South Carolina Paint Colors Study Comes to Edgefield

South Carolina Paint Colors Study Comes to Edgefield

 A Paint Sample showing layers of color marking a “chromatic story.”

By Lydia Derrick Wherry

Color has been so meaningful of late as we have born witness to what has surely been one of the most spectacular displays of leaves this fall, in every shade of autumn colors.  The backdrop of our lives is enriched with color, but did you ever consider using colors to describe Edgefield?  Meadors Inc., of Charleston, SC, has, and will be launching their paint color study, “The Historic Colors of South Carolina,” with a study of Edgefield’s structures.  

A recent trip to Edgefield by a team from Meadors Inc.including owner, James Meadors, accompanied by AIA Architectural Conservator Betty Prime and Carter Edwards of Design Services, visited a number of sites including church, civic and residential buildings to establish a framework and to refine the budget for obtaining paint samples from the exterior of structures made available to the team.  “We are in the process of business development,” says Meadors.  With paint samples, the chromatic story of Edgefield comes to life.  As Meadorssays, “We are very hopeful about finding lots of info here.”

James Meadors, Owner
Betty Prime, AIA Architectural Conservator


“Why Edgefield to begin the study?” I asked.  “Because the history of Edgefield runs deep,” says Meadors, as does theappreciation of our history and sense of community here. “It’s powerful to go into communities and share interests.  Where that ends up taking you is incredible,” he shares.  Therefore, we hope to have a wonderful, historical, paint palette as a resource for homeowners, contractors, architects and the like.  This palette will take us through the journey of our people as they painted Edgefield’s buildings and homes with the resources available to them, influenced by the economies and cultural trends of the times.

“Shifts in paint technology tell you date markers,” explained Prime. For example, early lead based paint moved to a zinc base, then to Titanium White (an acrylic based paint).  In many of the vernacular buildings, locally sourced pigments were used, further distinguishing one region from another and establishing further evidence of Edgefield’s chronologies.

Meadors has not yet confirmed a partnership with a national paint manufacturer, but the opportunity is still in the works.  He anticipates seven years to complete the project.  It will be an iterative process as they visit various regions across the state, streamlining the procedure of sample collection and analysis, navigating hurdles along the way and building a team to get the job done.  Once complete, the Historic Colors of South Carolinawill be available as an online resource with the South Carolina Archives.  Each region will receive its own booklet detailing its distinctive colors and as a resource for the community at large.

Should you wish to find out more about how your property can become a part of the study, please contact Local Project Coordinator, Summers Pendarvis at 803-645-4176

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