Charleston to dedicate revamped Ansonborough park on Saturday

Theodora Park Gets a New Treatment

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The new Theodora Park replaces a seldom-used enclosed playground - SAM SPENCE
  • Sam Spence
  • The new Theodora Park replaces a seldom-used enclosed playground

A tiny corner in Ansonborough has gotten an outsized amount of attention in a dramatic makeover. Theodora Park at the corner of George and Anson Streets will be officially dedicated Saturday after a $540,000 renovation.

Tile artist Paul Heroux - SAM SPENCE
  • Sam Spence
  • Tile artist Paul Heroux

The upgrade turns what was once a dusty, little-used playground across from the back-side of the Gaillard Auditorium into an inviting, well-appointed pocket park befitting its location across from what will soon become the new Gaillard Center performance hall.

Named for Theodora C. Rawle, mother of retired public relations executive David Rawle, the park's rebirth has been a joint effort between Rawle, the Charleston Parks Conservancy, and the city of Charleston. Rawle, who lives nearby, helped raise the $540,000 that went into the project, which included acquiring a Philip Simmons-created iron gate and commissioning handmade fountain tiles from Maine ceramics artist Paul Heroux.

Happening upon Heroux surveying his work this afternoon as workers put the finishing touches on the tiles, the artist says he's been working on the project for over a year. The 370 tiles, which were individually designed, glazed, and painted by hand, will line the fountain that runs the length of the central seating area of the park. Heroux said he took inspiration for the shape of the overall fountain from boxwood hedges and abstracted lines seen in cracked ice formations for the geometric shapes that dominate the tiles.

The dedication on Saturday takes place at 10:30 A.M. The park sits at the corner of George and Anson Streets.

The park includes a Philip Simmons gate on display - SAM SPENCE
  • Sam Spence
  • The park includes a Philip Simmons gate on display
The view from George Street - SAM SPENCE
  • Sam Spence
  • The view from George Street
Detail of the unfilled fountain - SAM SPENCE
  • Sam Spence
  • Detail of the unfilled fountain

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