Hampton Plantation is a celebrated plantation and state historic site located just a smidgen north of McClellanville between the famous port city of Charleston and Georgetown, SC. An easy hour-long drive from Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand, it was established in 1735 and was a working rice plantation bustling with activity during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Hampton consists of almost 300 acres on Wambaw Creek, a Santee River tributary close to the northernmost edge of Charleston County, SC, west of Highway 17.
Many of SC’s most prominent families made their homes at Hampton – Horrys, Pinckneys and Rutledges. In the 1700s, Hampton welcomed a parade of patriots, politicians, soldiers and artists. President George Washington visited in 1791. Harriott Pinckney Horry (pronounced O-Ree,) widow of Daniel Horry – a Revolutionary War hero and comrade of Francis Marion – played hostess. It’s said she asked Washington if the thriving oak on the opposite side of the house should be removed as it blocked the home’s view from the land-side entry. Washington insisted the tree be saved, and today the mighty Washington Oak stands tall and proud and continues to captivate visitors.
A National Historic Landmark, the Hampton mansion stands as centerpiece of the park. The Adam style portico is one of the finest and earliest examples of its kind in North America. The mansion’s interior, purposely left unfurnished, highlights the structure’s architectural and construction details. Cutaway sections of walls and ceilings show the building’s evolution from a simple farmhouse to a grand mansion. Exposed timber framing, hand-carved mantels, and delicately wrought hinges and hardware reveal the eighteenth century builders craft.
The home last served as the residence of noted writer, Archibald Rutledge. He was SC’s Poet Laureate for many years, even as he was contributing articles to many of the day’s sporting magazines. He was especially passionate about hunting. His written works are often acknowledged as being among the best of outdoor literature.
Visitors are free to wander the Georgian-styled mansion and the sprawling, well-kept grounds studded with live oaks, camellia gardens and archeological sites. Park interpreters conduct regular tours of the circa 1750 home, an architectural monument to the labor of enslaved Africans and the social prominence of the Horry, Pinckney and Rutledge families. Interpretive programming also delivers much information on the Lowcountry rice culture and plantation system.
Find more information at SouthCarolinaParks.com.