Discovering Treasure Buried on Goat Island by Marci Shore for Island Eye News
Sarah Sanders took trash from her best friend’s frame shop in Mount Pleasant and began creating some boxes out of the discarded frames. Her line of Goat Island Treasure Boxes is now sold in the South Carolina State Capitol souvenir shop.
“We just received an order for 40 more boxes from the State Capitol store this morning,” said Diann Clark, who helps Sanders’ with marketing the boxes.
Sanders makes the Treasure Boxes out of discarded pieces of picture molding, in her woodworking shop on Goat Island, a tiny island on the Intracoastal Waterway that’s accessible only by boat, 200 yards from Isle of Palms, but some say, a world away.
A retired East Cooper teacher and coach, Sanders, 73, taught for 33 years. She has lived on Goat Island since 1969.
“For 14 years, I never missed a day of teaching,” Sanders said, in spite of the fact that getting to work every morning, rain or shine, involved a boat ride across the waterway. “It probably was mostly because it was more trouble to not go, since I had to take the boat across, and then get to the pay phone to call in,” she said, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. (Until the mid-1980’s, there were no telephones on Goat Island.)
For a short time, she lived amidst the hubbub of downtown while teaching school, before buying from a friend who was selling their house on Goat Island. Curiously, Sanders said she’s never felt lonely or afraid on the island, even when she’s been its only full time resident, and Mother Nature, her only companion.
Sanders was the first full-time resident of Goat Island, following the deaths of the original occupants, Blanche and Harry Holloway, who lived a simple life with their herd of goats on the island until the 60s. Palm fronds were the couple’s main shelter.
Sanders now lives in her home with her dog, Callie, and, appropriately, two goats, Blue and Muriel. There are about 30 full-time residents on Goat Island today.
A one-person production team, Sanders picks and orders the wood, designs, cuts and glues together each box. There is fine detail work in making the 45-degree cuts, and then piecing the corners together so that the frame pieces connect as seamlessly as possible.

Since seriously beginning her production of the Treasure Boxes in 2007, she has progressed to 14 total lines of Goat Island Treasure Boxes, including The Charleston Hospitality Box, The Fort Sumter Box, The Sweetgrass Box, The South Carolina State Motto Box, The Turtle Hatchlings Box and 11 others that all pay tribute to some facet of South Carolina life.

Goat Island, South Carolina is a small barrier island, 200 yards across the Intracoastal Waterway from Isle of Palms, South Carolina.

In the early ’30s, a man and his wife, Blanche and Henry Holloway, lived there in self-exile without electricity or water, with a herd of goats. Both Henry and Blanche had passsed away by 1963. Isle of Palms Magazine 

Some 80+ years later the small strip of land between Mt. Pleasant and the Isle of Palms is still known as Goat Island and continues to be sought after by many hoping to escape the hustle and bustle of life in the city. 

Still separated from civilization by water, this small and simple rustic island continues to be a relaxing retreat for the lucky ones who are able to visit or live there.