Boone Hall Plantation - South Carolina's Plantation of the Month Learn About the Uniquely Charleston Plantation History

of Boone Hall
Boone Hall Plantation is situated east of the Cooper River and located off of Long Point Road near Highway 17. It’s best known for its impressive avenue of oaks that leads to the house, a colonial revival treasure from the 1930s. The site history begins in 1681 with the land grant that was given to Theophilus Patey of 470 acres on Wampacheeone Creek now named Boone Hall Creek. His daughter Elizabeth Patey married John Boone and roughly 400 acres of the land was given to the couple in celebration of their wedding. The construction date of the original house is unknown. Following John Boone’s death c. 1718, the property was divided between his widow Elizabeth and their five children.
The Plantation Was Owned by Generations of the Boone Family Until 1811

The property passed through subsequent generations in the Boone Family and by 1811 the property is sold out of the Family. In this same year the builders of many Charleston structures, including St. John’s Lutheran Church, John and Henry Horlbeck, purchase the property. By 1850, 85 enslaved African-Americans were creating 4,000,000 bricks annually. The Horlbeck family also planted a now famous grove of pecan trees. By the late 19th century the property was one of the most significant growers of pecans in America. The property was sold in 1935 to the Stone family although the Horlbeck family members continued to harvest crops with the exception of the pecan trees. At that time the property included upwards of 4,000 acres of land and marsh. These owners constructed the current Colonial Revival style house on the property in 1936.
Boone Hall Plantation Remains a Working South Carolina Plantation To This Very Day!

The McRae family purchased the property in 1955 and opened it soon after to the public. It continues to be a working plantation today. Boone Hall has been featured in several films including North and South, Queen and The Notebook. Boone Hall has always been a working plantation and continues to be one today. Guests visiting Boone Hall are immediately impressed with the long alley of oaks that graces the road and boasts more than 80 live oaks. Boone Hall is one of the few plantations open to the public to view this grand display of the landscape. Most plantation allees were planted in the early 19th Century as was the popular practice of its time.

The slave street at Boone Hall is particularly impressive as it boasts nine original slave cabins made of brick. Commonly, slave villages on plantations consisted of wooden structures, but in the case of Boone Hall it is said that these brick structures housed skilled enslaved African-Americans, including smithies, carpenters, cooks and house servants. It is presumed, as on other plantations, that field workers had their housing in the vicinity of the crops. The cabins include a chimney and four windows on the front and one on the side for light and ventilation. The original roof tiles were clay or pantilles and would most likely have been created on the property. Residents occupied these structures until the 1940s. Boone Hall also boasts other ancillary buildings including the cotton gin house, stables, dock house and 20th century cottages. The cotton gin dates to the mid-19th century and functions today as a dining facility and a shop. The stable dates from the early 20th century and is said to be sited on the footprint of an earlier structure. In the 1930s the dock house was constructed on the banks of Boone Hall Creek. It was reconstructed after the devastating winds of Hurricane Hugo knocked it down in 1989. It currently serves as an events venue. The cottages, built in the 1930s, now function as an office and a residence. By the twentieth century the original plantation house had fallen into neglect and was torn down. The current Colonial Revival house boasts three stories and a basement and is roughly 10,000 square feet in size. It features expansive living quarters on the first floor with bed chambers and bathrooms on the second floor and additional rooms on the third. It was not unusual in the early twentieth century to demolish houses that were in a state of neglect and construct new buildings on these large landholdings. They served as hunting lodges and winter residences often times owned by wealthy families from the Northeast and Midwest.
Boone Hall Offers Hands On Participation in Plantation Life Events

Boone Hall offers varied experiences to their guests. Not only can guests tour the house and grounds but also they can participate in the u-pick fields where tomatoes, peaches, strawberries and pumpkins are grown throughout the year. Boone Hall also offers African-American programming where guests can learn about the Gullah culture. Named - Life Lessons of the Gullah Culture,” local dramatic artist Sharon Cooper Murray interprets 19th century slave life. Boone Hall Plantation offers something for everyone as they offer special events throughout the year. Whether your interests lie with historic sites and antebellum history or you are interested in agriculture, Boone Hall Plantation has it all.
Courtesy of Charleston Gateway Magazine and Only.sc