Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A day trip...

Yesterday we found ourselves on an impromptu trip to Georgetown, a small port city an hour North of Charleston. Along the way we saw a detour for Hampton Plantation, and I couldn't resist taking a look. Unfortunately we weren't able to tour the home, but thanks to my many architectural history classes, I already had knowledge of the contents of this house, which is known for false windows and a large ballroom.  

The plantation house was built initially circa 1740s with additions made in the 1760s. The distinctive front portico was added between 1790 and 1791, likely in preparation for George Washington's visit. The house is surprisingly elaborate with carved rosettes over each column and decorative modillions supporting the architrave of the pediment. This portico is considered the first of its kind on a residential structure in the low country of the Carolinas. 

Since we were not able to tour the home, I searched the HABS photographs and came across these of the ballroom. To accommodate the coved ceiling in this room, likely added in the 1790s, the windows on the facade had their shutters permanently closed to maintain the symmetry of the structure.

An alternative view of the ballroom. The woodwork is a crisp white and the ceiling is an intense blue... a strikingly fresh and modern combination, but period appropriate.

Located nearby is St. James-Santee Episcopal Church, a remarkably sophisticated Classical structure built in 1768. This church would have catered to the wealthy landowners, such as the owners of Hampton Plantation and other nearby plantations.  

The flemish bond brick columns with their molded capitals were my favorite architectural details. The bricks were imported from England. 

The interior of the church with a coved ceiling and architectural detailing strikingly similar to that of Hampton Plantation.

The back of the church, which was initially identical to the front with an open portico. 

The cemetery surrounding the church was lackluster... I can only imagine the majority of these landowners were buried in the cities of their respective townhouses or on the grounds of their plantation homes. However, this unusual brownstone marker struck my interest. 


  1. Thank you for the 'tour' much enjoyed!!

  2. Georgetown sounds like my kind of place. Love the black and white photos! Things seem so much more nostalgic in black and white!

  3. Well Georgetown is somewhat lackluster... this site happened to be along the way but was definitely worth visiting... and I definitely agree about the black and white photos... I love looking through the HABS website at these vintage views (some of which date to the 1920s or 30s often before these homes were museums and still maintain their original furnishings)

  4. I just stumbled on your blog, and glad I am that I did! Where oh where were you when I was wandering the streets of Charleston, knowing there was a kindred spirit in my midst? So excited to have found your blog!