Wragg Square renovation unveiled: A living tribute to community resilience and heritage

April 1, 2024

The Charleston Parks Conservancy and the City of Charleston announced the completion of the 2024 renovation of Wragg Square, 342 Meeting St., marking its ascent to world-class park status. The transformation underscores the vital role of green spaces in global cities, reaffirming the commitment to enhance the quality of urban life. Landscape improvements inspired by a family’s commitment to Charleston were made possible through a significant public-private partnership. The recent renovations honor Patti and Peter McGee, a couple whose love of Charleston, dedication to community service and passion for gardening inspired their family and friends to celebrate their legacy in this manner.

The months-long project included pruning the laurel oaks damaged in multiple hurricanes and replacing trees at the end of their expected life cycle, revealing the recently renovated steeple of Second Presbyterian Church attended by the McGee family for generations. Garden beds were redesigned to include Patti’s favorite plants and highlight the Square’s historic wrought-iron fence. Diseased and dying trees were removed, and new palmettos and live oaks were installed. The lawns, paths, lighting, irrigation, and hardscape were also restored. City Parks Department and Conservancy staff and dozens of volunteers have planted and transplanted hundreds of plants.

These improvements, built upon the 2016 renovations that the Conservancy also spearheaded in conjunction with the Garden District Neighborhood Association, will allow the park to serve as a gathering space for the neighborhood and congregation.

Patti and Peter McGee’s daughters were inspired by their mother’s love of horticulture and their father’s loyalty to Second Presbyterian Church to partner with the Conservancy. “Mom opened her home, her garden, and her heart to everyone,” said Evie McGee Colbert. “We hope the revitalized Wragg Square will feel just as welcoming.”

“By labeling the plants and installing paths so visitors can wander through the beds, this space within Wragg Square allows our mother’s gardening spirit to continue to inspire others,” said Madeleine McGee. “Our father and families are so grateful to the City of Charleston and their amazing Parks Department, the Charleston Parks Conservancy, Second Presbyterian Church, and the Garden District Neighborhood Association for their partnership and support of our vision for making Wragg Square a world-class greenspace.”

“This renovation is more than just a physical transformation; it’s a celebration of community spirit and the enduring legacy of those who give back to our community,” said Darlene Heater, Executive Director of Charleston Parks Conservancy. “We are grateful for the support of the Colbert, McGee, and Wichmann families, as well as all the many volunteers and donors who have helped bring this project and others to fruition. The Conservancy’s work would not be possible without generous donations and volunteer support.”

“Patti’s gardens highlighted her love for nature, plants, and garden design. Careful study and attentive management were integral to her approach,” said Beverly Rivers, the renowned Charleston garden designer who proposed the project when Patti died in 2022. “Sharing her gardens and all the lessons she learned with visitors brought Patti the most joy.”

The Patti and Peter McGee Gardens within Wragg Square will be dedicated during a neighborhood garden and tea party hosted by Second Presbyterian Church on April 7, 2024, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Wragg Square, 342 Meeting Street.

While the renovation is a significant milestone, ongoing maintenance is essential to preserving the park’s beauty and functionality. The family has also invested in ongoing maintenance, and the Conservancy is committed to securing additional resources to support Wragg Square’s care and programming.

For more information about Wragg Square and how you can get involved, please visit charlestonparksconservancy.org/park-finder/wragg-square.


About the Charleston Parks Conservancy

The Charleston Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring the people of Charleston to connect with their parks and create stunning public places and a strong community. For more than 15 years, the Conservancy has had a hand in renovating and beautifying more than 24 parks in partnership with the City of Charleston. Notable projects include the renovation of Colonial Lake, the Rose Pavilion at Hampton Park, Moultrie Playground, St. Julian Devine Community Center and Park, Magnolia Park and Community Garden, Medway Park and Community Garden, and Corrine Jones Community Garden. For more information, visit www.charlestonparksconservancy.org.