Rose Hill Mansion (c. 1858) is thought to be the only antebellum plantation house still standing in Beaufort County. In its heyday this was a thriving 1,880-acre rice, indigo and Sea Island cotton plantation.
Today, across an expansive lawn of live oaks dripping Spanish moss and a long white gravel drive, this beautiful house sits, rich in Southern history, European style, and fairy-tale charm.
Dr. John and Caroline Kirk began building this 10,000 square-foot Gothic Revival home in the late 1850s. However, construction was halted by the Civil War during which it was occupied by but spared destruction by Union troops because, reportedly, it resembled a church and was too beautiful to burn.
After passing through multiple ownerships, the house was finally completed in 1946. A fire in 1987 nearly destroyed the home. In 1995 Robin and Robert White bought the gutted mansion and spent the next 10 years lovingly restoring it to its glory.
Today, each room is packed with artifacts found on the property—pottery shards, a Civil War rifle, medicine bottles, uniform buttons—and family treasures donated by Kirk descendants. In addition, Rose Hill houses one of the most comprehensive arms collections in the state, including rare European weapons dating back to the 16th century and scores of Civil War period guns, swords and accouterments
The house is open daily for public tours. With one tour a day and no time limit, visitors are welcomed like houseguests. Enjoy a glass of Rose Hill’s plantation-label wine, if you like, as you follow your guide from room to room where framed memorabilia line the walls. Relax in front porch rockers or stroll about the grounds. After the tour, settle in the dining room for peach tea, lemonade and assorted cakes, pies and cheeses. Shop in the butler’s panty gift shop for local crafts. For more information, call (843) 757-6046.