854 Arcadia Plantation Drive
City Directories and History: (Prospect Hill Plantation) The history of Arcadia Plantation dates from the 18th century when it was known as Prospect Hill and was the seat of a large productive rice plantation. Prospect Hill was one of many Georgetown County rice plantations which together eventually led the nation in rice production. Arcadia is also significant as having been the residence of three families—the Allstons, Hugers, and Wards—who were actively involved in the political and social affairs of the state. Prospect Hill became “Arcadia” ca. 1906 when Dr. Isaac E. Emerson bought the property and added several neighboring plantations to his holdings.
The main portion of the house was built ca. 1794 (Federal period) as a two-story clapboard structure set upon a raised brick basement. Arcadia is noted in the nomination as a late example of the Georgian style as influenced by Palladio, with Adamesque interior embellishments. The two flanking wings were added in the early twentieth century. A series of terraced gardens extend from the front of the house toward the Waccamaw River. Evidence indicates that the gardens at Prospect Hill were begun between ca. 1794 and ca. 1837. Near the rear of the house is a large two-story guest house (ca. 1910). Also located at the rear are tennis courts, a bowling alley, and stables constructed of brick from demolished plantation houses in the area. To the north of the house are five tenant houses and a frame church which also has been brick veneered. The property also contains two cemeteries and other plantation-related outbuildings. Listed in the National Register January 13, 1978. [Courtesy of the SC Dept. of Archives and History]
Arcadia plantation on lower Waccamaw encompasses eight former plantations, amounting to almost 20,000 acres of land and including vast stretches of forests and marshland. The place was used chiefly as a hunting preserve by Dr. Isaac E. Emerson of Baltimore, who, after his purchases in the early 1900s, gave his accumulation of individual properties the one name of Arcadia. This name comes from the Arcadia region of Greece, since ancient times noted for its peaceful, pastoral countryside inhabited by shepherds and hunters. The central, mountainous Arcadia district is mentioned often in Greek mythology. Main seat of the present Arcadia estate on Waccamaw is the original house of old Prospect Hill plantation, so named, one would conclude, because the land offered prospects of provable rice crops and a good life. There is another Prospect Hill plantation, located on the south side of Winyah Bay. One of the eight former plantations now part of Arcadia is called Forlorn Hope. An old Allston place, this plantation arouses curious speculation as to the reasons behind such a name. The property apparently was named by John Allston, the first owner, who saw military service in the Revolution. Since “forlorn hope” in military terminology means a lost band, troop or a group of men selected for perilous service— hence, an almost hopeless undertaking, Allston could have chosen the name in recollection of his fighting days and, too, because it was a hopeless task to transform the property into a money-making plantation. In that case, the name of Forlorn Hope is appropriate. Present owner of all these tracts called Arcadia is Dr. Emerson’s grandson, George Vanderbilt.
Bannockburn plantation, now part of the Arcadia estate. Originally called Crowfield, tradition says, for the Middleton home in England, this plantation was at one time the home of John Izard Middleton. Under the ownership of John Alston, it was known as Bannockburn, so named for the Scottish setting of stream and woods where Robert the Bruce defeated die forces of English King Edward II in 1314. (Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC)
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IMAGE GALLERY via photographer Bill Segars – 2006
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