Millford Plantation | Pinewood, SC
A Grand Affair
You will love Millford Plantation, in all its Greek revival glory. This adventure is made all the more striking because, after driving miles of dirt roads, you suddenly come upon a fabulous mansion, with its six huge fluted Corinthian columns, tall windows (to let in the summer breeze), and a domed rotunda which rivals many public buildings.
The circular staircase is a marvel, and one can only imagine descending in a lovely Parisian ball gown, on the arm of your escort from one of South Carolina’s finest families, and waltzing the night away. Yes, this plantation is the stuff of which romantic dreams are born.
This National Historic Landmark was built by John Laurence Manning, son of a governor of South Carolina (and later governor himself), and his wife, Susan Frances Hampton, a daughter of Colonel Wade Hampton, who was rumored to be the richest man in the South. They were just 22 when construction began.
Much of the original Duncan Phyfe furniture is in place, still beautifully adorning the magnificent rooms. The grounds are lovely as well, and the ongoing preservation of the plantation and its surroundings can be attributed to Richard Hampton Jenrette, who purchased it in 1992. He is one of the founders of the New York investment banking firm, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, and a collateral descendant of Susan Hampton Manning. He referred to the estate as "the Taj Mahal of my dreams.”
WOW Factor: the exterior, the interior and the wonderful stories. How did it survive the Civil War, when so many fine homes were burned? They say the architect, Nathaniel Potter, was the brother of the Northern General, Edward Potter, who arrived at the plantation just as the Civil War was ending. He left the building intact – an unintended gift for future generations of historical architecture enthusiasts. (The owner had a copy of the Articles of Secession in the house, which probably would have diminished the General’s benevolent attitude.)
Hint: Plan ahead. Millford is open the first Saturday of every month, from February to December. In April, when the gardens are at their peak, the house and grounds are open every Saturday. Gates are open from 9:30am to 3pm; guided tours of the house last about 30-45 minutes. Admission is $15/person and worth every penny. Children under 16 are free. Call 803.452.6194 to schedule a tour, or visit Classical American Homes - Millford Plantation
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