What is rice plantation worth these days? It’s not so easy a question to answer given all the variables in play. How many acres? Is there an existing house or other structures? What types of easements might exist? Is it convenient to airports, highways, etc.?
Middleburg Plantation in Berkeley County, SC just sold and it gives a pretty good hint at current pricing. The acreage is not large – 326 – yet the property fetched $3,500,000. It is fairly convenient to Charleston (airports, Interstate, city upsides), but it is a pretty rare plantation in that its original house from 1697.
For the record the new owner made his money by founding the Moe’s Southwest Grill chain and the Planet Smoothie chain.
Jonathan Green received a nice treatment in the Charleston City Paper in which they highlighted his many current projects tied to educating people about the Rice Kingdom. In addition to being the founder and leader of the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project, he is renowned for his art work, public speaking appearances, illustrating a kid’s book on Robert Smalls and designing sets for a revival of Porgy and Bess.
General Anthony Wayne is best-known as a successful Revolutionary War officer from Pennsylvania. His successes in that war earned him the gift of two rice plantations from the Georgia legislature. Richmond and Kew plantation had been confiscated from Loyalists and they required investment and slaves. Wayne attempted it but in the early 1790s deeded the lands and slaves back to his creditors.
Joe McGill, the intrepid and inspired person behind the Slave Dwelling Project has been traveling from state-to-state for years now in order to stay in slave houses that remain standing. His next over-night will be at Hofwyl-Broadfield rice plantation near Brunswick, Georgia. The plantation was a major one in the southern-most corner of that state and the southern-most corner of the Rice Kingdom.
A nice article appeared this week on archeological work being conducted by the Chicora Foundation at Kendal Plantation. They believe it is the first permanent English site in the Cape Fear area.
The author Ed Ball wrote an essay in the New York Times to commemorate and muse over the memory of the Sesquicentennial of emancipation on his family’s rice plantation, Limerick.
Excavation efforts to reveal more about the lives of slaves on Hampton Plantation have resumed. The multi-year archeological effort has focused in the slave village of the state park. Hampton is famous in part due to the writings of Archibald Rutledge who lived on it after the end of rice culture.
Recently Laurel Hill Plantation in Mt. Pleasant became open to the public with multi-use recreational trails. The plantation is among the oldest in the state and has included a brick yard, rice culture and cotton production. The Park system of Charleston County has a twenty-five year lease to operate it with options beyond that.
The Wall Street Journal ran a substantial and well illustrated piece on Plum Hill Plantation. Plum Hill had been through many iterations over time but in the antebellum era period had been among the Heyward family rice plantations. in the 1990s a number of scenes for “Forrest Gump” took place on the land as a stand in for Alabama. Like most ACE Basin plantations today, the family uses it as a hunting preserve.
The Sesquicentennial of the Civil War has brought about a good deal of re-thinking and remembering much of the military history of the conflict, but surprisingly modest amounts of attention to the events of those years in Rice Kingdom. Fortunately, Time recently gave space to thinking about the actual arrival of emancipation of the rice kingdom in late 1864 and 1865.