Graffiti on historic Conway building upsets community

Graffiti on historic Conway building upsets community

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The Conway Riverwalk is usually a peaceful place, but people visiting Wednesday were angry to see black spray paint disturbing that pristine environment.

"It really makes me mad," said Michael Vagnoni, who likes to take pictures in the area. "It's very upsetting."

Conway police aren't sure exactly when the vandalism happened, but a person reported graffiti on the Jerry Cox Warehouse, also known as the Lower Warehouse, Monday morning.

"This is where my life started seven months ago with my husband and my family and just to see it destroyed, it's just, it's not fair," said Alexandra Stalvey, who got married on the Riverwalk in June.

Police found the black spray paint as well as a single pillar beneath the bridge.

The city of Conway covered that marking with grey paint, according to the police report.

Conway police are investigating to find out who committed the vandalism.

Video surveillance cameras were installed in the Riverwalk area last year.

15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said he went down to the Riverwalk to look at the graffiti Wednesday and recognized several gang-related symbols, such as stars, pitchforks and specific letters.

The Burroughs Company owns the building. Egerton Burroughs, the company's president, said it's sad someone did this.

The building is for sale because Egerton Burroughs said the company can't afford to fix it up itself.

A management company, Tradd Commercial, is responsible for cleaning the graffiti.

Beneath the black spray paint, many people have written names, dates and phrases on the side of the building with colorful chalk. Although that isn't as severe as the spray paint graffiti, the building owner asks the public to stop putting any kind of markings on the wall.

The building dates back to around 1880 when it was used as a warehouse for the Waccamaw line of steamers, said Ben Burroughs, director of the Horry County Archives Center at Coastal Carolina University.

"The riverboats would carry people as well as cargo and would stop along all the river landings between here and Georgetown gathering up mail, people and more cargo," he said.

Ben Burroughs said the building is one-of-a-kind and needs to be preserved.

"It's the last of the warehouses on the river that I'm aware of in Horry County that was tied to the steamboat travel," Ben Burroughs said.

He said this kind of graffiti hurts more people than the property owner.

"They hurt the entire community," he said. "Even though we don't own it, it's part of our heritage."

Copyright 2016 WMBF News. All rights reserved.