Boone Hall Plantation
The main house at Boone Hall
|Location||1235 Long Point Rd Mount Pleasant, South Carolina|
|Area||738 acres (298.7 ha)|
|Architect||William Harmon Beers|
|Architectural style||Colonial Revival|
|NRHP reference #||83002187 (original)|
|Added to NRHP||July 14, 1983|
|Boundary increase||January 21, 1994|
Boone Hall Plantation is one of America's oldest working plantations, continually growing crops for over 320 years. The antebellum era plantation is located in Mount Pleasant, Charleston County, South Carolina, U.S.A., and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The plantation includes a large Colonial Revival plantation house (completed in 1936) that replaced the lost original house on the site, a number of slave cabins or cottages (which were occupied by sharecroppers well into the 20th century), several flower gardens, and the historic "Avenue of Oaks" an expanse of over a kilometer along the up to the house with southern live oaks on either side, originally planted in 1743.
17th and 18th centuries
The earliest known reference to the site is in 1681, in a land grant of 470 acres (1.9 km2) from owner Theophilus Patey, to his daughter Elizabeth and her new husband, Major John Boone as a wedding gift when the land became known as Boone Hall Plantation, though it is unknown when a house was built on the site. John Boone was one of the first settlers of the South Carolina colony, arriving in 1672. Boone and his wife were ancestors of Founding Fathers Edward Rutledge and John Rutledge. He was elected to the Grand Council during the 1680s but was removed twice because he illegally dealt in Indian slaves, associated with pirates and concealed stolen goods. He went on to hold other local offices such as tax assessor and highway commissioner. When Boone died, he divided his estate between his wife and five children with his eldest son, Thomas, making Boone Hall his home.
The ownership of the plantation continued in the Boone family until it was sold in 1811. Within the next few years, Boone Hall was again sold to Henry and John Horlbeck who were in the brick business. The brothers built many houses and public spaces in downtown Charleston using the brick from their plantations, of which by 1850, Boone Hall was producing 4,000,000 bricks per year using 85 slaves. The Horlbeck family also improved the plantation by completing the Avenue of Oaks that lead up to the plantation house in 1843. The Horlbecks also planted pecan trees on the plantation, so that by end of the century, Boone Hall was one of the leading producers of pecans in the United States.
When Henry Horlbeck died in 1837, several of his children settled his estate by transferring their interests in Boone Hall to four of his sons—Henry, Daniel, Edward, and John Horlbeck. The sale occurred on October 1, 1842, and described the plantation as having a "Wooden Dwelling House[,] Brick Stables[,] Barns[,] Brick Kilns[,] and buildings" on 1442 acres "commonly called and known by the name of Boone Hall."
Boone Hall Plantation was purchased in 1935 from the Horlbeck estate by Canadian Thomas Stone. He and his wife, Alexandra, wanting a "grander style" home on the 738 acre plantation built the house that stands there today in 1936 demolishing the existing two-story frame house with a one-story front porch. The Stones also reinvigorated the pecan farming operation at the plantation, focusing on about 200 acres of what had been a 700-acre pecan farm, and built an electrical plant which created power from the tides of the nearby rivers to power the plantation.
In 1940, the Stones sold the plantation to Georgian prince Dimitri Jorjadze and his American socialite wife, Audrey. The prince raced thoroughbreds under the nom de course, Boone Hall Stable, with the most notable of his horses being Princequillo, who in 1943 was the fastest distance runner in the United States. The princely couple sold the plantation to Dr. Henry Deas in 1945, who in turn sold to Harris M. McRae and his wife Nancy in 1955. The McRaes continued to farm the land with a focus on growing peach trees, and eventually opened the plantation to public tours in 1956.
Boone Hall is still owned by the McRae family, which has made great efforts to preserve the original structures and gardens. Due to its role in the antebellum south, the plantation was named one of the African American Historic Places in South Carolina.
Mansion and grounds
Thomas Stone commissioned architect William Harmon Beers to design a grander residence to replace the rather modest house on the Boone Hall Plantation. Designed in the Colonial Revival style, the mansion was built under the oversight of builder Cambridge M. Trott in 1936. Built on the gently sloping banks of Horlbeck Creek, the south-facing residence is a two-and-half story building that incorporates materials from the plantation's old farm structures and salvaged historic brick recovered from the Laurel Hill Brickyard. The eight-bay-wide facade is slightly asymmetrical, with its pedimented gable portico at the fourth, fifth and sixth bays. The portico is supported by six massive Tuscan columns, and features a bull's-eye window in the tympanum. On the ground level, the three western bays feature shuttered 9/9 windows, while the two eastern bays are slightly smaller with 6/9 windows. Within the portico are smaller 6/6 windows flanking the paneled entry door with sidelights and fanlight. Second-level window openings are slightly shorter, with a 6/6 sash. An oculus window occupies the space between the second and third bays on the western side of the facade. Above the entry is an iron balcony accessed by French doors. The lateral hipped roof has a medium pitch, with tall brick exterior chimneys at each side elevation. One interior chimney pierces the slate roof.
On the northern, rear facade, there is a wing that projects from the eastern half of the house consisting of four bays. The roof is hipped and has two gabled dormers on all three sides of the wing that indicates a finished attic level. There are brick exterior chimneys at the rear and east elevations of the wing, which has 6/9 windows at both levels. There are two further projections from the rear wing. A small one-story brick wing on the north elevation, with hipped roof and exterior chimney, was originally used for farm-related storage. At the rear bay of the east elevation is a one-story, one-by-one bay frame wing, with a slate gable roof and exterior brick chimney attached to the house as an office. This small structure predates the main house, and was relocated, attached and re-sided.
Within the ell at the rear of the house, connecting the library at the front of the house with the loggia in the rear wing, is a brick paved terrace enclosed with a serpentine wall. Single and double French doors, with fanlight, in round-arched surrounds access the terrace from the library, while the west wall of the loggia opens to the terrace with a row of three French doors with sidelights and fanlights in round-arched openings. The mansion has an excavated basement with cement slab flooring, and 5'5" walls of smooth cement on which the brick exterior walls rest. Brick piers lend additional support to the main structure.
Encompassing about 10,000 square feet (930 m2), the layout of the mansion has the principal rooms of Boone Hall located on the ground floor. The spacious foyer has plaster walls with a double cornice at ceiling level, and flooring of teak parquet. A cantilevered winding staircase rises to the second level, lit by a triple-hung arched window with 12-light sash. To the left of the foyer is the library, accessed through a mahogany paneled door, with an arched tympanum and keystone, that matches the exterior entry door. Shallow steps lead down from a landing just inside the room to the floor of wide oak boards. The walls are clad in dark green painted cypress paneling, offset by a white chair rail that flanks a simple fireplace surround, glass-fronted built-in bookshelves, and a cornice with heavy dentil molding. On the north side of the library, are ornate French doors, with a semicircular arch in the Palladian style, that access the terrace. Centered on the east wall of the foyer is an arched opening, with fluted pilasters and keystone, that accesses a short hallway that steps down to the double door entry of the dining room. The dining room features oak flooring and cypress paneling painted red. The modest dentil cornice, fireplace surround and chair rail are painted white, matching the treatment in the library. The dining room connects with the kitchen through a butler's pantry with glass-fronted cabinets, topped by smaller cabinets at the ceiling level that extend completely around the room. The countertops are made of Monel, and the narrow oak flooring continues into the large kitchen designed to facilitate grand-scale entertaining.
Accessed through an arched opening on the north wall of the foyer, located under the winding staircase, is the entry into the loggia, adjacent to the west of the kitchen in the rear wing, that leads to the game room at the north end of the rear wing. The enclosed loggia features a low groin-vaulted ceiling of brick and cement stucco, herringbone-laid brick flooring, and centered on a round-arched fireplace surround with a mirrored inset above the mantel. Opposite the fireplace are three double door arched openings to the terrace. The game room has exposed ceiling beams of rough-hewn cypress, cypress paneled walls and salvaged wide heart pine flooring that may have been saved from the prior plantation residence that had been recently demolished. The game room also gives access to a small wine cellar located in the basement. The private family quarters are found on the second floor and are accessed by a hallway featuring arches with fluted pilasters and keystones. The bedrooms have generally simpler finishes than found on the ground floor, though the rear bedrooms and the third level finished space are quite plain. Giving access to each floor is an elevator that rises from the basement to the second level.
Boone Hall Plantation today spans 738 acres that includes seasonal crop fields, naturally preserved wetlands, creeks, and ponds. The most notable natural feature of the grounds is the grand "Avenue of Oaks" that was first planted in 1743 and completed by the Horlbeck brothers in 1843. On axis with the front facade of the house, the allee consists of 88 live oak trees and one magnolia, that are evenly spaced, and run 3/4 of a mile from the entrance of the plantation to a pair of brick gateposts. The gateposts are topped with ball finals, hung with formal wrought iron gates and along with a brick serpentine wall enclose the forecourt of the house. Open lawns at each side of the entry drive are flanked by formal gardens with brick-paved paths, laid among large live oaks and planted with camellias, azaleas and Noisette roses. On the wide forecourt directly in front of the house are two pergolas, constructed in 1993 as part of the ongoing efforts to enhance the gardens. At the southwest edge of the gardens, within the serpentine wall, is a brick smokehouse dating from 1750. The cylindrical structure has a conical timber roof sheathed in slate.
South of the smokehouse, and running parallel with the oak allee, sit nine of the original slave cabins which date back to 1790-1810. It was common for owners to display their slave cabins in the front of the property as a sign of wealth. Built of brick, the one-story structures are 12 feet by 30 feet with gabled roofs, have either plank or dirt floors and a simple fireplace with a brick hearth and no mantle at the rear of each house. The cabins were in use well into the 20th century, as they were occupied by sharecroppers through the 1940s. Today they display information on slave life. To the southeast of the main house is the large Cotton Gin house built in the 1850s. The machinery to process cotton is no longer found, and has since been used as a guest house, restaurant and gift shop by subsequent owners. Due to damage by Hurricane Hugo, the building is no longer habitable and is awaiting renovation.
Boone Hall Farms
Boone Hall Farms is the present agricultural arm that operates this part of the plantation. April to June, strawberries are the centerpiece at Boone Hall Farms. The annual Lowcountry Strawberry Festival caps off the peak of each season and thousands of pounds of strawberries are picked from Boone Hall Farms U-Pick fields. Spring planting annually includes tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, watermelons, sweet corn, and other produce that is part of the Boone Hall Farms farm-to-table program that is featured in over 35 Lowcountry businesses and restaurants. These crops are harvested throughout the summer months during the peak of the South Carolina growing season. Plans are presently underway to expand the tomato crop rotation that will produce deep into the fall growing season along with the pumpkin crop. Boone Hall Farms Market opened in 2006 as an outlet for its crops as well as featuring other fresh local South Carolina-grown produce. This market is open throughout the year and additionally features a variety of other food products, a market cafe, fresh local seafood, and a floral/gift shop.
In popular culture
The grounds and buildings of Boone Hall Plantation have appeared in a number of major motion pictures and TV series:
- America (1972 TV Series)
- Days of Our Lives (1984)
- North and South (1985 & 1986 Mini-Series)
- Alex Haley's Queen (1993 Mini-Series)
- Scarlett (1994 Mini-Series)
- The Notebook (2004)
- The Price of Freedom (2004 Documentary)
- Bin Yah: There's No Place Like Home (2008)
- Media related to Boone Hall at Wikimedia Commons
- Antebellum South Carolina
- List of plantations in South Carolina
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Charleston County, South Carolina
- National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Wells, John E. (August 4, 1972). "Slave Street, Smokehouse, and Allee, Boone Hall Plantation" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
- Frick, Sarah (June 30, 1993). "Boone Hall Plantation House and Historic Landscape" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
- "Boone Hall Plantation, Charleston County (Long Point Road, off U.S. Hwy. 17, Mount Pleasant vicinity)". National Register Properties in South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
- Located at 1235 Long Point Road, Mount Pleasant SC 29464-9020
- Pearson, Colin (September 29, 2016). "What to Look for at Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens". Best of Hipster Charleston. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
- "Boone Hall Plantation – Mount Pleasant – Charleston County". South-Carolina-Plantations.com. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
- Charleston County deed book I11. p. 153.
- "Tide Harnessed at Boone Hall to Furnish Power for Entire Plantation". News and Courier. Charleston SC. November 8, 1936. p. 3C. Retrieved May 1, 2016.
- "Princequillo (IRE)". American Classic Pedigrees. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- African American Historic Places in South Carolina Archived March 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Boone Hall Plantation". Roots and Recall. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "Boone Hall Plantation". Town of Mount Pleasant Municipal Complex. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "Boone Hall Plantation – Mount Pleasant, South Carolinay". South Carolina Picture Project. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
- "Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds are Married". People. September 9, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- McGuire, Judy (February 28, 2009). "Romance, Movie Style - Love on Location - The Notebook". Time. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Boone Hall.|
- Official Site
- Boone Hall at South Carolina Plantations
- Annual Re-enactment of The Battle of Secessionville held at Boone Hall Plantation
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. SC-102, "Boone Hall Quarters, Mount Pleasant, Charleston County, SC", 1 photo, 2 data pages
- Boone Hall Plantation in Street View