Rose Hill Plantation

1832 –

The plantation, built and worked by hundreds of slaves, consisted of more than eight thousand acres in 1860.

(Union County). Rose Hill Plantation was the home of South Carolina governor William Henry Gist. A wealthy upcountry cotton planter, Gist is best remembered as one of the South’s “fire-eaters,” a group of antebellum politicians who actively sought secession.

Constructed between 1828 and 1832, the Gist mansion at Rose Hill is a large but simple house with a symmetrical plan and solid masonry walls. Federal-style fanlights, slender fluted columns flanking entries and hearths, delicate carved rope molding, and a graceful curving staircase combine to create “more refined ornamentation than usual in upcountry houses of the period.” The two-story front and rear classical porticoes and stucco cladding were added later, possibly around 1860. During a 1940s restoration, owner Clyde Franks added the square columns on the porticoes. Franks also created the majority of the formal rose gardens that surround the house, though the surrounding wall, ironwork, magnolias, and some of the boxwood hedges may date to the nineteenth century. No slave quarters from the plantation survived, though a historic kitchen building and several reconstructed outbuildings were extant in the early twenty-first century.

The plantation, built and worked by hundreds of slaves, consisted of more than eight thousand acres in 1860. Following Gist’s death in 1874, his wife, Mary E. Gist, managed the property until 1889. By the 1930s the house had seriously deteriorated. Concerned citizens purchased the former plantation in the hopes of preserving it as a Confederate shrine. In 1960 the state of South Carolina purchased the property and opened it to the public as a state historic site.

Bell, Daniel J. “Interpretive Booklets for Local Historic Sites: Rose Hill State Park, Union, South Carolina: As a Model.” Master’s thesis, University of South Carolina, 1983.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Rose Hill Plantation
  • Coverage 1832 –
  • Author
  • Keywords home of South Carolina governor William Henry Gist, consisted of more than eight thousand acres in 1860, 1960 the state of South Carolina purchased the property and opened it to the public as a state historic site
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date October 6, 2022
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update August 23, 2022
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