Tag: southern

Butler Island Plantation Ruins – Darien, Georgia

Butler Island Plantation

The Butler Island Plantation are located just south of Darien, on what is now US Highway 17. The site is owned by The Nature Conservancy, and the land is open for picnicking, fishing and birding.

This was once one of the largest plantations in the South. The story of the plantation and former owners is an interesting one that began in the 1790s with Major Pierce Butler, an officer of the American Revolution who helped to draft the U.S. Constitution. Butler planted rice on his land on the Altamaha Delta. The marshlands and surrounding area provided perfect conditions for growing rice which led to a wealthy Southern enterprise.

When Major Butler died in 1822, the Butler Island Plantation passed to his grandson, Captain Pierce Butler. He was married to the noted English actress and writer Fanny Kemble who became a major advocate for the slaves on the plantation. She deplored the living conditions of the slaves on the farm and complained to her husband about the horrible treatment of the slaves by his manager, Roswell King, Jr. Kemble became an advocate for the abolition of slavery which created ongoing tensions with her plantation-owner husband. He threatened to take her daughters away from her if she published her views about slavery. Following their divorce, and after her daughters were grown, Kemble published her Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation.

At the time her book was published, Great Britain was considering the possibility of intervening in the Civil War, on behalf of the South. Kemble’s book is credited with persuading the British to oppose slavery and ending any possibility of the British joining the Confederacy’s fight during the Civil War.

(Source: Explore Southern History)

Thomas Wolfe Memorial – Asheville, North Carolina

Thomas Wolfe Memorial

Thomas Wolfe, an Asheville native, reached international fame after his first full length novel, Look Homeward, Angel, was published in 1929.  There are many incidents in the book that reference his mother’s boardinghouse that was known around town as “Old Kentucky Home”.  In the book, he referred to it as “Dixieland”.  The Victorian home was constructed in 1883.

Wolfe’s vivid references to Asheville and his “Old Kentucky Home” led to Look Homeward, Angel being banned from public libraries in Asheville for seven years. Time heals all wounds and Wolfe is now honored as one of the city’s most famous sons and the “Old Kentucky Home” is a well preserved memorial and museum that honors one of the giants of 20th century literature.  Asheville is a lovely city with such a diverse history. If you’re ever passing through I highly encourage you to make the time to visit the “Old Kentucky Home” and take a tour.

Anytime I visit Asheville I stop by my favorite local coffee shop, Izzy’s Coffee Den, and I grab a coffee to go. Then, I head over to Tom’s place at 48 Spruce Street to pay my respects and sit in a rocking chair on the front porch and have a cup of coffee. If you ever come here, I recommend you do this after the tourist center closes and it’s quiet and peaceful. And if you’re looking for some great books to add to your reading list, add one of Wolfe’s four novels to your list:

Christ Episcopal – Church Hill, Mississippi

Church Episcopal Church

If you’re up for a road trip that truly takes you down some beautiful back roads in Mississippi, have I got the road trip for you!

About 18 miles north of Natchez, on Hwy 553 at Church Hill Fork, you’ll find the rural community of Church Hill. The area is named after Christ Episcopal Church which sits atop a hill. This stunning Gothic Revival church made of stone is the oldest Episcopal Church in Mississippi.
As for the rest of the town, only a few buildings remain including a historic grocery store that closed in the ’90s. It’s worth the drive to see this church and explore the grounds.

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

Today is National Thomas Jefferson Day so I had to share a Monticello snap. What you don’t see in the photo is the line of people that stand behind the beautiful gardens that line Monticello to get a photo of the house and flowers.

Monticello is a historic treasure. It’s worth the time and money to visit, even if you think you already know Thomas Jefferson. I had read so much about his life but seeing his architectural dream that he brought to life is inspiring.  Jefferson dedicated his adult life to designing and redesigning Monticello. His dedication to detail and willingness to tear some things apart and start over again to make it better, remind you that you can do the same thing with your life.

Springtime reminds you that dreams are worth dreaming and you should continue to pursue them, even when obstacles stand in your way. You just may build something beautiful!

 

Old Sheldon Church Ruins – South Carolina

Old Sheldon Church Ruins

The beautiful and haunting Old Sheldon Church ruins. The pre-existing building was originally known as Prince William’s Parish Church, built between 1745 and 1753. But Prince William Parish Church was to be a casualty of not one war, but two. First, the Revolutionary War, when British troops burned down the church as well as the plantations around it. The church was rebuilt (and renamed Sheldon Church) in 1826. Forty years later it would be caught up in the Civil War. Markers on the church today will tell you that Sherman’s men burned down the church, but some historians think that the building was looted by locals, who tore out the interiors and stole materials so that they could rebuild the homes and communities destroyed by Sherman’s armies.

What is old has been made new by visitors who come here to roam the grounds and see these ruins that continue to stand the test of time.

St. Philip Catholic Church – Vacherie, Louisiana

St. Phillip Catholic Church

Some of my favorite pictures have been taken thanks to “I pulled over for this” moments. I’m sure you’ve had that moment when you’ve been on the road. You pass by something fascinating or beautiful and you make the call to delay your trip, get off the road and capture and embrace the moment. That’s what happened when I was on a road trip along the Great River Road in Louisiana.

We had visited a few plantations and were trying to find a restaurant for lunch and as we were driving we passed this church. I looked at her and she looked at me and we knew we just had to pull over and see this beauty, St. Philip Catholic Church, right as a storm was moving in. I was thankful to be able to get a few photos before the rain came down.

Shiloh Battlefield – Shiloh, Tennessee

Shiloh National Military Park

Shiloh National Military Park in Shiloh, Tennessee is one of the most expansive and well preserved civil war battlefields in the country.  This battlefield, and the Union victory here, was important to the Civil War. But considering what unfolded here 155 years ago, you may just feel the echoes of the past giving you chills.

On April 6 and 7 of 1862, one of the major engagements of the Civil War unfolded at Shiloh. Confederates launched a surprise attack on Union forces. Confederates were unable to hold their positions, were forced back, and the Union won the battle. The battle was violent which led to 23,000 casualties. At the time this was the bloodiest battle in American history.

Pine Flat Presbyterian Church – Deatsville, Alabama

Pine Flat Presbyterian Church

That moment you turn around to take a picture of a lovely country church off an Alabama back road and realize it was a filming location for one of your favorite Tim Burton movies, Big Fish. If you’ve never seen the movie, I highly recommend it. Most of the movie was filmed in Alabama and there are many locations you can visit the next time you’re in the state including this picturesque church.
Pine Flat Presbyterian Church in Deatsville, Elmore County, Alabama was founded in the early nineteenth century and was the shooting location for Ed Bloom’s funeral in the film.

Bonaventure Angel – Savannah, Georgia

Bonaventure Cemetery Angel

Bonaventure Cemetery is a place of beauty. I know what you’re thinking…”a beautiful cemetery? that sounds creepy!” But the moment you drive through the gates of this cemetery and begin to explore you’ll see what I saw when I visited for the first time. Beauty all around. The best way to describe Bonaventure is as an outdoor museum of art with exhibits such as this angel that greets you at the gates.

I love how Keith Eggener described historic cemeteries in an interview with The Atlantic: “… you leave behind the mercantile world outside the gates and enter into the space where you can meditate, where you can come into contact with spirituality and concentrate…You suddenly have large pieces of ground, filled with beautiful sculptures and horticultural art.”

So true! That’s what makes Bonaventure Cemetery one of the most beloved and most photographed sites in Savannah, Georgia. If you’re up for exploring Bonaventure, make sure you connect with The Bonaventure Historical Society for more info and to schedule a tour. It’s an expansive cemetery so it’s best to have a guide for your first visit.

Margaret’s Grocery

Margaret's Grocery

Just north of Vicksburg, Mississippi, off Hwy 61, you’ll find the ruins of man’s expression of love for his wife, Margaret. It’s still known as Margaret’s Grocery. Margaret’s first husband was shot dead in the market during a robbery in the 1970s. Five years later she met and married Reverend H.D. Dennis who promised her that he would make a castle out of her grocery store if she married him. They transformed the store into a folk art ministry, including a school bus retrofitted into a chapel. The Reverend and Margaret have passed away and since their deaths the store has fallen into disrepair.