Rankin-Harwell House – Mars Bluff, South Carolina
South Carolina | SC Picture Project | Florence County Photos | Rankin-Harwell House
The Rankin-Harwell House is located in Mars Bluff, a small, unincorporated community in Florence County. Built in 1857, the home was designed in the popular Greek Revival style and is considered to be one of the finest examples of antebellum architecture in South Carolina.
The original owner, William Rogers Johnson, was a successful physician, planter, and legislator who later served in the South Carolina House of Representatives and the South Carolina Senate.
When Walter Rankin acquired the house in 1902, his wife quickly dubbed it “The Columns” in honor of its 22 freestanding Doric columns. The home served as a model for the 1934 film Carolina, giving it another nickname, “Carolina Hall.”
The Rankin-Harwell House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which describes it as follows:
Built in 1857, the Rankin-Harwell House is an outstanding example of the Greek Revival, which was fairly prevalent in the antebellum South. The house has 22 giant order Doric columns, strict symmetry, and a painted white façade. The twenty-two freestanding Doric columns are brick covered with stucco and surround the house on three sides. The two-story frame structure rests on a raised basement. The façade has five bays. Two 6/6 double sash windows flank the entrance, which is a double doorway with transom and sidelights. Low-pitched hipped roof covers the house and portico. Two interior brick chimneys are painted white.
William Rogers Johnson, original owner of the house, represented Marion District in both the South Carolina House of Representatives (1852-1856) and in the South Carolina Senate (1860-1864). He participated in the Southern Rights Convention of 1852 and, continuing his political activity in the post-war period, served as a member of the Second Taxpayers Convention. Johnson also practiced the professions of physician and planter; he lived at the house from its construction in 1857 until his death thirty-six years later. Corresponding to the image of the antebellum southern home, the Rankin-Harwell House served as a model for the setting of the 1934 movie “Carolina.”
Address: 5001 Rankin Plantation Road (Off East Old Marion Highway), Mars Bluff, SC 29506