Saint Phillips Island is a mixture of marsh, maritime forest, and sand dunes. The south coastal barrier islands are known to have had indigenous populations going back thousands of years and at least one ancient shell mound has been located here.
From the air the island looks like corduroy fabric, with the wales running parallel to the mainland. Various amounts of water are in the wales and the island can only be traversed lengthwise. This peaceful scene is near the center of the island. And yes, there were plenty of mosquitoes.
Saint Phillips is one of a group of barrier islands that sit at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean between Hilton Head Island and Edisto Island, protecting mainland South Carolina from the sea.
In 2017 the State of South Carolina purchased Saint Phillips Island from Ted Turner, who self describes as “founder of media empire, philanthropist, and environmentalist pioneer in sustainable resources.”
He owned the nearly 5000 acre (20 square KM) property for several decades, creating nature trails and building this modest home for seaside get-aways. The state parks department is exploring how to include this treasure as part of Hunting Island State Park (not to be confused with Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet).
Accessible only by boat, I was fortunate to be on one of the first public trips to the island. There was a lot to see and no where near enough time!
Our tour included a walk through the house. The screened front porch facing the ocean was fantastic!
When the house was first built there was an expansive sand beach leading down to the ocean. Barrier islands change continuously from the effects of storms and daily wave action and that beach is now gone. At some point this rip-rap was installed to help keep the water at bay.
The plantation home is the centerpiece of Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site in Union, SC. Four Magnolia trees thought to be over 200 years old screen the front of the building from the road. This is in contrast to many of the southern plantations that had tree-lined entrances designed to impress leading to the homes.
The ornamental front gate opens into a formal boxwood garden.
Once through the gate a visitor would be wowed by the porches and size of the home. The portico on the right side of the home was probably the more likely entry point for a visitor arriving by carriage.
At its peak in the 1860s the plantation covered over 5000 acres with corn and cotton as the primary crops and about 180 enslaved individuals.
There certainly is a lot of symmetry going on, if not a front to back mirror image. I regret not taking the inside tour.
From the SC State Park website:
Gist family members lived in the mansion from about 1811 to 1889. It remained untouched during the Civil War as there were no battles, retreating armies, military quarters or skirmishes in the area. From the 1890s to the 1930s, the mansion deteriorated significantly. In the 1940s, it was purchased and restored by Clyde Franks, who sold it to the state in 1960.
This State Historic Site interprets the family life and political legacy of William Henry Gist, often called South Carolina’s “Secession Governor,” serving from 1858-1860. With its mix of Georgian and Greek Revival architectural styles, the former family mansion stands as a fine example of an antebellum home.
This pretty spot on the Enoree River in Clinton, SC, was the impetus of the August 19, 1780 Revolutionary War Battle of Musgrove’s Mill. Possession of this easy to ford section of the river in the rural, agricultural area was the impetus behind the skirmish.
A modern bridge less than 1000 feet (300 Meters) downstream made this site obsolete for river passage a long time ago.
The day I visited a few turtles playing “king of the hill” was the extent of the activity.