|A view of the archaeological project (Courtesy of Marion Savic)|
While most of the attention has been focused on the fragile tabby structure, Milan and Marion Savic -- who bought the Adam Strain and plan to host businesses and a museum after it is restored – recently brought in an archaeological team to see what’s under the building and buried on the bluff just behind.
Among the items found was a Civil War-era bullet -- likely an Enfield round. The team found it on a bluff that overlooks water, Marion Savic told the Picket.
The so-called Pritchett bullet was used in the Pattern 1853 Enfield rifle. The Enfield was used by both sides during the conflict, and the Confederacy imported thousands from England.
|Civil War bullet found during archaeological dig (Courtesy of Marion Savic)|
The Adam Strain was used to store cotton prior to shipment in 1861 and 1862 before the Union naval blockade clamped down on Georgia’s coast. Darien was destroyed in 1863 by black troops, under orders from an anti-slavery white officer. The incident was recounted in the 1989 movie “Glory.” The Strain survived the fire.
The Picket first wrote in April about efforts to save the circa 1813 building after decades of deterioration. At one point in a long campaign to save the Strain, it appeared the beloved piece of history might be demolished. Made of oyster shell tabby and stucco, the oldest structure in Darien is beloved by its 2,000 residents.
|Support system used during stabilization (Marion Savic)|
On a Facebook page devoted to the project on Broad Street in historic Darien, Savic wrote:
The museum will include artifacts and information from the dig. It will convey the Strain’s and Darien’s history -- including shrimping, timber and the story of thousands of enslaved people who were the backbone of the economy in McIntosh and neighboring counties.
The Facebook page has chronicled the journey, with locals and others interested in the project posting comments and questions.
One find during the work was the discovery of Savannah grey bricks behind the walls of a one-story building that adjoins the Strain. It had been used as a bank and law offices following the Civil War.
|Savannah grey bricks (Courtesy of Marion Savic)|
The Savics, who have experience in operating retail businesses in metro Atlanta, have turned to an array of contracted expertise to bring back a building that was at risk of being toppled by strong winds.
The stabilization phase is nearly complete. Besides the supports, tie rods and plates, crews removed the heavy slate roof, relieving stress on the building. Interior wood framing has been erected throughout the building.
|(Courtesy of Marion Savic)|
Restoration will begin after the building is secure and fully supported. The Strain, which was burned in the 1863 fire, was repaired and saw a rebirth for several decades before it was used for storage following World War II and then shuttered.
The building interior will have the appearance of its immediate post-Civil War days. Crews will recover the tabby with smooth, white stucco.
“The end goal is to have a fully restored tabby building honoring its history. It will look like it did in the 1800s,” Savic wrote.
|The Adam Strain before work began this year.|