South Carolina Picture Project

Japonica Hall – Society Hill, South Carolina

South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Darlington County Photos  |  Japonica Hall

This Beaux Arts-style residence in Society Hill, called Japonica Hall for the Camellia japonica planted on its grounds by owner Major James Jonathan Lucas, was completed in 1897. The house replaced an earlier one on or near the same site that had been the home of Dr. Thomas Smith. That home burned in 1892.

Japonica Hall Society Hill

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Major Lucas, a graduate from The Citadel and an artillery officer in the Civil War, served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1856 through 1862, representing Charleston. In 1861 Lucas married a woman from Society Hill, Caroline Eliza McIver, and they moved to his wife’s home town in 1865.

Japonica Hall

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The Lucases hired noted architect Charles Coker Wilson of Hartsville – responsible for the South Carolina Statehouse – and his partner, William Augustus Edwards of Darlington, to design their two-and-a-half story manse. In fact, Japonica Hall is one of Wilson’s earliest extant designs in the South Carolina and may be his earliest residential design in the state.

Japonica Hall Darlington County

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Once established in Society Hill, Lucas achieved success as director of the Atlantic Coastline Railroad Company when it was established in 1898 as well as the Cheraw and Darlington Railroad. Lucas, a horticulturalist, also belonged to the Darlington County Agricultural Society, which met at a mineral spring in the neighboring town of Darlington. Lucas’s interest in agriculture was evident in the plantings on his home estate as well as his local vineyards and winery.

Japonica Hall Marker

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Japonica Hall later became the residence of Lucas’s son, Captain Thomas Smith Lucas, who owned it until his death in 1939.

Japonica Hall Marker Back

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Japonica Hall is listed in the National Register, which says the following:

(Maj. J.J. Lucas House) Japonica Hall was built in 1896-97 for Major James Jonathan Lucas, a prominent local railroad builder and businessman. Lucas, who represented Charleston in the state House of Representatives from 1856-1862, and was a prominent Confederate artillery officer in the defense of Charleston during the Civil War, settled in Society Hill in 1865. This two-and-one-half story over basement brick residence is significant architecturally as an important early residential design of Charles Coker Wilson and William Augustus Edwards, noted South Carolina architects. Its primary significance, however, is as an academic expression of turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts or eclectic classicism.

Reminiscent of Italian Renaissance palazzos, Japonica Hall features a rusticated first story and a second story emulating a piano nobile with paired pilasters demarking the bays on the second story. The first and second stories are separated by a molded brick band. The cornice is composed of overhanging molding supported by modillions above a denticulated brick course. The projecting hipped-roof central entrance bay has a double door entry with flanking fluted pilasters, sidelights and transom-lights on the first floor, and double glass paneled doors with semi-circular transom-light, a rusticated surround and small flanking windows on the upper floor. A one-story Tuscan veranda is accessed by a wide stair. The four chimneys have corbeled stacks and the hipped roof features finials at the termination of roof ridges.

Japonica Hall Info

Address: South Main Street, Society Hill, SC 29593
GPS Coordinates: 34.505417,-79.859373

Japonica Hall Map

Japonica Hall – Add Info and More Photos

The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Japonica Hall, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!

Please Comment Below

The South Carolina Picture Project is a volunteer project which earns no profit. We work hard to ensure its accuracy, but if you see a mistake, please know that it is not intentional and that we are more than happy to update our information if it is incorrect. That said, our goal is to create something positive for our state, so please make your comments constructive if you would like them to be published. Thank you!

One Comment about Japonica Hall

Christina M. McLeod says:
September 25th, 2015 at 6:13 pm

So this is the infamous Japonica Hall…Wow!

Related Entries

Mills-Mack House

Ruth Patrick Science Center
USC Aiken

McWhirter House
McWhirter House

Dew Homestead Conway

Southern Methodist College

Gilbert Clayton House

Frampton House James Island
H.W. Frampton House
James Island

Durham House Marion

Appleby House
Appleby House
St. George


Join Us on Facebook
Our 5 Goals
Our Contributors
Add Info
Add Pictures
Search for Pictures
Missing Landmarks


Abbeville ACE Basin Aiken Allendale Anderson Awendaw Bamberg Barns & Farms Barnwell Beaches Beaufort Beech Island Belton Bennettsville Bishopville Blackville Bluffton Bridges Bygone Landmarks Camden Carnegie Libraries Cemeteries Charleston Charleston Navy Base Cheraw Chester Churches Clemson Clinton Clio Colleges Columbia Conway Courthouses Darlington Denmark Dillon Donalds Easley Edgefield Edisto Elloree Fairfax Florence Folly Beach Forests and Nature Preserves Gaffney Garden City Beach Georgetown Glenn Springs Graniteville Greeleyville Greenville Greenwood Greer Hamburg Hampton Hartsville Hemingway Hilton Head Historical Photos Historic Houses Honea Path Hopkins Hunting Island Isle of Palms Jails James Island Johns Island Johnsonville Johnston Kiawah Island Kingstree Lake City Lake Marion Lakes Lancaster Landrum Latta Laurens Lexington Libraries Lighthouses Little River Manning Marion McClellanville McCormick Military Mills Moncks Corner Mountains Mount Carmel Mount Pleasant Mullins Murrells Inlet Myrtle Beach National Register Newberry Ninety Six North Augusta North Charleston North Myrtle Beach Orangeburg Parks Pawleys Island Pendleton Pickens Piers Pinopolis Plantations Port Royal Post Offices Ravenel Restaurants Ridgeway Rivers Roadside Oddities Robert Mills Rock Hill Rockville Rosenwald Schools Salters Saluda Savannah River Site SC Artists SC Heroes of the Alamo Schools Seneca Shrimp Boats Society Hill Spartanburg Sports Springs St. George St. Helena Island St. Matthews Stores Sullivan's Island Summerton Summerville Sumter Synagogues Town Clocks Trains & Depots Trees Trenton Turbeville Ulmer Union Wadmalaw Island Walhalla Walterboro Waterfalls Water Towers West Columbia Westminster Winnsboro Yemassee York

© 2016, LLC All rights reserved.