The Old Plantation

The area around Hilton Head has many beautiful neighborhoods of a sort you don’t see around here. These well-planned developments have wonderful landscaping and homes — and many have a gatehouse and guard at the entrance.

It’s also worth noting that  a lot of these private enclaves for the affluent have the word “plantation” in their name.

If you look up plantation in the dictionary, the top definition is that it’s a farm for cash crops — but culturally it seems like a loaded term, especially in a place like South Carolina.

I’m sure that some of these communities are located on grounds that were actually plantations in the past, and yes, I get that you probably don’t mean it as a reference to the antebellum South. I understand,  but here’s the thing: you’ve got this place where the wealthy white people live behind a gate and it’s called the plantation? It just feels a little odd.

4 thoughts on “The Old Plantation

  1. That’s my home turf (right before I moved to Mitchel Field!) . . . my grandfather was a heavy-equipment mechanic for the company that built most of the early developments on Hilton Head, so I used to ride over there in his pickup truck when there was only a two-lane highway and bridge connecting it to the mainland, and when Bluffton was just a little tiny hamlet in the middle of nowhere, and not a vast domain of golf courses and retirement communities.

    I agree about the “Plantation” bit, though. My grandmother, aunt and mother all worked at a restaurant called “The Plantation” back in the ’60s and ’70s, and even then, I didn’t quite get why that was okat. My Mom and I went to visit it a few weeks ago. It has seen better days . . .

    1. Despite my liberal northern bias, I really like it down there. I could see finding some little town within reasonable driving distance to Savannah or Charleston to spend my waning years.

      During my last trip, for my son’s boot camp graduation, I visited Beaufort National Cemetery; maybe I passed by your father’s resting place.

      I was curious while visiting if there are Confederate soldiers buried there?

  2. Technically, no, there are not any confederates buried in Beaufort National Cemetery, but like so many things, the real answer is: “It’s complicated.”

    Here’s a great article about that:

    There are a hand full of Confederate Cemeteries around South Carolina, but since the fallen didn’t have to be transported so far, they often made it back to their family plots, rather than being interred as a group together in a central cemetery, as was done with the Union dead.

    I read a really, really interesting book about this topic some years back called “This Republic of Suffering” by Drew Gilpin Faust. Fascinating history, well worth a read.

    In re my Dad’s plot, the photo on Wikipedia for Beaufort National Cemetery is one I took. He’s right under the big tree right in the middle of the photo. He’d be glad for your son’s service, and he’d be glad you took the time to visit the fallen!!

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