181 Redcliffe Rd., Beech Island, South Carolina
Before the Civil War started, South Carolina’s outspoken senator James Henry Hammond famously declared, “Cotton is King!” in a fiery speech in the halls of the U.S. Senate. A successful cotton plantation owner, Hammond completed his family’s Greek Revival mansion in 1859. Interpreter-led programs on this picturesque 369-acre estate help visitors experience gracious and elegant Southern living on a 19th-century antebellum plantation. Magnolias, now almost a century-and-a-half old, still line a long entranceway that cuts across the expansive front lawn. The view from the top floor of the house is of the Savannah River below and the city of Augusta in the distance. Visitors can relax in the breezes that sweep across the wide veranda and tour the garden, aromatic with heirloom plants. Tours also focus on the site’s African-American history, including a visit to the preserved slave quarters, also on the grounds.
Park and museum open year-round Thurs.–Mon. Admission charged for mansion tours.