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Remembering Charleston, South Carolina Preservationist Joseph H. “Peter” McGee

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Renowned Charleston attorney, preservationist, and beloved husband of Evelyn “Patti” McGee died April 26, 2024, at age ninety-five. Peter and Patti were active, long-time members of SGHS, Patti having posthumously received the William Lanier Hunt Award at the Society’s 2023 annual meeting in Natchitoches, LA. They generously opened their Charleston home to Society members, preservationists, and members of the artists community. All who knew Peter McGee remembered him with respect and affection. His support of the Historic Charleston Foundation, moreover, ultimately led to the nation’s first historic preservation plan in 1974. In addition, he and Patti played an essential role in making Charleston a more beautiful and comfortable city. Peter and his family, notably daughters Evie McGee Colbert and Madeleine McGee, also helped spearhead the renovation of downtown Charleston’s Wragg Square. The McGee and Colbert families donated $100,000 for the work, as well as committed additional money to maintain the Square. The renewed park on Meeting Street, which was dedicated on April 7, 2024, commemorates Peter and Patti, the latter also having helped found the Lowcountry Garden Club and the Charleston Horticultural Society. The park’s director prioritized plants grown in Patti’s personal garden, including ferns, hellebores, azaleas, and camellias. Daughter Madeleine said the plants will be labeled and walking paths installed to share her mother’s gardening spirit within Wragg Square. The park is located adjacent to the Second Presbyterian Church, where Peter’s family had been members for generations. 

Beloved Charleston attorney, preservationist Joseph H. “Peter” McGee dies

McGee and Colbert families chip in to renovate Wragg Square in downtown Charleston

Photo taken by Peggy Cornett

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