History is Preserved at Frampton Plantation House

A step back in time, just off I-95
Exterior view of Frampton Plantation House
Frampton Plantation House awaits your visit today. Conveniently located on Highway 17, just off I-95, Exit 33. Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Historically speaking, the “Frampton House” property was part of an original King’s Grant to the Frampton family in the 1700s. The family oversaw the production of 4,000 acres, which were used for growing cotton, rice, and other crops. During the 1865 Campaign of the Carolinas, General Sherman’s troops marched from Savannah to Columbia. Along the way, they burned the plantation house and all the farm buildings that stood on this site.

Live Oak tree on the grounds of the Frampton House
The magnificent live oak as seen in 1993. Photo by Jim Wescott.

As a delegate of the 1860 SC Convention John Frampton signed the Ordinance of Succession, pulling the state out of the Union.  In 1868, just after the war, he built the current farmhouse on the property and continued to work the land. It is probable that the farm operated with sharecropping and tenant farming.

Oak tree on the grounds of the Frampton Plantation House
The mighty oak was dated to between 250 and 300 years old in 1993. Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Major renovations were made to the old house around 1930, including adding indoor plumbing and electrical wiring. At the same time sheetrock replaced the old lath and plaster walls. The property remained in the Frampton family until the 1940s.

Exterior view of the Frampton House during the Campbell years
Frampton House during the Campbell years.
Photo loaned by Kate Campbell.

The house was sold to the Campbell family, who lived here for many years. They renovated the house and removed the second story porch which was unsafe. A room and bathroom were added to the back of the second story.

Exterior view of the Frampton Plantation House highlighting the second story addition
The second story addition can be seen in this 1993 image taken by Jim Wescott.

According to Arthur Campbell, “My family and I lived in this house during the time hurricane Gracie hit in September 1959 – one of only three category 4 hurricanes to hit in one hundred and sixty-five years.

The old house shook on her foundation with doors and windows rattling, wind howling but alas she held true.

My father had the shutters closed but we could still see well enough out to see a huge cedar tree being thrown across the yard and past the house.

It was a direct hit and I remember being allowed to walk out in the yard and see the blue skies above during the eye of the hurricane. Myself and four siblings were hustled back in the house when the backside of the hurricane struck with enormous intensity.

I was just six years old and I shall never forget…”

Picture of felled damaged live oaks removed from the grounds after Hurricane Gracie
Damaged live oaks were removed after Hurricane Gracie. Photo loaned by Kate Campbell.

Charles Frazer and the Sea Pines Company purchased the house in 1970 and used it as a point of sale for his Hilton Head development. More renovations were made at this time. New wiring and central heat and air were installed. In 1974 the house was once again sold to Wyman Boozer, a Columbia developer. It fell into disrepair and was slated to be demolished. There was even talk of bulldozing the house and surrounding oaks to make way for an interstate truck stop.

Exterior view of the back of the Frampton Plantation House
The back of the house had a porch which is now restrooms for the visitors center. Photo by Jim Wescott

In December of 1993, the house and four acres were kindly donated to the Lowcountry Tourism Commission for the creation of the Lowcountry Visitor’s Center and Museum. This assured the restoration of the old farmhouse.

View of the interior of the Frampton Plantation House decorated for Christmas in the 1950s
The central hall decorated for Christmas during the 1950s.
Photo loaned by Kate Campbell.
Interior view of the Frampton
The downstairs central hallway before the addition of restrooms in 1993.
Photo by Jim Wescott.

The preservation of the magnificent old oaks that frame the building and the Civil War earthworks in the backyard (erected by Robert E. Lee’s troops in defense of the important railroad supply line for the Confederacy from Savannah to Charleston) were also guaranteed.

Picture of the Frampton Plantation House before undergoing renovations in 1993.
The house as it looked after the 1993 renovations were underway.
Photo by Jim Wescott.

Major renovations were done to the Frampton House which prepared it for a new life. The Lowcountry & Resort Islands Tourism Commission offices are upstairs, and the downstairs serves as the Lowcountry Visitor’s Center and Museum. The rooms also contain historic displays and representations from Lowcountry museums.

Exterior view of Frampton Plantation House showing the porch that was added during renovations.
The original back porch was enclosed to contain restrooms. A new porch now extends across the rear of the house.
Exterior view of Frampton Plantation House as it is today.
Frampton House has been preserved for visitors to explore and enjoy. Photo by Carmen Pinckney.

Frampton Plantation House is open to the public seven days a week, from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Come see us for all your travel questions and SC Lowcountry information.