Here are some photos from a recent marker unveiling at Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet. The National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century, Chicora Chapter sponsored the marker and pictured below are Mary Duvall (President, S.C. Society Colonial Dames XVII), Bonnie O’Lena (Chicora Chapter President), Bob Jewell (Brookgreen President and CEO) and Brenda Hamilton (National Marking and Preservation Chairman Colonial Dames XVII). Thanks to all who helped make the marker possible!
The land that comprises Brookgreen Gardens once encompassed most or all of four separate rice plantations: The Oaks, Springfield, Laurel Hill, and Brookgreen. Title to this land can be traced to a patent for 48,000 acres granted to Robert Daniell by the Lords Proprietors in 1711. The property passed into the hands of the Allston family when William Allston (1698-1744) purchased it c. 1740. William Allston Jr. (1738-1781), the nephew of the elder William, purchased the property from Allston’s heirs in 1764 and developed the property as his home plantation. By 1799 title to the property had transferred to Joshua Ward. Ward’s son, Joshua John Ward, was born at Brookgreen and would become among the wealthiest planters in the nation. In 1850 Ward’s plantations, including Brookgreen, yielded 3,900,000 pounds of rice on land cultivated by 1,092 enslaved laborers.
In 1920 Dr. Julius A. Mood and a group of sportsmen acquired the property for use as a hunting preserve. Ten years later railroad magnate Archer Milton Huntington and his wife, sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, purchased Brookgreen. The Huntington’s built Atalaya, a Spanish-style castle, at what is now Huntington Beach State Park as their primary residence and transformed the former Brookgreen plantation into a sculpture garden to display the work of Anna Hyatt Huntington, as well as other representative pieces of American sculpture from the 19th and 20th centuries.