Boone Hall Plantation in Mt Pleasant was founded in 1681 when Englishman Major John Boone came to Charleston area. Major Boone was quite respected and he was elected to the colonial Grand Council during the 1680s, but was removed twice because he illegally trafficked enslaved Native Americans, became associated with pirates, and concealed stolen goods. However, having slaves in general was no problem, as we have learnt from history books.
The house on the plantation the third of its kind, built in 1935 and not your typical antebellum house. But the plantation is one of the oldest plantations still in operation having produced agricultural crops for over 320 years. Much older are the brick slave cabins located along Slave Street which date between 1790 and 1810. Only nine cabins are left. Some of the bricks from cabins that have not been saved were used to build a serpentine wall for the main house.
Talking about the bricks! By year 1850 the slave laborers were able to produce 4 million bricks on a yearly basis. Most of the historic buildings in the historic downtown of Charleston were built from the bricks of Boone Hall and Fort Sumter, as well. Not that we saw any, but the fingerprints of these workers are still visible in the bricks of many of these historic sites.
The agricultural tour didn’t go too much into slavery or anything unpleasant but some anecdotes made you wonder how hard living for the slaves must have been and the life expectancy must have not been too high. Times have changed but it still makes you wonder how that was even possible and did the owners ever think this is not right?
Unfortunately photographing was not allowed inside the house and the second floor was completely off-limits, as well. However, the stories presented by the guide were very colorful and entertaining. John Stone the man who had the latest house built liked to entertain he had many famous visitors to his big parties, like the composer George Gershwin, if my memory serves me right?
Driving into the plantation couldn’t be more beautiful with the grand Avenue of Oaks that was first planted in 1743 and completed by the in 1843. The avenue consists of 88 live oak trees and one magnolia.
When we arrived the the sky was still blue and the avenue was in totally different shade than when we left, the sun had already started to set and the avenue turned into beautiful yellow and orange tones. I took so many photos and trying to choose the ones I liked best was hard as you can see from the amount of photos I have here.
January probably wasn’t the best time to visit when you think about the surroundings. The Avenue of the Oaks might have been even more beautiful if the Resurrection Fern would have been in bloom. But you can’t do anything else but to love the Spanish Moss hanging from the trees. It gives the plantation or any surroundings such a lovely and eerie backdrop.
Even though arriving late afternoon we were able to manage to take part of house tour and the “agricultural tour”, meaning the tour of the grounds. Boone Hall Plantation consists of 738 acres. The landscape includes areas of cultivated, seasonal crop fields, preserved wetlands, creeks, and ponds. Boone Hall is still very active operator in the area in not only caters to tourists, but they
organize many events to locals as well, for example, Halloween events. In the beginning the main products of Boone Hall were indigo (used for coloring the uniforms of British troops), rice and cotton. The production of cotton was discontinued in 1880 because the plantation could not compete with other plantations that were using machinery.
The cotton dock on the river had been rebuild lately.
Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively who were married at Boone Hall Plantation in 2012. Ryan Reynolds have regretted having the wedding there because of the historical reasons.
Driving from Boone Hall towards Charleston during sunset was treat. We hit a traffic jam but on the other hand taking pictures of Wando River and Don N. Holt Bridges became much easier. Especially Don N. Holt Bridge provided a nice back drop for the orange sunset. Driving across the bridge we experienced very familiar smel,l to us Finns, like rotten eggs. And sure enough we saw a paper mill. Later on, I read from online news that the mill has become one of the dirtiest polluters in the United States since being acquired by an investment group led by Robert Kraft, the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots football team. Go team!