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      Order of Tents presented with historical marker

      By Ava Wilhiteawilhite@abcnews4.com

      Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) -- A historical marker will soon rest outside the gates of the United Order of Tents on Cannon Street.

      "It's just really important that people understand the history behind the building so they will understand why it's so important to save it," said Aurora Harris,{} the community outreach manager for the Charleston Preservation Society.

      Harris said the history of the Tents date back to slaves on the underground railroad and abolitionists.

      "A lot of people don't know about it because it is a secret organization with secret rituals and a lot of the community service. And the things that they do they don't boast about it," she said.

      The house was built 100 years before the Tents purchased it in 1956, when their membership was strong.{} Harris said an addition was built to accommodate all their activities.

      "It's starting to deteriorate. We basically chose this building to be on our 'Seven to Save 2012' list because of it's history and it's connection to the neighborhood and we don't want to see that lost," Harris said.

      Ann Blandin is a member of the order. She said it's been a community effort to bring attention to the once crumbling building.

      "They secured the building because one side was leaning and they wanted to make sure it didn't fall and hurt anyone so they had that built up and secured," she said.{}

      The Preservation Society has also laid out its plans to save the building.

      "You would see them come once a month on Saturdays and what's been kind of sad is they haven't been able to come the last five years, but now they are out and about doing things again and trying to stabilize the building so they can use it again," said neighbor Heather Templeton.

      The Tents are also celebrating 100 years of being active in Charleston.

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