Hampton Plantation – Charleston, South Carolina
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Hampton Plantation sits along the Wambaw Creek in McClellanville, inviting visitors in to wander its sprawling grounds. Once a wealthy rice plantation, it is now an interpretive site where people can learn about the history of slavery and rice.
Many prominent South Carolina families have lived at Hampton Plantation, including the Horrys, Pinckneys, and Rutledges. President George Washington even visited the plantation in 1791, which is how the great “Washington Oak” in front of the house received its name.
Today, the plantation is perhaps best known for having been the home of noted South Carolina author Archibald Rutledge.
Washington Oak – Hampton Plantation
The famous Washington Oak stands on the grounds of Hampton Plantation. According to legend, the tree received its name when Eliza Pinckney Horry asked President Washington whether she should have the tree removed. She was concerned that it blocked the view from the house. Washington told her she should leave the tree, and thus it remains today.
Over time, the oak has grown to be a beautiful, massive tree. Now, instead of blocking the view, it is the view!
Reflections on the Washington Oak
Katherine writes, “I took advantage of the cooler weather today to paint “en plein air” (on location) at Hampton Plantation State Historical Site. The magnificent Washington Oak framing the plantation house’s stately front portico with moss draped branches is the subject I chose to paint this afternoon. The tree is said to have been saved from being cut down to provide a better view from the newly built front portico by President George Washington during his visit to Hampton Plantation in 1791.
“Now a mighty live oak, the tree was named in his honor. The lengthening evening shadows falling through the tree’s branches and across the front lawn create an interesting value contrast in my plein air painting of Hampton Plantation, the stately home of South Carolina’s first poet laureate, Archibald Rutledge.”
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