Boone Hall Plantation History: Intriguing and Incredible

Like most plantations in South Carolina, Boone Hall Plantation history goes back to before the United States was a country.

But if you take a tour of Boone Hall, you’ll learn a lot more than just the history of those who lived in the house.

Boone Hall Plantation educates visitors on everything from the slaves that were on the property to how the main crops were grown.

The history of Boone Hall Plantation covers centuries, so read on to learn about the expansive history behind the estate.

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Boone Hall Plantation History

Encompassing more than 700 acres, Boone Hall Plantation came about in 1681 when Englishman Major John Boone arrived in Charleston and established a lucrative plantation on the banks of Wampacheone Creek.

In 1743, the son of Major John Boone planted live oak trees, arranging them in two evenly spaced rows.

The massive, moss-draped branches now meet overhead, forming a  natural scenic corridor that is unmatched in its splendor.

One can easily be inspired by this stunning work of nature that reflects the charm of the Old South.

The entrance to Boone Hall Plantation with its avenue of live oaks.
The entrance driveway to Boon Hall Plantation is magical.

The plantation offers house tours, tractor tours and garden tours that meander throughout the property. Depending on the season, the gardens are simply spectacular.

I happened to visit when the azaleas were in bloom!

Related Story: Other plantations also offer beautiful gardens and history.

Boone Hall Plantation’s History With Slaves

Tours and programs at Boone Hall do not skirt around the issue of slavery, but discuss it openly as part of Boone Hall Plantation history.

In fact, Boone Hall is one of the few Southern plantation to have original dwellings used by enslaved people.

The Black History in America Exhibit at Boone Hall Plantation features nine historic dwellings that were built between 1790 and 1810. (Which is amazing!)

Visitors are able to see the different aspects of daily life, how black Americans worked and lived, as well as follow different periods of historical progression from their arrival in America up to present day.

Themes for each cabin are:

Cabin 1 – Praise House
Cabin 2 – Heritage Of Sweetgrass Baskets
Cabin 3 – Life & Family
Cabin 4 – Archaeological Discoveries
Cabin 5 – Work and Life
Cabin 6 – Emancipation & Freedom
Cabin 7 – Struggle For Civil Rights
Cabin 8 – Heroes and Leaders
Cabin 9 – Exploring The Gullah Culture

The slaves quarters at Boone Hall Plantation are some of a very few that still exist in the United States today. They are made of brick that was manufactured on the property.

Five of the nine brick slave quarters can be seen as part of Boone Hall Plantation history displays and programs.
The brick slave quarters are part of the history of Boone Hall Plantation.

Ready to buy a ticket to Boone Hall Plantation? Purchase HERE.

Boone Hall Plantation History: Gullah Traditions

Boone Hall is the only plantation in the Charleston area to present a live presentation of the unique Gullah culture adapted by African slaves.

True descendants of the Gullah people present the history of this culture through storytelling, song, and dance. The presentation is not only educational, it is also entertaining, and at times…very moving.

I love learning about different cultures, and this presentation is highly recommended.

Related Post: Visit the McLeod Plantation Historic Site for even more information on the enslaved community and Gullah Geechee culture.

The front of Boone Hall Plantation, showing a brick house with a chimney on each side, and a white porch with four pillars
Boone Hall Plantation House.

Boone Hall Plantation House History

From the Avenue of Oaks, visitors will see the house sitting behind brick gateposts topped with ball finals. Formal wrought iron gates and a brick serpentine wall enclose the front courtyard of the house.

It’s not hard to imagine visitors arriving to the house in the 19th century by carriage, driving through the tunnel of oaks and past the slave quarters to the left of the road.

Behind the elaborate iron gates stands a beautiful, two-storied Colonial-Revival mansion. The house has a symmetrical façade, side-gabled roof, and a centered-entrance, accentuated by 4 columns.

When learning about Boone Hall Plantation history, many people are surprised to learn that the mansion at Boone Hall wasn’t built until 1936.

Nevertheless, the first floor showcases what a house would have looked like in the 18th century.

The home that once stood on the site of the current one was likely similar to a typical Lowcountry farmhouse instead of the grand mansion seen today.

The original house was demolished by then-owner Canadian Ambassador Thomas Stone, who mentions in his diary that demolition was started on Thursday October 17, 1935.

In 1955, the current owners (the McRaes) bought the property, opening it up to the public in 1957.



The Gardens At Boone Hall Plantation

The main garden at Boone Hall Plantation is unique because of its elegant shape outlined with brick pathways and enclosed with a boxwood hedge along the perimeter. The section closer to the house is filled with a collection of camellias that are shaded by sweeping, white Crepe Myrtle trees.

Farther out is a collection of antique roses that are mixed with vibrant and colorful perennials and annuals.

The grounds of Boone Hall Plantation are stunning and are part of the reason it has earned the title of “America’s Most Photographed Plantation.”

They even have a small garden planted with cotton so that Northerners like me can see how it grows. I found that very interesting!

An ancient tree that has witnessed centuries of Boone Hall Plantation history.
An ancient tree that has witnessed centuries of Boone Hall Plantation history.

The avenue of oaks that you drive through reminds me a lot of Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana. Both are stunning!

Of course, I could not do a post without showing a picture of at least one ancient tree. Imagine the things it has seen in the last 200 years!

You can plan to spend a few hours at Boone Hall, especially if you enjoy walking. Early mornings are especially pleasant.

If you don’t want to walk the grounds, you can take a plantation tractor tour across the entire 738 acres, and of course, see the diverse gardens which are a showcase of color throughout the year.

What Movies Were Made at Boone Hall Plantation

Needless to say, this Southern gem hasn’t escaped the notice of Hollywood!

Most people know it as the location for the legendary TV miniseries North and South, but the romantic movie The Notebook was also filmed on the planation grounds.

Boone Hall is said to have been the inspiration that inspired the entrance to Ashley Wilke’s Twelve Oak plantation in “Gone with the Wind.”

Visiting Boone Hall Plantation

Boone Hall Plantation is located in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., eight miles from downtown Charleston. It is one of the many plantations located around Charleston, South Carolina.

If you don’t want to drive, you can purchase Boone Hall Plantation tickets with transportation from Charleston.

You can also purchase tickets to Middleton Place Plantation with transportation from Charleston. (includes lunch)!

If you want to a see a Southern mansion that looks a lot like Boone Hall Plantation, check out historic Long Branch Plantation in Virignia.

Boone Hall Plantation
1235 Long Point Rd.
Mt. Pleasant, S.C. 29464

Each general admission ticket includes the following:

  • Covered wagon tours across the entire property (as long as weather and road conditions allow)
  • Live presentations of “Exploring The Gullah Culture”
  • Guided tours of the first floor of the plantation home.
  • Black History In America Exhibit on display in nine original slave dwellings
  • History talks presented outdoors in front of historic dwellings
  • Access to outdoor gardens
  • NEW – Stable tours now available
  • Free parking

What Is Close To Boone Hall Plantation?

If you’re visiting Charleston, you don’t want to miss a tour of Fort Sumter, where the Civil War started. Tours include your ferry ride to the island and back.

Another one of my favorite Charleston plantations is Magnolia Plantation. You can purchase tickets with transportation from Charleston.

Perhaps my favorite historical site to visit in South Carolina is Hampton Plantation. Built in the 1700s, it is a true witness to history.

Another nearby plantation is Drayton Hall, which has been preserved rather than restored.

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