Mindless vandalism wrought on bottle tree
A bottle tree at the “five-points” intersection in Summerville (South Main and Carolina Ave.), which has become somewhat of an iconic community symbol, was destroyed by vandals sometime during the night on Saturday, May 18.
Property owner Larry Barnfield, created the sculpture with his wife and renowned sculptor Bob Doster of Lancaster. Barnfield is the director of Fine Arts for Dorchester District Two and Doster has created several pieces for the districts as well as been an Artist in Residence there.
“We’re going to put it back up,” said Barnfield, “people have loved having it there … we’ve had a lot of calls.”
Barnfield explained the history behind bottle trees as part of the Gullah culture. “The belief is, if you put bottles on tree branches, the haints [spirits] would get into the bottles and not be able to get out.”
The bottles are blue because the blue appears to look like water, which keeps away the haints. “This is why you often see blue doors and windows on properties,” he explained.
Barnfield said he does not want to press charges but would like to have whomever did the damage come and help fix it.
Although the tree may be set upright, it won’t have any bottles on it anytime soon as they were all broken and, said Barnfield, it takes time to collect all those blue bottles.