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 Columns at Mars Bluff

Ann Helms of Spartanburg © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

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.”

Rankin-Harwell House Info

Address: 5001 Rankin Plantation Road (Off East Old Marion Highway), Mars Bluff, SC 29506
Website: https://www.facebook.com/TheColumnsPlantation

Rankin-Harwell House Map

Rankin-Harwell House – 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 Rankin-Harwell House, 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!

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5 Comments about Rankin-Harwell House

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
September 5th, 2014 at 8:18 am

Hi, Ashleigh! Check the Facebook site listed above the map. Hopefully, that will lead you to someone connected with the home and who can answer your questions. It is beautiful, indeed! Best of luck!

Ashleigh StephensNo Gravatar says:
September 5th, 2014 at 6:33 am

Need wedding info and prices, please. Your home is beautiful. I am looking for a wedding venue in Oct of 2015.

Deborah JarrettNo Gravatar says:
February 4th, 2014 at 10:43 am

My descendants include the Harvell/Harwell family of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. I have a photograph of my grandmother, Sarah “Sallie” Elizabeth Harvell, born 1883, and I believe she is standing beside the columns in this house. Do you have any ancestral knowledge of Sarah/Sallie? I hope that my family can visit the Rankin-Harwell House this Spring, it is so beautiful!

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
October 4th, 2011 at 10:28 am

Hi Debra! You can contact Kay Floyd at
843-662-6350 for information on booking tours of the Rankin-Harwell House. Check out their Facebook page for more information:


Hope this helps!

Debra CampNo Gravatar says:
October 3rd, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Do they have tours of the house? I would love to see the house and grounds.


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