Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Saving Architectural Treasures of the Old South

“The history of each Southern plantation is a living heritage,” says Ted Alexander, regional director of Preservation North Carolina, one of the South’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting the preservation and restoration of historic homes. “While common themes and stories are interwoven through the history of plantations from the middle Atlantic states through the deep South, each one has its own personality and its own unique character. No other region of the United States can claim such cultural diversity and architectural splendor as the South. For every plantation house, or in-town planter residence that is restored a little more our collective history is preserved for future generations. And that is something that we should all treasure.” 

In the film version of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, after Atlanta has been burned and Scarlett O’Hara is fleeing to Tara, there is a scene where she arrives at neighboring Twelve Oaks Plantation to find it burned by Yankee troops and in ruins. The mansion’s once-grand double staircase is open to the night sky, and a cow appears wandering around in a space that had been a formal hall.

Afraid that she will find the same destruction when she arrives at home, Scarlett is overjoyed when rolling clouds part and moonlight falls on Tara’s facade revealing that it has survived, albeit in shambles. In real life, a similar moonlight experience revealed that one of the South’s most important historic homes was in great distress and in need of saving.

While sailing down the Potomac River on a moonlit night in 1853, South Carolinian Louisa Byrd Cunningham caught a glimpse of George Washington’s beloved Mount Vernon in a great state of disrepair. The mansion’s impressive portico was sagging and missing two of its columns. A number of its shutters had rotted away or were hanging from broken hinges, and weeds and bramble covered the lawn.


  1. These magical antebellum beauties have the capability to
    transform one back in time. I've looked at many-a-one
    and have loved them all. The North had nothing to compare.
    They are mesmerizing, mystic all in one.

    1. They are mesmerizing, mystic all in one.


  2. Hi Brock. Are you doing okay? Are you back at the beach
    house as of yet? Hope all is well.

    1. Just fine and hope you are also. I sold the beach house last year but my 4th Daughter Christine lives there. Just came back as I went to say goodbye since they were going to CA for a month. I have been thinking about going to one of her houses for a month and let the workers continue.7 months and I need a break. :)Thanks.

    2. What are the workers doing? I guess you miss going
      to your beach house. Nothing stays the same anymore.

    3. I'm been going through the place since the end of December inside and out as I did in 2002. Should be finished with the outside in about two weeks. is nice that my daughter is still there.