Hopeton-Altama Plantation, Glynn County

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Main House Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Altama Plantation House

George III of England granted 2,000 acres along the south bank of the Altamaha River to William Hopeton in 1763 and Hopeton soon set about creating the rice plantation which bore his name. So began the long modern history of this property, first known as Hopeton and now known more widely known as Altama. In 1805, the property was sold to two Scottish immigrants, John Couper and James Hamilton, who grew Sea Island cotton with hundreds of slave laborers.   Couper’s son, James Hamilton Couper, vastly improved the property after he acquired it in 1827. He built the original Altama plantation house in the Georgian style circa 1858 (its ruins may remain, per a Glynn County historic resources survey). After visiting Holland he introduced a system of dikes, canals and rails to move his rice and sugar efficiently to the river for transport into nearby Darien. Couper was perhaps Georgia’s greatest “Renaisance Man” and it’s unfortunate that he isn’t better known today outside a small group of historians. He led the survey party which mapped the Georgia-Florida border, built Christ Church in Savannah, and was the first to describe the Indigo Snake to science. He is honored eternally in its Latin name, Drymarchon couperi.

The Civil War was the death knell for Hopeton-Altama as a working plantation. In 1898 a small colony of Shakers attempted to tame the property, which was long neglected and dotted with ruins of its former glory. Their efforts to grow rice and raise cattle were unsuccessful and they abandoned the project in 1902. William Dupont bought the  adjacent Hopeton and Altama properties in 1914 and renamed the expanse Altama. Dupont wintered and trained racehorses here and built the main house (pictured in this post) based on the original plantation house. Cator Woolford bought the plantation in 1930 and built the swimming pool and “Play House”. In 1944, Alfred W. Jones scion of the Sea Island Company, acquired Altama, primarily for use as a hunting reserve. Cabins and structures supporting the sporting life were constructed in the ensuing years. With the Sea Island bankruptcy in 2010, Altama was bought by a private equity firm who planned to develop the property as homes and shops. With the help of the Nature Conservancy, the Marine Corps and private donors, the property was acquired by the state of Georgia in 2015 for future protection and management and will now serve as a publicly accessible Wildlife Management Area, part of a 120-mile corridor of protected lands stretching from Florida through the Okefenokee Swamp to Fort Stewart. It is a real conservation success story and the cooperation of state and private entities is commendable.

The photos that follow are placed in relative order to where you will see them walking over the property from the main entrance, at Highway 99 just off Interstate 95. Though not particularly historic in terms of age, most of the outbuildings have a cultural value as part of a grand 20th-century hunting plantation. The Playhouse and swimming pool, built by Cator Willford, are important in their own right, as earlier examples in the evolution of Altama.

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Hunting Cabin Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Hunting Cabin, Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Hunting Cabin Interior Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Hunting Cabin Interior, Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Work Barn Arched Door Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Barn, Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Work Barn Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Barn, Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Storage Barn Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Barn, Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Ancient Live Oak Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Ancient Oak, Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Barn Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Barn, Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Hunting Lodge Fanlight Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016The Playhouse (Side view showing fanlight), Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Lodge Swimming Pool Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vansihing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Swimming Pool, Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Backyard of Lodge Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Behind the Playhouse, Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA White Camellia Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastall Georgia USA 2016Camellias beside the Playhouse, Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Shed Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016DNR Check Station, Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Hunting Cabin Near Main House Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Guest House, Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Garage Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Garage behind Main House, Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Big House Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Main House, Altama Plantation

Altama Plantation Glynn County GA Palm Lined Drive Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanshing Coastal Georgia USA 2016Palm Lane, Altama Plantation

http://www.thebrunswicknews.com/news/local_news/altama-plantation-now-open-for-hunting/article_88fae682-ad9c-11e5-9c42-5f147344e33a.html

http://www.myajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/georgians-wildlife-will-soon-roam-on-what-tycoons-/npqfS/

https://www.glynncounty.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/9254

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Remains of Sunbury Plantation

Sunbury Plantation Entrance Arch Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

The grand two-story plantation home of Mr. & Mrs. Allen Stevens once stood at this site on the Medway River. All that remain are a few outbuildings. I’m not sure when the house was built, but there is a photograph made from this perspective in the Georgia Archives dated 1958. See it here: http://cdm.georgiaarchives.org:2011/cdm/singleitem/collection/vg2/id/9209/rec/69. I got the impression from the present owner, Allen Fillingame, that the site was never a working plantation in the historic sense and wasn’t even built until the late 1950s.

Sunbury Plantation Liberty County GA Blackbeard Creek Medway River Arch Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

From just inside the arched entryway there’s a nice view of the Medway River.

Sunbury Plantation Medway River Blackbeard Creek Beach Ship Boat Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

A beached boat, as well as a sunken barge, rest just off the property.

Sunbury Plantation Liberty County GA Creekside Landing Landscape Design Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

The entrance was quite elaborate, among the most ornamental on the coast.

Sunbury Plantation Landing Side Remains Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

The two enclosed terraces were once filled with oleander, surely a fantastic site when they were in full bloom.

Sunbury Plantation Liberty County GA View of Medway River Blackbeard Creek Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

The view of the river harkens to a time of much grander properties, more akin to those on the Mississippi River than the Georgia coast.

Sunbury Plantation Liberty County GA Front Steps Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

The front steps are all that remain of the main house.

Sunbury Plantation Garage Liberty County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

A tractor is the only thing parked in the garage today.

Sunbury Plantation Kennel Liberty County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia  USA 2016

A very nice kennel is located on the property, as well.

Sunbury Plantation Smoke House Liberty County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

A brick smokehouse is also still standing.

Sunbury Plantation Guest House Liberty County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

This simple frame structure served as the plantation’s guest house.

Sunbury Plantation Cold War Era Fallout Bomb Shelter Entrance Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

Also on the property is a Cold War-era fallout/bomb shelter.

Sunbury Plantation Cold War Era Bomb Shelter Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2016

I was unable to go inside, as it was quite wet.

 

 

 

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Gulf Station, 1930s, Midway

Gulf Station Midway GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Grady White’s garage on US 17 in Midway stays busy, so I was glad to get a shot on a Sunday. I’ve been told it dates to the 1930s and didn’t begin as a Gulf station, but I can’t confirm that.  I wish the sky had been more cooperative, but it seemed appropriate for the shot. There’s been one form or another of automotive service at this location for over 100 years. Amazing. And for many years, the station was the place to obtain the key to historic Midway Congregational Church, located just across Old Sunbury Road from the station.

Midway GA Liberty County Gulf Oil Station Neon Sign Circa 1930s Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

I can’t find a reference to the old station on the National Park Service’s nomination form for the Midway Historic District, but it probably wasn’t seen as an asset in 1973 when the form was compiled. Today, I believe it should be included in the historic district.

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Kilkenny, Circa 1845, Bryan County

Killkenny Plantation Antebellum Landmark Bryan County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Overlooking Kilkenny Creek (sometimes referred to as the Kilkenny River), Kilkenny (pronounced “Kill-Cainey”) was the 662-arcre property of Thomas Young (1733-1808) beginning around 1765. Young was the son-in-law of the property’s original owner, James Maxwell, Jr. As Thomas Young was a Loyalist, Killkenny was confiscated from him through the 1778 Acts of Attainder and sold to George Cubbedge. Intervention by Young’s friends returned the property to him, though he was prohibited from voting or holding office for 17 years.

Kilkenny Plantation Clubhouse Bryan County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Young’s executors sold Kilkenny to Charles W. Rogers in 1836; Rogers then conveyed the property to his son, the Reverend Charles W. Rogers, Jr., and secured a nearby plantation, Cottenham, for his other son, William M. Rogers. The plantation was used primarily for the production of Sea Island cotton. Little is known of the Rogers family today, though it is thought that Reverend Rogers spent very little time here. In 1850, although Rogers 125 slaves were enumerated in the census, he himself did not appear as a citizen of Bryan County. His plantation primarily produced food crops for the slaves. By 1860, the plantation was producing more cotton than any other in the county and the value of the property had increased five-fold, to $30,000. 153 slaves were enumerated in the 1860 census, but Rogers was still not listed as a citizen of Bryan County. By 1874, Kilkenny had grown to 3,500 acres and was sold to James M. Butler. From this date onward, the property changed hands five times. When acquired by James H. Furber in 1890 the Kilkenny Club was established. (Locally, and on some maps, the area is still known as Kilkenny Club or Kilkenny Fishing Camp). A prominent later owner was Tennessee governor John I. Cox, who sold it to Henry Ford in 1931. Ford restored the property around this time, and it was apparently one of his favorites.

Kilkenny Plantation Henry Ford Restoration Bryan County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

The house is unusual in this area because it’s neither Plantation Plain nor Sandhill Cottage style. The house, built with a four- over-four central hall plan, it’s weatherboarded on three sides and features vertical boards on the front. The main gable features a small widow’s walk. The most unusual feature of the house, though, is the placement of ten small vertical (eyebrow) windows between the roof eaves and the porch roof.

Kilkenny Plantation Kitchen Bryan County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

The kitchen (above photo) is among the most important remaining antebellum outbuildings on the Georgia coast. Though the exterior has been weatherboarded to match the house, the interior remains virtually untouched. Pegged beams are visible and a sleeping loft reachable by stairs ascending the chimney remains.

Kilkenny Plantation Bryan County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

An oak driveway, or alley,  is one of the most impressive features of the property, with many ancient specimens remaining.

Kilkenny GA Plantation Oak Drive Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This is the view of Kilkenny Creek looking south from Kilkenny Bluff, in front of the house.

Kilkenny River Looking South Bryan County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

http://focus.nps.gov/GetAsset?assetID=0f3e7596-94a0-444c-ba36-0a48064f3159

 

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Filed under -BRYAN COUNTY

Kilkenny Marina, Bryan County

Kilkenny Marina Bryan County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

Kilkenny Marina is small and the store quite basic but online reviews consistently compliment the friendly folks working here. And the location, at historic Kilkenny Plantation, is unbeatable.

 

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Tivoli River, Bryan County

Tivoli River Bryan County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

This is the view at the Tivoli River Fishing Pier & Kayak Launch, on Belfast-Keller Road, and it’s the first public “kayak/canoe-only launch” in Coastal Georgia. The Tivoli is an 8.9 mile-long tidal river that flows into the Belfast River, just north of that river’s terminus at the Medway River. The website paddling.net calls this a “must-paddle” destination. The fishing is generally good, too, with redfish, trout, and flounder being abundant much of the year.

http://www.paddling.net/launches/showLaunch.html?lid=18697

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Francis M. Stone House, 1818, Savannah

francis-m-stone-house-savannah-ga-columbia-square-one-of-savannahs-best-federal-style-architecture-homes-picture-image-photograph-brian-brown-vanishing-coastal-georgia-usa-2013

Savannah National Historic Landmark District

Considered one of the finest examples of Federal style architecture in Savannah, the restored Stone House is also located on idyllic Columbia Square. It is a private residence.

 

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Filed under -CHATHAM COUNTY, Savannah GA