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A Triumph for Edisto’s Heritage

We have wonderful news to share!  The $275,000 fundraising goal to fully restore the remainder of the Hutchinson House has been met!  One hundred and fifteen (115) donors came forward to help us reach our challenge match last winter, which got us up to $75,000.  That was a huge accomplishment, but then something even more amazing happened.  We received an anonymous $200,000 donation from an individual who wanted to ensure that we reached our total goal as soon as possible, in order to finish this amazing and important project.

This incredible support is humbling, justifying, and probably should have been anticipated, understanding the passion so many of you have to see this national treasure on Edisto come back to life.  We are truly grateful.  By pairing this $275,000 with the funding from the National Parks Service African American Civil Rights grant awarded to us last year, we have begun the process required to preserve, restore and replicate all aspects of the house as it stood the day Henry carried his bride Rosa over the threshold.

Our amazing team consisting of a Preservation Historian, Architectural Conservator, Structural Engineer, and Architectural firm are all working diligently with our staff and board to compile all the research, develop the preservation plan and complete the structural drawings this spring.   Then we will hand the information off to a preservation contractor to begin the work, as early as this summer.

The Hutchinson House continues to experience one triumph after another.  These recent donations are a stunning example of a shared vision and passion to see this heritage site come back to life for the betterment of everyone who will come in contact with it.

Stay tuned for more details and be sure to follow the progress in person or online at edisto.org.  Next up we will be establishing an endowment campaign to ensure funds will be available in perpetuity for annual maintenance and management.

Trail Around the Property Now Open

A trail around a portion of the Hutchinson House grounds is now open to the public. Once we have raised the money and are able to complete phase two, we will open the entire site to the public. Our goal is to use the house and site to share the story of how the land shaped so many lives on Edisto from the first land grant on the island in 1683, that included this property.

Stewarding the Hutchinson’s Land

As a land trust, our primary goal is to preserve the ecological and agricultural integrity of the lands of Edisto Island and its surrounding coastal communities. To this end we must steward the land we own and the Hutchinson House is no exception. In fact, the Hutchinson House is the site of our most intense stewardship work. Because the property is publicly accessible, we have implemented many habitat improvement activities so we can interpret their importance to visitors.

Our environmental interpretation of the site compliments our historical interpretation to educate visitors on not just the importance of preserving our history as Edistonians but also our natural environment. Bluebird nestboxes, bat boxes, pollinator gardens, wildflower meadows, and a demonstration Sea Island Cotton plot provide us centerpieces to articulate the significance of protecting the land we steward.

Sea Island Cotton

As part of both our historical and environmental interpretation of the property, EIOLT maintains a small plot of Sea Island Cotton for demonstration. Henry Hutchinson made his living and based his entrepreneurial business on producing, processing, and selling Sea Island Cotton for the Charleston market. He planted his own lands in cotton and ginned cotton for his neighbors. Henry’s cotton gin was built inside the Clark Manor’s old cotton house, which Henry refurbished. A cotton house was a special two or three story outbuilding on a plantation that housed all of the cotton processing facilities. Here cotton from the field was dried, cleaned, ginned, cleaned again, and then packed in bales to be shipped to market. Henry is believed to have owned and operated a steam-powered McCarthy Gin in his cotton house, an expensive and modern machine for the time that could quickly handle massive amounts of cotton with few laborers. Henry acted as a middleman, handling the processing and shipping of the cotton and distributing the profits accordingly. Our demonstration Sea Island Cotton plot gives us a living exhibit to interpret this important facet of the Hutchinson’s history to visitors.

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