Beaufort County SC plantation for sale on the island of Saint Helena
Another historic Lowcountry plantation is on the market.
Tombee Plantation on the island of Saint Helena in Beaufort County is listed for $ 3.5 million. The 23.96 acre property is within 20 minutes of downtown Beaufort, Fripp Island and Hunting Island.
Sitting along Tombee Creek, the land overlooks neighboring St. Philips Island which was once the private island retreat of media mogul Ted Turner, but now owned by South Carolina and available for nature tours .
The main house and guest house are surrounded by holm oaks, massive pines, palm trees and century-old magnolias. The main house was originally built in the 1790s by Thomas Benjamin “Tom B.” Chaplin and is a Georgian style construction. It was one of the first residences on the island, according to the list. It sits on a tabby foundation and has a large living and dining room, modern kitchen, three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a spacious basement.
The guest house has a large room, kitchen, two bedrooms, three bathrooms and screened porches.
In front of the houses is a fireplace under a large living oak tree.
“This is truly a four-season property and a very manageable historic estate,” this listing states, noting the screened verandas and covered porches, among other features.
The plantation has a launching ramp in Station Creek that feeds the St Helena Strait and the Atlantic Ocean. The secluded waters also provide an opportunity to harvest oysters, crabs, plaice and rockfish.
The original plantation was 376 acres and a hub for shipping cotton from the Sea Islands to Charleston, using slave labor. One the report says that the plantation had 65 enslaved workers in 1790 and 25 in 1850. The same report noted that the federal government purchased the plantation in 1863 as part of the Port-Royal experience and the property was divided into plots, “much of the land belonging to the descendants of freed slaves until 1971”.
“St. Helena Island was the epicenter of emancipation and Tombee was among the first to do so,” the list says. “Tombee’s house was kept by the government and used as an agricultural school to educate the Freedmen. The over 750 square foot basement of the Big House was a local “juke joint” for the Gullah Geechee (community) for many years.
The residence is one of the few pre-war structures still standing in the Lowcountry today.
Nationally renowned restaurateur James Williams, whose life is documented in John Berendt’s book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, purchased the property and began restoring the house to its “original splendor” in the 1970s. This project and its efforts to restore other historic buildings were described in Dorothy Williams Kingery’s book “More Than Mercer House: Savannah’s Jim Williams & His Southern Houses”.
Years later the house was in need of repair and the current owners, who are also acclaimed restaurateurs, have completely renovated and restored it.
They “spared no expense to modernize and revive this special place,” the list said.