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.
The Post and Courier of Charleston recently ran a story about a circa 1790 rice bed that sold at auction for $45,000.
Rice Beds are poster beds mainly from the colonial era. They were built locally in the Rice Kingdom and are distinguished by having a sheave of rice carved into the posts. Most were made of mahogany wood.
North Carolina public radio’s eastern arm produced a fine synopsis of the rice culture in the state recently. You can listen or read the content complete with illustrations.
Wilmington and Brunswick County, NC are planning to start a North Carolina Rice Festival to point up the long history of rice culture on the Cape Fear River. The article also gives an update on efforts at Orton Plantation to join the ranks of old rice fields once again producing Carolina Gold and other heirloom rice strands.
Although it escaped my attention last fall, the Weekly Surge, the free weekly out of Myrtle Beach, ran a none of the best pieces in recent years on the “rice-growing renaissance” taking place in that South Carolina.
Tim Carman of The Washington Post wrote a piece on Heinz Thomet, a Maryland truck crop farmer who is experimenting with rice. Thomet has tried several varieties including Carolina Gold and is also using the SRI method of rice production.
Goodwill Plantation in Richland County once grew rice using the inland impoundment methods. Now, a gold mining company wants to buy the plantation and give it the state of South Carolina as a public nature preserve in consideration of Federal approval of the mines environmental impact. Read more about in The State.
Lowcountry native Jonathan Green has achieved loyal following during his still thriving career as a painter. Recently he has launched a new venture – The Lowcountry Rice Project – with the cooperation of a number of scholars, agriculturalists, and other friends. Two upcoming events help to draw attention to his efforts: a new exhibit of his work at the Avery Institute at the College of Charleston and a conference this September. The AP recently covered these developments as seen in the Miami Herald.