabilitation and interpretation of South Carolina’s architectural and cultural heritage.

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Edward Lee

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation will recognize Winthrop University Associate Professor Edward Lee on June 5 for his work in helping preserve the historic York County Courthouse.

Lee, a 1983 Winthrop graduate who serves as mayor of York and has been a Winthrop history faculty member since 1994, will receive the Elected Official Award.

It is one of several Historic Preservation Awards to be given out at 2 p.m. June 5 in the lower lobby of the State House by S.C. Lt. Governor Henry McMaster. The awards, which are sponsored by the Palmetto Trust, the S.C. Department of Archives and History, and the Office of the Governor, recognize exceptional accomplishments in the preservation, rehabilitation and interpretation of South Carolina’s architectural and cultural heritage.

Lee was selected for his outstanding achievements in support of historic preservation in South Carolina. Not only was he significantly instrumental in forming a coalition of city leaders to address the critical preservation needs of the York County Courthouse, but Lee has taught history on the college level, has authored history books, and has remained involved with historical associations and preservation organizations.

The 101-year-old York County Courthouse was targeted by the York County Council for demolition last August, according to Lee. He recalled that members thought it was "too old," "too expensive to renovate," and "not conveniently located."

He organized a countywide task force to argue for its preservation. "Every two weeks, a parade of citizens would appear before the County Council... one after another," he said, including former U.S. Rep. John Spratt, the late Lib Brice, businessmen, people who got their marriage licenses there, and teachers. "We gradually changed the council's mind...one vote at a time. I consider this success story to be an excellent example of civic engagement."

Lee has served frequently as a commentator for national media, including NBC, CNN and National Public Radio. He presents public programs on topics ranging from South Carolina history to the U.S. presidency. He is a commissioner for the South Carolina Archives, a member of the Review Committee for the National Register of Historic Places and chairman of the Catawba Regional Council of Governments.

For more information, contact Michael Bedenbaugh, executive director at the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, at oldhouse@palmettotrust.org.


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