Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Main House Antebellum Vernacular Architecture Old Days Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Hofwyl House, Circa 1851

In 1806, Charleston merchant William Brailsford purchased the “Broadface” property on the Altamaha River between Darien and Brunswick and set about creating one of the most prosperous rice plantations in 19th-century Georgia. He renamed it Broadfield. Upon his death, it passed to his son-in-law Dr. James M. Troup, brother of Governor George Troup. When Dr. Troup died, in 1849, Broadfield included 7300 acres and a community of 357 slaves. Around 1851, Troup’s daughter, Ophelia, and her husband George Dent built the plantation house still standing today and christened it Hofwyl House, after a school Dent attended in Switzerland.

After the Civil War, mounting taxes led to the selling of most of the original lands and by the 1880s when George & Ophelia’s son James took over management of the plantation, Broadfield’s dominance was over. Rice was cultivated until 1913, but without slaves to make up a cheap labor force, it was hardly a profitable venture. When James died in 1913, his son Gratz established a dairy on the site, which was operated until 1942 by his sisters Miriam and Ophelia Dent. When Ophelia died in 1973, she left the house and grounds to the state of Georgia. Unlike most historic homes, Hofwyl House retains the original family antiques and possessions of the Brailsford, Troup and Dent families from five generations.

Hofwyl House Rice Plantation Rear View Wisteria Arbor Glynn County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

The rear of the house features a wisteria arbor along the back porch, as well as an attached kitchen.

Hofwyl House Rice Plantation Attached Kitchen Live Oak Tree Spanish Moss Glynn County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Interior Views of Hofwyl House

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Entryway Door Doorway Fanlight Palladian Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

The entryway is highlighted by a Palladian fanlight over the main door.

Hofwyl House Glynn County GA Antebellum Rice Plantation Dining Room Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

A dining room is located to the right and a parlor to the left.

Hofwyl House Glynn County GA Antebellum Landmark Architecture Parlor Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Bedrooms are located upstairs, arranged around a large open hallway.

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Second Floor Landing Hallway Wardrobe Chaise Lounge Attic Ladder Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Master Bedroom Study Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Second Floor Bedroom Canopy Bed Chaise Lounge Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Second Floor Guest Bedroom  Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Interior Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Dairy & Outbuildings

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Dairy Barn Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

The open-air dairy barn is where a herd of around 35 Jersey and Guernsey cows were milked daily. Just next door is the bottling house, where milk was produced for customers in Glynn and McIntosh counties.

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Dairy Bottling House Board and Batten Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Dairy Bottling House Board and Batten Architecture Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Dairy Bottling House Interior Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Dairy Bottling House Gas Refrigerator Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Central to any plantation operation was the commissary, where laborers were given credit for necessities and staples, though much of their income went to repaying debts incurred here.

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Commissary Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Commissary Interior Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Servants were housed in a basic “cabin” like the one seen below. Furnishings were spartan and utilitarian.

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Servant Quarters Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Servant Quarters Bedroom Chenille Spread Chamber Pot Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Servant Quarters Parlor Wicker Chair Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

The pay shed served an obvious and important purpose.

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Pay Shed Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Ruins of the Broadfield Rice Mill

Tabby Ruins of the Broadfield Rice Mill Glynn County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

The marshes of the Altamaha River delta at Broadfield Plantation are very similar in appearance today to what they were in the early 19th-century. These tabby ruins are all that remain of a once thriving rice mill.

Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Rice Field Atlantic Coastal Marsh Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Trees of Broadfield Plantation

While Hofwyl House and its related outbuildings are a significant resource, the real attraction for many is the large number of Live Oaks (Quercus virginiana) located all over the property. Some are estimated to be between 500-800 years old and two are members of the Louisiana Live Oak Hall of Fame.

Live Oak Tree Growing Sideways Grove Canopy Spanish Moss Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

As is common with many Live Oaks on the coast, several appear to have been uprooted but continue to live and prosper nonetheless.

Fallen Live Oak Tree Alive Spanish Moss Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

The grove of oaks leading into the property is a landmark in its own right.

Live Oak Trees Grove Canopy Spanish Moss Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Glynn County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Two state champion trees of other varieties are to be found on the grounds, as well, including this Toothache Tree (Zanthoxylum clava) or Hercules-club, located beside the pay shed.

Hercules Club Toothache Tree Zanthoxylum clava State Champion Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georia USA 2014

Hercules Club Toothache Tree Zanthoxylum clava State Champion Pay Shed Hofwyl Broadfield Plantation Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georia USA 2014

The largest Sweetbay Magnolia known in the state is located near the rice fields but I was unable to get a good photograph of it.

For more about the plantation:

http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/hofwyl-broadfield-plantation

Broadfield, Georgia

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7 Comments

Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Broadfield GA

7 responses to “Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation

  1. Pingback: Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation, Glynn County | Vanishing South Georgia Photographs by Brian Brown

  2. Peggy Anderson

    Wonderful photographs. I am going to have to plan a trip to see all these in person. Thanks for sharing.

  3. As an antiques dealer for the past 35 years, I am delighted to see items in their original setting. Thanks for your work !!

  4. tarobinsonsr

    Another good , visual history lesson, Brian. Many thanks!

  5. I would love to know more about that slave cabin on the site. http://www.slavedwellingproject.org

  6. I have been to Hofwyl-Broadfield plantation and I recommend it to everyone. For some reason we never got to go inside, so I still want to go back, but the grounds and outbuildings are worth the trip. I remember seeing Miss Ophelia’s old green car in the garage when I went. I doubt that it remains–it’s been a while.

  7. tootybee

    Stunning trees. It’s worth going back just to see those. Great photos as usual!

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